Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Istanbul, 2011

Who should get the last two places in F1 for 2012?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The list of 2012 F1 drivers and teams shows there are just two places left to fill for the season ahead.

So, who should get the last remaining F1 drives for 2012?

Make your pick from the most likely candidates below.

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Interlagos, 2011
Sutil was sixth in his last race for Force India

Sutil had a strong end to 2011. But Force India decided before the end of the year to promote Nico Hulkenberg, which ultimately squeezed Sutil out of the team.

He is the highest-scoring driver of 2011 who does not currently have a seat for this year.

Bruno Senna

Senna had a mixed half-season for Renault with some good qualifying performances but a few errors in races and more than his fair share of technical glitches.

On the whole he acquitted himself despite having little testing time, but wasn’t able to keep his seat as the team brought in Kimi Raikkonen and promoted Romain Grosjean. Rumours have linked him to a place at Williams.

Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Monza, 2011
Alguersuari greets fans at Monza

There was considerable surprise when Toro Rosso announced they were dropping not one but both of their drivers at the end of last year. Alguersuari may only be 21 but already has two-and-a-half years of F1 under his belt.

Jerome D?Ambrosio

For the second year in a row Virgin brought a rookie in and dropped him at the end of the year. Like Lucas di Grassi before him, D’Ambrosio is now looking for a seat with another team.

Karun Chandhok

The first ever Indian Grand Prix weekend saw two local drivers in action but neither of them have race seats for 2012 so far. Chandhok only started one race last year and it didn’t go very well – he had several spins and finished two laps behind team mate Heikki Kovalainen.

Narain Karthikeyan

After making a surprise return to F1 at the beginning of 2011, Karthikeyan found himself out of a drive halfway through the season. He made a one-off return in the Indian Grand Prix, but it remains to be seen whether HRT will invite him back again this year.

Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld has made comeback appearances in the last two seasons – with Sauber in 2010 and Renault last year.

But he dropped halfway through last year after his performance as Robert Kubica’s substitute was found wanting.

Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2011
Barrichello has started a record 322 races

Will F1’s most experienced driver of all time get a record 20th season in the cockpit? Barrichello had an unspectacular 2011 driving the dismal FW33, but recent management changes at Williams may have boosted his chances of retaining his seat.

Sebastien Buemi

Despite being dropped from the Toro Rosso line-up, Buemi is remaining within the Red Bull fold as a reserve driver, so it’s unlikely he’ll be racing elsewhere in F1 this year.

Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Interlagos, 2011
Petrov was dropped by Renault with a year left on his contract

All three drivers who raced for Renault in 2011 are without seats at the moment. Of the trio, Petrov scored the most points, but he was the only one to start a full season.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Liuzzi had a second chance at F1 with Force India, but after being dropped by the team ended up in an HRT last year. There remains a vacant place at the team for next year alongside Pedro de la Rosa.

Other drivers

Luca Filippi was one of the most impressive drivers in GP2 last year, but after six years in the category (he made his debut same year Lewis Hamilton did) it seems there aren’t any F1 teams taking an interest.

Filippi beat Jules Bianchi by a single point and although Ferrari would like to get their development driver some more F1 experience there aren’t many likely opportunities for him. Giedo van der Garde finished fifth in his third year in the category and has had a few F1 tests in the past but nothing in recent years.

Robert Wickens beat Jean-Eric Vergne to the Formula Renault 3.5 championship last year and tested for Virgin and Renault at Abu Dhabi in November.

Since being dropped by Virgin in 2010 Lucas di Grassi has accumulated significant testing mileage for Pirelli. Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien also last raced in 2010.

Vote for your choices

Which two drivers should get the last two places in F1 for 2012? Make your selection from the list below and have your say in the comments.

Which two drivers should get the last F1 seats for 2012?

  • Adrian Sutil (55%)
  • Bruno Senna (25%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (43%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (4%)
  • Karun Chandhok (2%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (7%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (24%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (2%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (11%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (1%)
  • Luca Filippi (1%)
  • Jules Bianchi (3%)
  • Giedo van der Garde (0%)
  • Robert Wickens (6%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (0%)
  • Sakon Yamamoto (0%)
  • Christian Klien (1%)

Total Voters: 407

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NB. Robert Kubica does not have a seat for 2012 due to injury.

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT

92 comments on “Who should get the last two places in F1 for 2012?”

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  1. ADRIAN SUTIL @ Williams, Alguersuarri @HRT. They are the higher scoring drivers. Period.

    1. What about Petrov then?

      1. I think for sure Senna should have a drive, & the other’s, I think are so closley matched in talent, that who ever get’s the final drive fully deserve’s it, But if I had choose I would say Vitaly Petrov.

      2. Petrov to Caterham, is my guess.

        But I think it might end up with Rubens staying at Williams, or Senna, although that one will be for money and his name more than what he has shown so far.

      3. You’re right. But Petrov is a pilot who depends from a lot of things.

      4. Who cares? He is rubbish, flying russian, paid driver, new crash kid… Bruno was better than him.
        I’d like 2 C Sutil next season.

  2. I really feel sorry for Rob Wickens. He’s obviously very talented, he was very sucessful in recent years (2nd in F2 in ’09, 2nd in GP3 in ’10) and he (though narrowly) beat Vergne in a straight fight as team-mates this year.

    I have nothing against Charles Pic, but I think they should have chosen Wickens for this year. I really hope something’s found for Rob in 2012 as F1, unfortunately, looks unlikely.

    1. …beat Vergne to the title in a straight fight as team-mates*… and …I think Marussia should have chosen Wickens*….

    2. FlyingLobster27
      7th January 2012, 13:22

      But unfortunately he won the Formula Renault 3.5 championship, which seems somewhat cursed. Only one single FR3.5 champion (excluding the previous Nissan championship which was way more successful) has gone to F1, and that was Kubica. The others – Aleshin, Baguette, van der Garde, Parente and Danielsson – are nowhere near F1.

      My opinion on the last two slots in F1: Sutil for Williams, and someone who seems deserving for HRT, not some money hauler who scored 10th or lower in GP2 (eh, Jerome?)…

      1. Alx Danielsson

        Then: FR3.5 champion with the hope of an F1 career

        Now: Average in STCC

        What happened to him!?

      2. ‘not some money hauler who scored 10th or lower in GP2 (eh, Jerome?)…”

        and Kobayashi… but look how that turned out for him!

  3. Sutil to Williams
    Alguersuari to HRT

    1. I would want it the other way around :)

  4. barrichello in williams for last season in F1 and sutil or alguersuari in HRT

  5. I voted for Sutil and Wickens. Guys like Barrichello and Heidfeld I’d say are still good enough for Formula One, but maybe it is time for both of them to move on.

    I wouldn’t say Sutil is a star just yet, he has put in some star performances, but he needs to put in those performances more often. But having said that, he is deserving of a seat in Formula One and is one of the strongest drivers in the list of 2012 hopefuls. As well as that, he also has money, so I think Williams would be silly not to employ him.

    I chose Wickens because he is on a very short list of young talents who actually deserve a shot at Formula One. He was very strong in the 3.5 series last year, and proved to me that he’s too good for that series. So I’d say Wickens for Hispania, and if not him them Alguersuari.

    I think D’Ambrosio should also have a seat somewhere possibly in 2013, I think he was strong enough to earn himself another year in the sport.

    Guys like Petrov and Senna have had there chance, and neither did particularly well, so I don’t think either of them deserve a seat.

  6. Dimitris 1395 (@)
    7th January 2012, 13:13

    I feel bad for Alguersuari as he was an excellent driver and he has a lot of talent and I strongly believe he deserved a place in Toro Rosso.

    As for Sutil, he’s an amazing driver with grea skills and I would love to see him in Renault alongside with Raikkonen, or in an equally competing team and it’s sad he hasn’t that chance.

    A question: Maldonado is secure at Williams?

    1. As for Sutil, he’s an amazing driver with grea skills and I would love to see him in Renault alongside with Raikkonen, or in an equally competing team and it’s sad he hasn’t that chance.

      I’m sorry but I just disagree! :P He barely stood out against Fisi who (although very good in a bad car) really should have been pushed into retirement by a rising star, only really beat Liuzzi and straight away was overshadowed by rookie Paul. I think Sutil’s had his chance (or five of them) and blown them. He’s had the rare good moment such as Monaco 08 but in 5 years he really should have done more.

      1. He was over shadowed by rookie paul, until he got a handle on the tyres. (H wasn’t the only one to be thrown off by them.)

        Sutil isn’t spectacular… But I think in a Force India that is only now becoming competitive he’s done quite well.

        1. I agree with @Mike . And @Steph, I wouldn’t say he was overshadowed by rookie Paul. I think Paul did what was expected of him but I don’t remember a time where he ever impressed me. Singapore was okay if I recall correctly, but I better remember his 2011 season for crashing into people.

          1. @damonsmedley Paul had a lot of crashes but he was ridiculously quick at times such as Canada and early in the season immediately outqualified Sutil. Paul was a rookie who adapted to F1 far quicker than a guy who has been in it five years and once Paul gets the experience and stops making mistakes Sutil wouldn’t have had a chance if they were still team mates.

            Sutil was only ever an okay driver. At times he had potential but often he squamndered it and when he graduated into F1 around the same time as Nico and Hamilton who have all made names for themselves (although I’m ambivalent about the former) and fails to really impress against iffy team mates then the writing is on the wall after five years. He should have done more but he never really delivered and half a decade is more than enough times and chances especially when most drivers are lucky if they get a season. There’s a reason why in all this time he’s never been on any of the other team radars…

          2. Speaking of impressing, that’s one thing Adrian hasn’t done. Yes there is some talent there but it’s rarely shown and as many say, he has had his chance.

          3. @Steph, I do think Di Resta did a very solid job to get right on it. Certainly helped by getting some friday drives in the previous year, but also by driving in a very competative championship with skilled and experienced drivers like DTM.

            But given the fact how Sutil performed after he got to grips with the tyres, I would not say he was completely overshadowed. But Sutil does seems to need to have the pressure on him of an ending contract or better performing team mate to give his best, a bit like Heidfeld in that sense.

            I think it would be interesting to see how he faires next to Maldonado at Williams, it might be a good combination.

          4. @BasCB Sutil did do a better job towards the end of the season but I still don’t think that’s much of an achievement to take nearly a full season to try to put a rookie in their place. I never said he was “completely overshadowed” just “overshadowed” and given that Paul’s a rookie and wasted time in DTM which is a world apart from single seaters and open cockpits in a way that’s more than enough for me to say that Paul did the better job, proved he’s a better talent and that Sutil’s had his time.

          5. @Steph I wouldn’t call winning the DTM championship wasted time. Its one of the highest acolades in motorsport. And I’m sure there are many things he learned during his time there that have helped him in F1.

          6. @steph, I disagree with you on DTM there. To me it seems rather, that its a pretty tight championship with quite high a level.
            It might have prepared him for a fight (not being one of the top dogs just like that) and thouth him to takes his picks for on track battles, making him a more mature racer.

            Oh, and I did not say DiResta did not do a great job, just that Sutil did get more points and was the better of them in the second half of the season. But he did need the pressure of being out of a contract to achieve that and took 5-8 races to get up to speed

        2. Gotta agree with Mike as well. He has done a pretty good job in an improving Force India.

          The fact that he finished with more points than any of the Sauber, Toro Rosso and Renault drivers definitely speakes volumes about his abilities and skill.

          I think Sutil definitely deserves a seat and hopefully Senna should also get a drive

          1. @TheLastPope @BasCB I should have been clearer, what i meant is it’s far from the best route to get into F1. Yes, it’s a great series and has tight competition but it isn’t great for the experience needed when racing single seaters and open cockpits especially with the testing ban. GP2 would have been a much better route.

            Also, if Sutil only gets his act together when the pressure is on then what are his team meant to do for the first 3/4s of a season? :P

  7. I immediately chose Sutil, because he’s a talented and experienced driver. He’s one of these drivers who can get the maximum out of a car. You could think of all of his races starting from the Nurburgring 2011…

    For the other driver, it was a tough call for me between d’Ambrosio, Petrov and Wickens. Jerome d’Ambrosio did a strong season with Virgin. Very few mistakes (I can only think of his spin in the pits), consistent results, and he even managed to beat Glock who has a lot of experience. And one year of experience is an advantage you can’t deny. I also think that he has some potential, by looking at his previous results (he was much stronger than Kobayashi, his teammate, in GP2, and he performes really well in the 2010 rookie days). He definitely deserves a second year in F1.

    Petrov hasn’t 1, but 2 years of experience. His first year wasn’t that good (except for a few races), but 2011 was a very good season for him. You’ll never know how well he would have driven against Kubica, but I felt that more than once he extracted the full potential of his car in qualifying. He was also stronger during the races, but wasn’t always very lucky (he had collisions with Michael, big jumps in the air, or he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, like in Monaco and Monza). But, the problem is that he wasn’t always consistent, and sometimes I felt he could have driven better. Anyway, I think he also deserves another year in F1 : I’m sure he will perform better.

    Robert Wickens is a young driver who has really impressed me. He managed to become the F3.5 champion in a year, that looked like it was destined to Vergne. And Wickens has performed well in the rookie days. If Vergne has a driving seat, then Wickens truly deserves one as well!

    Now, which one of these three drivers should have the second seat for me? I’ll go for Jerome : he has a lot of potential, he has experience, but he can improve much more!

    The ideal solution of course, would be to replace some old drivers who won’t improve, and who haven’t anything more to show. I’m thinking about drivers like Trulli or De la Rosa…

  8. Sad that f1 is going back to a pay driver era but sutil and alguersuari are the best of the lot..

  9. Barrichello kept @ Williams, Alguersuari reserve driver for Williams & Sutil @ HRT

    1. Isn’t Bottas already confirmed as Williams’ reserve driver (not that these things cant change – see Sauber in Canada)?

      1. no harm in having two reserve’s thus they can gain further experience while working around Rubens.

        1. Williams have already said that they’ll be using Bottas on many Friday practice sessions, so I really doubt Alguersuari would want to go there and effectively be second reserve driver.

  10. Sutil and Alguersuari are the no-brainers, I hope di Grassi and d’Ambrosio find their way back in though.

    Bianchi needs to calm down before he gets a shot at F1, he was far too wild last year.

  11. -Barrichello at Williams
    -Alguersuari at HRT
    -Sutil test driver for Mercedes (to step up to a full time seat in 2013 when Schumi will probably retire)
    -Senna to return to Renault third driver?

    1. I doudbt Schumi will retire next year. But it might be Sutil’s better option if he can’t get a drive somewhere. The question is, If Ross Brown has an eye on him?

      1. Di Resta will move into the Merc seat when Schumi retires ;-)

        1. Maybe Senna should be trying to get 3rd driver at Force India…they’d actually give him chance to run on Fridays and put together a proper season of getting up to speed before jumping into Paul’s seat in 2013 if Schumi does step down.

          1. A good option.

  12. hmm…… many drivers yet so few seats. I really want to see more teams along with pre-qualifying back.

    And isnt the picture related to petrov in istanbul instead of interlagos

    1. @Ritvik-Vinodkumar So it is – have changed it, thanks.

  13. I’d like to see Senna and D’Ambrosio again.

    Senna because I like to see him shine, I believe in him. And he impressed in his final race weekends.
    D’Ambrosio because he is from my country and I think he gets underrated by a lot of people.

    1. Same opinion on Senna and van der Garde here.

  14. I voted for Chandok and Yamamoto… Joking, but it looks like somebody did!

    I guess Sutil and Alguersuari are the most logical choices, from a fan’s perspective anyway, but I went for Sutil and Wickens instead. Robert seems like a nice guy, and his results in the recent years have been pretty impressive, so I’d like to know what he can do in F1.

    Of course, I’d also like to see my compatriot Van der Garde in F1, and if he could land a seat at HRT it might not be such a bad gig. If he (or anyone else to land the second HRT seat) can do better than De la Rosa, (who is no champion in my book), he might be in F1 longer than just the one year, like d’Ambrosio.

  15. I think that much more than 2 drivers from that list deserve to race in F1 in 2012. First I believe that 24 cars are not enough and also that a couple of the confirmed drivers should make way for younger folks.

    It wasn’t easy to pick just two guys from the list but, after thinking a bit, I made the same choice as @Dan_the_McLaren_fan , namely, Sutil and d’Ambrosio. I believe that Sutil is simply the best driver without a seat at the moment and that d’Ambrosio hasn’t had enough chances to prove himself yet.

  16. The funny thing is that, until now we have only 2 rookies confirmed: Vergne and Pic. So its very strange to see all these drivers out….

    As a Brazilian, my vote goes to Senna, for him to have a full season.
    For HRT, it really doesnt matter, it could be even Heidfeld =)

  17. I took it down to a shortlist of 4. Rubens, Suitil, Alguersari and Wickens and out of them Suitil and Alguersari were the strongest choices although i would personally rather see Rubens and Wickens take the last two seats

  18. Sutil @ Williams, Alguersauri @ HRT, then hopefully we can get rid of Trulli, Webber, de la Rosa, Maldonado after 2012.

  19. Barrichello at Williams. This one, I hope so much to come true. He deserves it.

    Sutil deserves a seat for sure, honestly, he is far better than many other drivers who do have seats.

    However, both Buemi, and my favorite of the two Alguersuari both deserve a seat, Jaime makes sense for HRT. But both deserve better.

    Petrov has worked hard though. But I’m not sure still.

  20. Considering other circumstances, maldanado is binned from Williams because of the Venezuelan governments sponsorship issues, with Williams line up being Rubens and Sutil, whilst Trulli is replaced by Algersuari and the HRT seat going to either Petrov or preferably giving a new talent like Wickens a chance

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