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?óÔéĽÔäóAmbrosio

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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More information on the 2012 F1 season.

2012 F1 season

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Image ?é?® 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. I picked Senna or Petrov mostly because I think these have a little experience but potential. Rubens have either had enough time in F1 but had their day or showed nothing or are rookies and would only benefit Williams if they had cash too.

  2. one word: Aaaaaddrrriiiaaannnnn!

  3. Chose Sutil to Williams and Jaime to HRT. But there are many others from the list who deserve to stay in F1: Senna, Petrov, Jerome, Liuzzi, Rubens. The first four of this list should find 3rd driver’s places like Buemi and wait for their chance. Rubens should announce his dignified retirement unless retained by Williams.

    Also Wickens and the unjustly forgotten Klien are way more deserving of a place in F1 than Pic and Maldonado.

    Nick’s time is up unfortunately. He should go to DTM.

    All the others don’t deserve to be in F1 as of now.

  4. Sutil to Williams, Wickens to HRT

  5. i hate the fact that there are drivers in f1 that shouldnt be there such as maldonado and pedro de la rosa. i voted for dambrosio and lucas di grassi just because i thought their true talent wasnt shown in the virgin but i do know alot of drivers are in the same position as they were.

  6. Bruno Senna to Williams

    Adrian Sutil to HRT


    Jaime Alguersuari to Caterham

  7. Nick Heidfeld is (aside from Rubens) the most experienced driver available. Renault putting the blame on him for their miserable season is simply cynical. He and Petrov regularily scored points while the car was driveable. Senna and Petrov weren’t able to do anything with it in the second half of the season. Williams knows Nick from their BMW days and, as I recall, Frank repeatedly lauded Heidfeld for his technical knowledge. I think he deserves another go in the Williams.

  8. I’ve just finished watching Senna (2010) for the first time. What an awesome, heart-wrenching film. A fantastic piece of filmmaking.

    I watched it today after reading this article and the thought struck me that his family wouldn’t in a million years allow him to drive for Williams after what happened. Of course, I could be wrong.

    1. Okay, I didn’t make it exactly clear when I was talking about the nephew and when the uncle but you get what I meant, I’m sure.

  9. Either Barrichello or Sutil at Williams

    Alguersuari or Petrov at HRT

    Senna wont return to HRT and im unsure about whether Williams will take him on. Best option would be Renault reserve

    d’Ambrosio was decent but wont find another seat. Possible Renault test driver

    All others arent good enough

  10. Let’s hope Press Department fo Williams can take a look at our humble opinions and realize that not always F1 is about paid drivers, if you got some talented drivers, you can catch a juicy sponsors’ contract. I specially feel Alguersuari deserves a chance to grop in a F1 car, not just asw a test driver… he will have his chance sooner or later, remember how Hulkenberg needed that year off and now the wait pays well for him.

    1. I AGREE! :D

  11. sutil??? are you serious?

  12. Sutil for Williams – he can take them back towards the front as he’s a superb driver who has just been unlucky.
    Also want to see Alguesuari but not for HRT. Seems that anyone they hire falls by the way side either mis season or at the end. Un fortunately for Jaime there are no other spaces and if he wants to keep his name in the F1 circus he’s got no choice. Could do another season in GP2, win that and then come back as a stroger driver who is much sought after.

  13. voted for sutil and alg…
    however would like to see adam carroll get the chance he deserves

  14. Petrov and d’Ambrosio for me. Petrov has not shown everything yet I think and d’Ambrosio has not had the chance to show much in his one year. It’s really a shame with the rookies at Virgin and HRT, getting booted after a year.

  15. I think the question of who deserves the available seats and who actually gets them are two completely different things. If we were talking in terms of the most-deserving drivers, I think there would still be half a dozen seats available, and maybe as many as eight (depending on who you talk to). In that case, the seats held by Maldonado, Trulli, de la Rosa and Pic would probably all be up for grabs in addition to the second Williams and HRT seats.

    1. In that case, the seats held by Maldonado, Trulli, de la Rosa and Pic would probably all be up for grabs in addition to the second Williams and HRT seats

      – likely so @prisoner-monkeys

  16. Fernando Cruz
    7th January 2012, 22:29

    Senna really deserves to be in F1 in 2012. He never had the opportunity to do an entire season with a decent car and that would make all the difference. In an entire season he would be in equal terms with other drivers and would surely do much better than he did entering only in the 12th GP.

    Even so he did amazingly well at Spa, beating Alonso in qualifying with a Renault that was no match for the Ferrari. In Monza he was the 4th fastest in the race, just 0,3s. slower than Vettel’ s best lap. In Suzuka he was 9th in Q3 with very little track time in morning free practice. In Interlagos he even managed to beat Vettel’ s time in the first sector of his last lap in Q2. This after beating the likes of Schumacher and di Resta with a Renault that was not really as good as the Mercedes and the Force India.

    Bruno Senna showed his speed and just needs time to improve, particularly his consistency and racecraft. He just needs more experience to become one of the really good F1 racing drivers.

    1. Even so he did amazingly well at Spa, beating Alonso in qualifying with a Renault that was no match for the Ferrari.

      And if the race weekend ended after qualifying, I would agree with you whole-heartedly. Qualifying position means nothing if your race lasts all of two hundred metres before you crash into Jaime Alguersuari.

      Vitaly Petrov is not a highly-rated driver. The sheer fact that Senna couldn’t beat him proves how undeserving Senna is.

      1. Fernando Cruz
        9th January 2012, 17:29

        Senna has to improve his racecraft but in a full season he will have conditions to do much better in races than he did entering only in the 12th GP. Petrov is not a highly-rated driver but that doesn’ t mean he is not quick. The russian beat Heidfeld 8 – 3 in qualifying and improved also in races relatively to his rookie year. Even so, Senna showed he could beat him in equal terms, as he was evenly match with Petrov having a massive disadvantage by entering only in the 12th GP in a time there is no testing during the season.

        Compare Bruno Senna and Damon Hill and you will see that the brazilian showed more talent in junior categories. Hill took 10 years to get to F1 since he started racing in cars. Bruno Senna took just 4 full seasons to get to the Honda test and match Jenson Button on speed. The difference was that in Hill days there was no restrictions on testing while Bruno got to F1 precisely at a time when testing during the season was cancelled and even before a season it became very limited. But Bruno Senna deserved more to be in Brawn in 2009 than Damon Hill deserved to be in Williams in 1993, as he had much better results in junior categories. Hill has 0 race wins in F3000, the GP2 of his time. Bruno Senna won 3 races in GP2 and was second in the championship (2008).

        Senna was just very unlucky in 2009, as he was left without a drive due to Honda retirement. Without that he would have entered F1 at the right time, in 2009, and he would have established himself in F1. He had results to be in F1 without paying anything and he would be a much better driver by now. Even so, he still can succeed in F1 if he gets that Williams drive.

  17. Alright, which one of you monkeys voted for Sakon Yamamoto?

    1. Maybe Sakon himself? He could be a F1Fanatic reader, too!

  18. Lets have a look at Williams first: with Patrick Head out of the picture I´d say the chances of seeing BAR again are slim to none….. so who will take his place? …. in my opinion, there are 2 drivers who have a realistic shot at getting the vaccant seat… Sutil and Petrov, ….. one would say that Sutil would qualify best as he is “the most well-rounded” driver out of those available…..
    BUT actually the chances of seeing Petrov in the FW34 next year are much greater in my opinion…..
    Why? you may ask….. well lets start at the beginning…
    Petrov was under contract to race for Renault(Lotus) in 2012; however, the team terminated his contract one year in advance. The return of Räikkönen had been rumored for quite some time but previously he has been in negotiations with Williams before joining Renault….ALSO… Williams announced that they would be using Renault engines for the 2012 season (and 2013). You opinion of Petrov´s racing skills can be less than shiny but one thing that Petrov undoubtedly brings to a team is money (and A LOTS OF IT)…and Williams is in an avid need of money….. and these are FACTS, people….. so I wouldn´t be very surprised if the announcement came that Petrov would become Maldonado´s team mate for the 2012 season…
    And there is HRT….to be honest I really don´t have a clue about this, mainly because I could imagine that some of these drivers would rather be a test driver for a mid-field team than be a driver for HRT…. but I could imagine that Hispania Racing would fancy the idea of having an all spanish line-up…so Algersuari may have the best chance perhaps…

  19. My votes goes to Bruno Senna & Jaime Alguersuari, the later for HRT where if possible have Senna in Williams,also I think Sutil equally deserve his seat in Williams.

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