Long term driver-team pairings

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    Hi all

    There’s one thought that has occured to me lately and i keep thinking about it. I think that we’re starting to see some very exciting trend across the grid. With Hamilton firmly in McLaren, Alonso filling his lifetime dream of driving in Ferrari, Red Bull with their new superstar Vettel and Kubica in revived Lotus-Renault (Lo-nault? Ren-tus?) neither of them seem to be wanting to change their team in a while. All theese top teams seem to be galvanizing around their star drivers, so are we starting to see new big rivalry of theese pairings? Seem exciting to me, it’s never boring to have four or five big teams battling like crazy year after year.

    It seems to be getting ever closer at the top, with teams gathering absurd amount of data about everything during every race, they surely want a solid and known driver with a car designed specially to suit him, to get that bit more of an edge.

    Or am i noticing something bleeding obvious? Well i’m fairly new to F1, i’ve been watching since 2009, with 2010 being my first serious season from start to end.

    Have your say, do you think that it will stay like that for long? How would you like it to pan out? Who would fit into Mercedes best to make it 5-way battle? I’m eagerly awaiting your opinions.



    I think it’s likely to stay that way for a few years at least, I think Alonso will probably finish his career at Ferrari, Vettel is likely to stay at Red Bull until 2013 at least and I cant really see Hamilton moving to another team (although he hasn’t seemed too happy at McLaren recently).

    If Mercedes make a decent car Rosberg could get up there, he’s not the most exciting driver ever but he could win a championship, also I’d expect either Hulkenberg or Vettel to take Schumi’s place in 2013.

    And yes it’s pretty exciting to have more than two teams at the top for a change :)


    Ned Flanders

    Well there was a similar situation back in the late 90’s/ early 2000’s:

    Hakkinen and Coulthard – McLaren teammates from 1996 to 2001

    Coulthard and Raikkonen – McLaren teammates from 2002 to 2004

    Schumacher and Barrichello – Ferrari teammates from 2000 to 2005

    Montoya and Ralf Schumacher – Williams teammates from 2001 to 2004

    Incredibly, none of those teams have kept the same teammate pairings for more than two years. Honda/ Brawn ran Button and Barrichello together from 2006 to 2009, and BMW Sauber had Heidfeld and Kubica from late 2006 until 2009.

    Then there was Ralf and Trulli at Toyota which lasted 3 years, and Massa and Raikkonen at Ferrari which ended with Massa’s injury after two and a half seasons. I can’t think of any other long term driver line ups in recent years


    I do expect to see Hamilton against somebody else that is top notch. Maybe Paul Di Resta/Hulkenberg will have something to show in a few years against Lewis if they proove faster than Jenson.

    Vettel will go into Mercedes to carve his own legacy into the F1 books against Nico Rosberg, when Schumi retires for good. Vettel and Mercedes cars would make him a bigger idol over in Germany so it would make sense to get the money out of it.

    Alonso won’t want to ruin his “ending era” in Ferrari with another hotshot coming in, so I would gather anybody better than Felipe, Alonso will either veto him out by threatening to leave the team or he will demand number 1 from the very start but will help the number 2 driver keep an arms length away. (I’m not trying to say he won’t beat him on equal terms, just that he wouldn’t want the hassle having to put his teamate in line.)

    Kubica will most likely jump ship to Red Bull when Vettel does leave.



    Schumacher Irvine 1996-1999 (4 seasons)


    Ned Flanders

    Oopsy daisy, looking at this again it would seem I completely misinterpreted the point of this thread. But my point still stands, the late 90’s/ early 2000’s was a unique era for teammate stability, and it looks like that could be replicated again over the next few years



    I’ll always remember Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. Can’t imagine many team mates have moved teams together?

    Ferrari 1993-1995 then Benetton 1996-1997


    Ned Flanders

    Yeah that’s a good point. So they were teammates for 5 consecutive seasons at two completely different teams? Incredible. For a while back in 2009 it looked as though Kubica and Heidfeld were going to make the switch from BMW to Renault together, but Vladimir Putin of course put paid to that…



    Ned, how i wish i’d put it as simply as you in the first place.

    Driver stability. With 4 established pairings running for 2 more years (at least) it will be such a fierce competition. Has it ever occured in history of F1? We’ve had great years-long battles between two drivers, how about four? Or five?

    Assuming that no one comes up with a exhaust-blown quadruple pull-rod flex duct f-wing (again) and dominates whole season, that would be boring.


    Adam Tate

    Haha, perfectly said Ned. After the pairing of Massa and Raikkonnen, I thought the next best and est functioning pairing on the grid in recent seasons was Kubica and Heidfeld. A shame that they were split up, Excitement, consistency and even on an off day both drivers were still better than half of the grid.



    Mauricio Gugelmin and Ivan Capelli were team-mates for almost four seasons, the latter one being replaced by Karl Wendlinger for last two races in 1991. I think it’s worth of mention since mostly drivers were changing teams more at that point.

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