On the assumption that it will be Kimi who takes Webber’s seat at Red Bull, I was wondering what you guys think the Lotus 2014 driver lineup could potentially be.
Grosjean and Valsecchi doesn’t sound strong enough to me. Surely a team of Lotus’s stature needs at least one proven, consistent points scoring driver. In this regard I think the three outstanding candidates from the midfield are di Resta, Sutil and Hulkenberg. However, Sutil will be out of the running (given his history with Mr Lux), and it seems very likely that Hulkenberg has a pre-contract agreement with Ferrari. Perhaps Hulkenberg will take Massa’s seat and Massa will move to Lotus?
If Kimi goes, (big IF), IMHO:
Grosjean would be retained (shocker) – not on merit, but mostly for continuity and Boullier’s hope that he will pay off (in more ways than one, esp as he is his manager as well as team boss) ;)
2nd seat would ostensibly be Valsecchi, but I would have to put in the possibilty for Hulkenberg or possibly even Kobayashi to be in the mix as well. If Grosjean manages to be in the team for 2014 by some nepotistic miracle, he won’t make 2015.
Retaining Grosjean is already a risk. Adding to him another inexperienced driver is madness. As Massa seems to be struggling again It would a good place for him. Also I wouldn’t mind seeing Kobayashi back on the grid. However, Kovalainen would be my dream come true.
@journeyer – Both PDVSA and Total are both oil companies (CEPSA, too, so Vergne wouldn’t be able to bring them across). They might be in different markets, but they would still be competing with one another.
McLaren took a Ferrari-bound driver (Perez), you never know. I don’t see why Lotus wouldn’t take one of them.
Personally though I think Hulkenberg has to stop moving teams all the time – unless he gets an offer from Ferrari or Red Bull of course. But yeah, he is a possibility for Lotus because of his talent. Anyway, I think the Lotus lineup will be Maldonado (financial reasons) and Vergne (talent)
McLaren also have their own development programme, but that didn’t stop them from signing Perez. For the record I don’t think that Bianchi or Hulkenberg will drive for Lotus next season, but it’s not unrealistic at all. You make it sound like that there is just no way they will be allowed to drive anywhere else than Ferrari friendly teams
I personally think Kimi will stay at Lotus and Ricciardo will step up to full Red Bull. As daft as it sounds, I also think Massa will step aside for Grosjean at Ferrari. I would have said DiResta but he has become a prima-donna this season – and thats saying something in the world of F1.