Some of these are completely rumour-based, and some are gut feelings.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing-Renault
1. Vettel, 2. Ricciardo
As suspected, Red Bull go with the young Aussie as he suits Red Bull’s requirement of a driver who will support Vettel.
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
3. Hamilton, 4. Rosberg
Coca-Cola Lotus F1 Team-Renault
5. Grosjean, 6. Hulkenberg
With an upturn in form, Grosjean is kept along with his Total money. They draft in Hulkenberg, after Raikkonen’s departure, and is now the de facto number 1 Lotus driver, despite being given the lower number. Nasr is placed as third driver. Lotus’ strong late-season form results in The Coca-Cola Company expanding their sponsorship to title sponsor.
7. Alonso, 8. Raikkonen
In a remarkable twist to the ridiculously silly season, Raikkonen shocks F1 with a return to the Scuderia 5 years after being dropped in favour of his now team-mate, replacing Massa who doesn’t regain enough form to stay. Ferrari make this move as they are now more desperate than ever to regain a championship.
Emirates McLaren Mercedes
9. Button, 10. Perez
Despite many thinking the new title sponsor will be from Mexico, Emirates are named as such, after previously sponsoring McLaren in 2006. McLaren lazily don’t change their livery until 2015.
Sahara Force India F1 Team-Mercedes
11. Sutil, 12. Calado
Force India’s dip in form results in di Resta heavily criticising the team and talking about leaving. Mallya isn’t happy with his attitude, despite some good results, and drops him, promoting Calado to the race-seat.
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault
14. Vergne, 15. da Costa
Vergne is retained and used to gauge da Costa’s performances. Sainz is lurking in the background as third driver, putting pressure on Vergne, and to a lesser extent da Costa, to perform.
Sauber F1 Team-Ferrari
16. Bianchi, 17. Sirotkin
Bianchi is drafted in thanks to the Ferrari link. Sauber reluctantly place 18-year-old Sirotkin in the race-seat after being promised money from Russia. Gutierrez is dropped as he doesn’t improve and Slim’s money goes McLaren’s direction. But there remains a risk that Sauber could run into financial difficulties again as the Russian investors are slow in parting with their money.
Williams F1 Team-Mercedes
18. Maldonado, 19. Bottas
Juncadella gets the third driver role and participates in a number of FP1s.
Marussia F1 Team-Ferrari
20. Chilton, 21. Magnussen
Due to the McLaren link, Magnussen is placed in one of the seats in the same way Bianchi was by Ferrari.
GE Caterham F1 Team-Renault
22. Pic, 23. Rossi
Rossi’s GE backing and decent GP2 season means he replaces van der Garde who is remains as test driver. This results in GE becoming title sponsors.