I think there is an overwhelming feeling that Sebastian Buemi will be dropped in favour of giving Ricciardo a race seat, and I think I would like to echo that sentiment. Buemi is a good qualifier, but in recent races, form and the car have let him down. His race performance has not been up to the standard of Alguersuari’s, and I cannot foresee the management of Scuderia Toro Rosso giving him very long in their team.
Should Buemi be dropped, I don’t think that Red Bull will disown him – he is still relatively young, and I am certain that a future awaits him in motorsport, but perhaps elsewhere – DTM, WTCC, or he may even try his hand at the WRC!
I feel that Ricciardo will most likely be given a race seat with Toro Rosso if they do end up dropping Buemi, although I am certain that the Red Bull Young Drivers Programme will make sure that Ricciardo will get a decent seat for next year – I think that Lotus GP or even Force India are not out of the question if things fall the right way…
If Ricciardo goes to STR, then one could easily see Jean-Eric Vergne going to HRT, Marussia or even Caterham, or he could be placed as a reserve driver for STR – either way, he will make a debut race in 2012, of that I am sure.
We shall see how it all gets played out, but I can envisage F1 having an influx of young, talented drivers over the next few years…and you never know, we may see some female drivers entering the sport! Danica Patrick races in IndyCar, and has a very high profile over there (and when USF1 was hoping to join, there were rumours that she might have joined), and we have people like Alice Powell currently racing in British Formula Renault, so you never know!