Who deserves an F1 race seat in 2011?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico H???lkenberg, Fernando Alonso, Interlagos, 2010

We head into the off-season with several teams yet to confirm either of their drivers for 2011.

Drivers like Nico H???lkenberg and Nick Heidfeld already know they won’t be driving for the same teams in 2010.

Do they deserve another season in F1 next year? Who else do you hope will be racing in 2011?

The poll below includes all the drivers who participated in races or practice sessions in 2010 whose seats for 2010 have not yet been confirmed:

Nico H???lkenberg – Dropped by Williams after putting them on pole position for the first time in 100 races at Interlagos.

Nick Heidfeld – Made another return to Sauber this season but they’ve filled their seats for 2011. Will another team grab this veteran of 172 races?

Pedro de la Rosa – Returned after three seasons away but was dropped mid-season for Heidfeld.

Vitaly Petrov – A mixed debut season for the Russian driver but ended on a high in Abu Dhabi, out-qualifying team mate Robert Kubica and defending his position from Fernando Alonso for 39 laps.

Adrian Sutil – Sutil could be set for a change of scene after four years with the same team.

Vitantonio Liuzzi – Had his first full season since 2007 this year but his place at Force India could be under threat.

Heikki Kovalainen – A solid season at Lotus where he looks happy.

Jarno Trulli – Frustrated by unreliability at Lotus but does he have any better options for 2011?

Timo Glock – Had few opportunities to shine in the Virgin this year.

Lucas di Grassi – Had to surrender his Virgin seat in first practice on four occasions and did not drive for the team in the post-season test.

Bruno Senna – The HRT driver who made the most starts in 2010, but also had the most failures.

Christian Klien – Made his comeback to F1 following a four-year absence in 2010 but will he get a full season in 2011?

Sakon Yamamoto – The Japanese driver appeared in F1 for a third year but is yet to start a season with a team.

Karun Chandhok – Popular driver who was dropped mid-season but with an Indian Grand Prix on the calendar next year don’t bet against him making a return somewhere.

Jerome d’Ambrosio – Back by Gravity Sports Management who have links to Renault, he drove for Virgin in four practice sessions and for both teams in the post-season young drivers’ test.

Fairuz Fauzy – Could become the second Malaysian to race in Formula 1 after appearing in five practice sessions for Lotus this year.

Paul di Resta – Expected to do 18 practice sessions for Force India before the season began. That became eight, but his appearance at the Pirelli tyre test indicates he is being seriously considered for a race seat next year.

Who deserves an F1 seat in 2011?

Vote for your pick of the drivers below. You can vote for as many of them as you like.

Who deserves an F1 race seat in 2011?

  • Nico H???lkenberg (15%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (9%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (9%)
  • Adrian Sutil (11%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (12%)
  • Jarno Trulli (4%)
  • Timo Glock (9%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (2%)
  • Bruno Senna (5%)
  • Christian Klien (4%)
  • Sakon Yamamoto (1%)
  • Karun Chandhok (8%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (2%)
  • Fairuz Fauzy (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (8%)

Total Voters: 2,662

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Which drivers not on the list above deserve an F1 chance in 2011? Pastor Maldonado? Jules Bianchi? Sam Bird? Who else? Have your say in the comments.

Read more: 2011 F1 drivers and teams

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Posted on Categories 2010 F1 season

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  • 127 comments on “Who deserves an F1 race seat in 2011?”

    1. Wow, first to vote :D. Heikki, Pet, Hulk, Sut and Glock for me

      1. Exactly what I put!

        1. Jarred Walmsley
          22nd November 2010, 9:33

          Almost the same except I have Nick instead of Glock, for me Glock really hasn’t done much to warrant a race seat in F1 next year.

          1. he’s had a poor car and awful reliability. judging on his 2008-09 performances, i’d definately keep him.

      2. I just added Karun to that list.

      3. Nearly the same – Petrov out, De Resta in ;)

      4. Hülkenberg, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Petrov, Sutil and Glock. I think that Daniel Ricciardo also deserves his chance.

    2. If Nico Hulkenburg’s pole doesn’t warrant a 2010 drive, I don’t know what does!

      I’d like to see Nick Heidfeld with a drive, purely because I think he’s one of the fastest drivers never to win a Grand Prix.

      Adrian Sutil certainly has pace, and Tonio Liuzzi has to be the most unlucky driver of 2010!

      Heikki Kovalainen certainly deserves a race seat, his move to McLaren shows how impressive he was in his first years in Formula 1.

      Hispania have changed their drivers around more times than Vitaly Petrov has ruined his Renault this year – and that’s saying something! I think that Bruno Senna and Christian Klien are the fastest HRT drivers, and despite the fact he’s a nice guy, I don’t think Karun warrants a drive.

      1. Agree. I voted Liuzzi (some excellent performances, but lacks in consistency), Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock (matched often Lotus’ performance). Even Petrov deserves a seat, but for me these are the best.

        1. No Liuzzi, We have he seen he has been outpaced by Sutil and even in Pirelli test he was half a second behind Resta.

          I dont think he had done enough. If he had scored some points in first season FI would have been 6th in constructors.

          For me drivers shoud be Hulk, Sutil, Nick, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock. May be you can add Resta.

          1. You mean 2009? Liuzzi was 4th at Monza, before a mechanical problem caused him to retire. He’s like Massa: in some races he’s dominant, in others he is a loser.

    3. Wow! First One!

      I think Petrov definately deserves another crack. He showed enough promise in his first year to show he is going to be a decent driver. But he will need to massivly improve on this year to keep it for 2012.

      The Hulk, Heidfeld and Heikki are no brainers I think. Granted they arn’t the best drivers in the field, but they are definately better than the average and deserve waulity drives with teams supporting them.

      From the new boys, I’d like to see Ricciardo in a seat next year. He dominated the YDT and I think he deserves a crack at ‘the big boys’ (as he put it) seat for next year. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam Bird is offered something as well.

      1. Got to watch out for those Triple H’s rubin! Any midfeild team or backmarker should fight tooth and nail for anyone of the Hulk, Heidfeld or Heikki’s talent, and 2 of the 3 have proven they are reliable performers even in a top team! I’ll also throw in a vote for poor old Trulli, anyone who can win in Monaco, particularly 04′ and has such experience should be in F1. He may have not enjoyed this year at Lotus much, but if you look back to his performances for Toyota in 09′ they were quite good, especially 2nd place at Suzuka, holding off Hamilton.

        The greatest tragedy of F1 today isn’t money running the show, it isn’t scandal, it isn’t technical squabbles, it’s the fact that we have far more good drivers than we have good cars on the grid.

    4. Some will get chance because of their talent.For me Nico Hülkenberg & Vitaly Petrov sould get a second chance.

    5. Okay, I’m totally biased, but how can Paul not deserve a drive next year? This is the guy who beat the new WDC in F3 in the same team in ’06…

      DTM is so unpredictable, I don’t think you can really judge his talent from that (although to see him drive away at Brands was breathtaking for me sitting in the grandstand), but the F1 practice sessions he’s done this year have been really impressive given he only ever had one set of prime tyres, limited revs, and was working with the knowledge that it wasn’t his car and had to make sure he gave it back in one piece…

      1. Tell me about it! I cannot believe that Paul has only 44% in that poll whilst Petrov has 47%. I can only assume it is because, as you pointed out, it might have been difficult for some people to see through his limited number of Friday outings due tot eh elss favourable circumstances he found himself in.

        However, he is a proven winner and I think the team have been very impressed. Lets hope that is all that matters.

        1. Already a fan then, Seedy? And yeah, you’re right, I’m sure some people won’t realise just how good he is till he’s actually racing… after 2 years of feeling fairly isolated at times supporting him, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s reactions when he starts doing well… I’m trying not to get my hopes up, and I do have times when I fret a lot because of the uncertainty, but when I think about the prospect of him actually getting an F1 race seat I can’t help myself getting carried away

          1. I think hes decent, but as an observation – people probably aren’t that much of a fan of him already given hes British so we are literally force fed crap about the guy.

            Probably not what a whole lot of people want to hear but from the outside looking in it is pretty accurate. Maybe we should ask James Allen for his view on the man.

            Using your guys logic shouldn’t you have suggested Dixon, Franchitti and Castroneves?

            1. I don’t claim to be rational when it comes to Paul but I’ll just say I do understand the whole ‘force fed’ thing… I feel that about a lot of other British drivers, and tbh the only reason I paid attention to Paul when I first saw something about him in Nov ’08 was the fact he’d beaten Seb in F3… after that, I slowly found out more about him, and within a few months I was a fan…

              I do understand, tho, the annoyance of the bias in the press

            2. Yea as I did mention I think he’s decent and I don’t let nationality determine what I think of a driver.

              I hope all goes well for him.

      2. i’m sure Tonio will be replaced by Paul di Resta…

        the other seat maybe filled by Nick Heidfeld..

      3. I really didn’t like how di Resta ended up in the DTM after winning the F3 Euroseries title. He should have been in GP2 or World Series by Renault – something with more races on more F1 tracks.

        If the money wasn’t there for him to do one of those series it’s a shame because although the DTM is a good championship in its own right it’s not the best route into F1.

        1. Yeah, I agree. Though he was brilliant in his first season in DTM – we’d have all been talking about him had an F1 driver not had an equally amazing rookie year in the same season!

        2. likewise can we have a poll on who does not deserve to be in F1 2011 based on their performance relative to their team-mates??

    6. If it were me, I’d keep Petrov and Hulkenberg from the rookie ranks and Kovalainen, Glock and Sutil from the established runners. Meanwhile, I’d say Heidfeld and de la Rosa would just be taking up space that could be better filled by a younger and faster driver, while Liuzzi has been all over the place (true, Petrov has been scrappy, but at least he’s done stuff), whist Yamamoto is just a pay driver in the Deletraz mould and anyone who takes Fauzy would just be shooting themselves in the foot.

      Otherewise, I don’t mind too much where the rest of them go.

    7. I voted Hülkenberg, Nick Heidfeld, Petrov, Sutil, Kovalainen, Glock, Senna, Chandhok and di Resta. I think Hülkenberg deserves his seat because he does have a lot of potential, but it is yet to be realised – although Barrichello was considerably faster than him in most races. Heidfeld deserves a bit of luck for a change. He has always ended up at teams just before their decline from the top/mid-field to the bottom. I honestly have no idea why they chose de la Rosa as his replacement for 2010 in the first place! In 2008, when the Sauber was at its best, he was unlucky not to score a win in my opinion. After Kubica’s Montreal victory they never saw the top step again, which for Nick was unfortunate as he could match his incredibly fast team-mate’s performance most of the time.

      As for Vitaly Petrov, I really do like him. There is obviously a very fast driver hiding within him, but his talent needs nurturing in order to allow him consistent strong results. His performances have been perhaps the most sporadic of anyone this year, and he has caused Renault a lot of trouble with his big accidents, but I honestly expect him to have calmed down by Bahrain. The same can be said of Sutil; another very fast driver that faces the same problems as Vitaly. This year he was a lot more mature and didn’t get himself involved in nearly half as many accidents as in 2009. Now that he has fixed that problem, 2011 should be a strong year.

      Kovalainen isn’t a particularly quick driver, as demonstrated in 2008, but he certainly plays a vital role in the Lotus team and appears to be much quicker than Trulli, who I incidentally omitted from my voting. He is also a refreshing and fun character to have around. I feel almost exactly the same towards Timo Glock, who has also proven himself worthy of a race seat in F1 – and is equally as much a funny guy!

      Senna is a driver who deserves another chance in F1, preferably in a car that is capable of proving his capabilities. Looking at the statistics page, it appears to me that Bruno was perhaps the unluckiest driver in the field, having retired from a large percentage of the Grands Prix this year through no fault of his own. His original team-mate is one driver I really like. Despite having never turned a wheel before qualifying in Bahrain, he quickly came to grips with driving an F1 car and immediately started challenging and, more often than not, out-qualifying or out-racing his team-mate, although that isn’t really a fair comparison given Senna’s reliability issues. He also appears to be a very nice guy. I think Chandhok is just what F1 needs.

      I voted for Paul di Resta as my wild-card. I don’t know all too much about him, but in his limited running this year, he impressed me. Of all the potential new F1 drivers, he strikes me as the most worthy recipient of a race seat.

      1. Nice to hear that Paul managed to impress someone who didn’t know much about him :) It’s always harder to impress people who aren’t actively looking to be impressed

      2. >>As for Vitaly Petrov, I really do like him.

        Me too … I hope he gets another year to knock the rough edges off, (as opposed to keep knocking the car’s corners off).

        But he looked feisty and fast to me, and I’d take fighting spirit over a few rookie mishaps anyday.

        1. I guess vittaly was making those mistakes due to pressure. Give him time and he will come around.

      3. Greetings from Texas Damon, and I must say I agree with you! Especially in concern to Nick Heidfeld, he has always caught bad luck and you are right about 08, he finished on the second step of the podium 4 times that year. He is a driver who definitely deserves another shot. Shame it won’t be alongside Kobayashi at a resurgent Sauber. I’d love to see him in something like a Mercedes, I think he would have shown quite well this year there, but no one should pass up on Schumacher, no matter how old he gets.

      4. Kovalainen in a quick driver, why doesn’t anyone remember 2007?..at McLaren he got bogged down as there wasn’t enough chemistry between himself and the team and he was uncomfortable, just like Frentzen at Williams

    8. It’s quite easy to pick the drivers who definitely deserve the boot. Yamamoto and de la Rosa. Shame about dlR, but I guess he’ll be of much more use to F1 as a tester for Pirelli.

      Likewise the drivers who deserve a seat without a second thought are Hulkenberg, Kovalainen, Glock, Sutil and Klien.

      I haven’t seen d’Ambrosio, Fauzy and di Resta in a racing situation, so I can’t comment on how well they’d drive.

      The rest have all had their good moments and bad moments this year. I suppose that’s where personal biases will show up in voting. And being Indian, I’d really like to see Chandhok back in a racing seat next year!

    9. Surprised not to see Alonso in the list. He deserves another chance to win the title next year, despite his last grand Prix of 2010.

      1. Drivers who’ve already got an announced drive for 2011 aren’t on the list: like Alonso, Hamilton and so on.

      2. LOL!
        I’m sure you’re joking, right?

    10. Why did we exclude Daniel Ricciardo?

      Fastest in the young driver test by no less than 7 tenths, Faster than Vettel’s pole time by over a full second. Sure the track had more rubber and was faster but how much faster we will never truly know, despite this it was obviously a strong effort by the Australian. Contracted to RedBull, this suggests potential drives would include: RedBull, Torro Rosso, Lotus (RBR technology and renault engines), Renault (Share engines with RBR).

      1. The poll below includes all the drivers who participated in races or practice sessions in 2010 whose seats for 2011 have not yet been confirmed.

        1. Apologies for my ignorance,

          Interesting how Lotus are yet to confirm either driver of whom appear to be established racers. Personally I would keep Heikki based on his experience but consider replacing Trulli if necessary based on his age and potential ability. Although, I am sceptical and do believe that Lotus will and should persist with their current drivers to maintain a consistent level of development to build the team up.

      2. Fastest in the young driver test by no less than 7 tenths, Faster than Vettel’s pole time by over a full second. Sure the track had more rubber and was faster but how much faster we will never truly know, despite this it was obviously a strong effort by the Australian. Contracted to RedBull, this suggests potential drives would include: RedBull, Torro Rosso, Lotus (RBR technology and renault engines), Renault (Share engines with RBR).

        There’s one very important factor you’ve forgotten to mention: Ricciardo wasn’t under an ounce of pressure. We’ve seen strong drivers like Grosjean fold as soon as they get in a Formula 1 car. We’ve seen the Sauber set fast times through winter testing and then falter in the actual races. Testing doesn’t mean anything. It means less than FP1 times on a Grand Prix weekend. Ricciardo might have set the fastest time in testing, but it’s proof of nothing. Because when you look at his WSR results, he can’t even beat Mikhail Aleshin, who has been in the category four years and was cut loose from the Red Bull driver program.

        1. you really do have something against Ricciardo

          1. No, I just think people are jumping to conclusions. He sets one fast lap time in testing, and all of a sudden, people are tipping him to be the Next Big Thing in Formula 1. It’s a bit like the way people were giddy for Hulkenberg when he took pole in variable conditions in Brazil. That one lap seemed to exonerate him from a very scrappy season, but people were quite happy to forget about all of his mistakes and hail him as the next Vettel.

            A little perspective is all I ask for: Ricciardo set those times on a circuit that had an entire Grand Prix’s worth of rubber on it, for a team he was inherently familiar with against drivers who were mostly getting into a Formula 1 car for the first time. When was the last time testing was indicative of anything? Like I said, everyone expected Sauber to be a force to be reckoned with this year because of their winter testing times, but when it came to the actual races, they were nowhere. Ricciardo has never driven a lap in anger and has never experienced the pressure of a Grand Prix. To say he is ready is more than premature. After all, look at Jules Bianchi – he dominated Formula 3, but struggled in GP2. And he wasn’t even racing against the regulars like Hulkenberg and Petrov and di Grassi, who had been miles ahead of Maldonado and Perez in 2009.

            1. look at Jules Bianchi – he dominated Formula 3, but struggled in GP2

              Third in the championship and top rookie is “struggling”?

            2. Struggling in comaprison to F3. Sure, he had pole his his first race, but he retired from it. He’s only been on the podium four times, and hasn’t won a race. And on a few occasions, he’s been so far back – 12th in Spain, 13th in Turkey, 4th in Belgium and 18th in Abu Dhabi – that you have to wonder who has been driving the car on occasion. The point is that Bianchi was touted as The Next Big Thing based on his sheer domination of Formula 3, and there were great expectations of him in GP2. But he only picked up two pole positions, four podiums and no wins. I think “struggling” might have been the wrong word to use. “Disappointing” might have been a better choice.

              My point in all of this is that Bianchi went from nine wins, three podiums and a thirty-point margin over Vietoris in the F3 Euroseries to a winless season in GP2. I don’t see people raving about him and tipping him for a Formula 1 drive in 2011. Ricciardo, on the other hand, is getting all manner of super-positive press for a couple of lap times. Bianchi might have dominated F3, but Ricciardo lost the WSR crown to Mikhail Aleshin by two points, largely because he spent a season yo-yoing between the front and the back of the grid. At the very least, Ricciardo needs a season in GP2 before anyone starts thinking about promoting him to Formula 1. Perhaps he could join a GP2 team, do half a season, and if he’s still carrying the momentum after half a season, Toro Rosso could drop whichever one of their drivers is underperforming and let Ricciardo do the second half of the Formula 1 season.

              The point is that to suggest Ricciardo deserves a Formula 1 seat based on a lap time he set in testing is ridiculous.

            3. I wasn’t only talking about the testing

              anyway, I don’t condone the hype around him either, I’m just not that vocal about it until I will have seen him in a properly competitive environment

    11. Why is no one voting for Yamamoto?

      His performance at the Japanese Grand Prix was excellent – well deserving of another year in F1.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        22nd November 2010, 9:37

        I can only assume that thats sarcasm as surely no-one thinks Yamamoto could be deserving of a 2011 driver.

        *Checks poll results*

        No, apparently Yamamoto has created 7 accounts on here and has voted for himself 7 times.

        1. Heads up, Yamamoto is up to 68 votes. And apparently 3% of those who voted think he should be back.

          Not that I want him back. A pay driver with two seasons under his belt who’s outraced by a rookie teammate most definitely doesn’t deserve a seat next year.

      2. Surely you jest!

      3. Right, just as deserving as Fairuz Fauzy is.

        There have certainly been a lot worse pay drivers in the past, but i seriously hope no team will need it that bad next year.

    12. Pablo2008jedi
      22nd November 2010, 9:35

      Nico Hülkenberg hasn’t been all that spectacular. Even his pole in Brazil was just pure luck.

      1. That was not luck, it was skill using the right moment but making not a single mistake or slight error for his 3 laps.

        1. Yea agreed. 10 consecutive purple sectors in Q3, that isn’t pure luck.

          1. Yeah He did it by talent not luck! He can beat Vettel with the same car! :)

    13. I voted Hülkenberg, Petrov, Sutil, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Glock, Chandhok, d’Ambrosio and di Resta.

      Of the established drivers, I think Sutil, Kovalainen and Glock are more or less no-brainers. Liuzzi could do better I think if he wasn’t constantly on edge about losing his seat. Again. But then perhaps there is no such thing as a safe seat in F1.

      Hülkenberg and Petrov have done enough for me to convince me that they have a good shot at becoming decent drivers at the very least. Hülkenberg has done a decent season with flashes of brilliance, but Petrov has done an amazing season given his background (or lack thereof). Chandhok hasn’t really had a decent shot this season, Senna has and has been shown up time and again. Even by Yamamoto, who is by pretty much all standards not quite good enough.

      I voted in d’Ambrosio and Di Resta because I’d like to see more fresh blood rather than the stale old blood of Heidfeld and Trulli. I think that leaves one more seat for which I’m out of ideas because I don’t follow all the feeder series. So I guess whoever could do worse than Klien. But there are so many German drivers already :p

      1. Klien isn’t German, he’s Austrian!

    14. Whoops, I miss understood and only selected 1 – di Resta…

      But I think plenty of them – Heidfeld, Hulkenberg and Chandhok all deserve another shot to be honest!

      1. Well, even if you did misunderstand, I’m glad you chose Paul to be the one you picked :)

        1. Hmmmm Im spotting a common link here. Paul Di Restas’ manager isn’t a guy called Carole is it? Haha

          1. Goodness, no, I’m just a fan…

            FYI, Paul is managed by Anthony Hamilton

    15. The fantasy question would be – not who deserves a drive, but whom do they deserve a drive for? Petrov’s done enough I think, but I don’t see why he’s learning the ropes at a top team. Even Alonso had to start at Minardi and then spend a year as a tester. Conversely, Sutil needs a drive for a better team now or never, were he at Merc or Renault we’d really get to see if he had it or not. Etc.

      I think Lewis’s début season has warped the minds of the teams into thinking every young gun must immediately be thrown in with a proven brilliant driver as a team-mate and expected to keep up, but not all thrive under that ‘march or die’ philosophy, some need to come on more gradually (Massa being a good example). I think Renault should farm Petrov out to Lotus for a year on loan as part of the engine deal (goodnight Mr. Trulli) and hire either Sutil to push Kubica, or Heidfeld to harvest team points while Kubica goes for the title.

      1. Remember that the Renault was perhaps the worst car on the grid at the end of 2009, and there was real concern about their future leading into 2010. I don’t think for a moment Renault believed they would be fighting the likes of Mercedes for most of this season. So when you look at it that way, putting a rookie in the second car doesn’t seem like such a daft idea.

        My only concern about Petrov is that he doesn’t seem to have improved a whole lot over the course of the season. He was still crashing as much at the end as at the start. Never mind, Massa spent much of his rookie year in the barriers and ended up challenging for a world title. Whatever the case, I think Petrov deserves another chance.

        1. Petrov’s performance fending off Alonso, surely should make him to be considered for another year. Hulkenberg’s pole at Brazil say’s he’s more than qualified, and Paul di Resta beat Vettel to win the F3 championship in 2006.

      2. I’ve been advocating that same suggestion this season Daffid. Were Heidfeld in that second Renault alongside his old team mate they would have over hauled Mercedes for 4th in the standings this year.

    16. I picked pretty much everyone apart from these drivers:

      PDLR and Trulli: Old and slow

      Liuzzi and Klien: Had their chances, failed

      d’Ambrosio and Fauzy: No reason why someone better shouldn’t be filling seats

      Yamamoto: do I need to explain?

      The rookies deserve another year to be judged more fairly. Heidfeld can have one last throw of the dice to settle the old arguments, or help a new team get up to speed. Glock and Sutil need to find themselves in good teams to see what they’re made of.

    17. I picked:

      Hülkenberg and Petrov (deserve another season, especially Hülkenberg).

      Senna, Chandhok and di Grassi (deserve a season in at least halfway decent cars before they get written off).

      Sutil, Glock and Kovalainen (done well enough).

      And di Resta (it’s about time).

      That fills nine of the ten remaining spaces, leaving one for Pastor Maldonado (generally very good in GP2 this year).

      1. I’m in full agreement with you Keith on that one but i’d also add Timo Glock after watching a few 2006 GP2 races too.

        I voted for Chandhok though.

      2. I pretty much agree, only i left out Bruno Senna.
        While it is great to see the name back i am still pretty much unconvinced he has it in him. But as you say, he would deserve at least a full season in a drivable car.

    18. Petrov deserves another chance, yes he provided a lot of bills to Renault because of his crashes, but nevertheless I think he`ll be more mature and better next year !

      P.S – I recently heard an interesting gossip from a source close to a Vijay Mallya`s aid, namelly that Mr. Mallya wants to take Force India into ” another level ” by recruiting high profile drivers !! And guess who is in the recruiting list? According to the gossip, Massa and Raikkonen are on top of the list !

      1. That would be an amazing turn in events, and it does fit a bit with rumours linking the Hulk to a Ferrari drive.
        But what would be in it for Massa (not to mention Massa earning about 1/5th of FIs budget), there is hardly a chance of getting a winning car anytime soon.
        And the Iceman is off to gravel and ice fun for good I think.

      2. unlikely but if true… wow.

      3. It does to a certain extent make sense. I’m sure Vijay has taken a whole lot of inspiration from Red Bulls recent success.

        To go to “another level” one needs money, Vijay has money. Lets be realistic here, Force India is not going to be transformed into a championship winning team at the hands of Sutil and Liuzzi, regardless of the machinery underneath them.

        1. Though I’m almost certain it’s a rubbish rumor, it would be incredibly exciting were it to happen. Plus I’d love to see Kimi and Felipe as team mates again. Ferrari would have egg on their faces for sure.

      4. I can imagine Massa and Raikkonen being high on such a list – I doubt it is true though, although it would be good news to see some investment into FI again.

        But Raikonnen only wants fun and/or a winning car, and I somehow doubt FI is that spot for him. Both he and Massa also would probably ask, as BasCB mentions, considerable portions of the whole budget for themselves. Not sure that is the best investment …

    19. I thought Kovalainen and Trulli are already confirmed for 2011?

    20. the most deserving is Paul di Resta… he has beaten Vettel in euro 3 championship in the same car… Force India should go for him for 2011 & keep Nick or Nico as his teammate… and maybe hire an experienced driver as their 3rd driver who could run on Fridays for development related work.

      1. With all respect to our new reinging world champion, I don’t think he’s that good driver. His main strength is speed, except that he lacks in overtaking skills, race tactics, tyre saving, engine/brake saving etc. However his speed is enough to justify his seat.

    21. I voted: Glock, Hulkenberg and d’Ambrosio.

      Glock: I hope to see him again in a more competitive car soon.

      Hulkenberg: It’s very difficult for a rookie to be up in the game from the start. Piquet jr./Grosjean/Petrov/…, they all had trouble keeping up with their team mates. Hulkenberg proved himself this season by a fast learning curve.

      d’Ambrosio: In GP2 he drove with DAMS, which isn’t the best team to be with. There he beat his team mate Kobayashi (everybody enjoys him in F1) and had some strong performances with an inferior car on circuits known as ‘driver’-circuits such as Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps. In FP1’s with Virgin he delivered a solid performance as in the young-driver-test with Virgin and Renault.

    22. I’m not sure about “deserves” as I’m not in F1 and mostly drivers end up where they should be anyway but what I think should happen is:

      Lotus or the 2nd Lotus or whoever they are: keep the same line up. Trulli hasn’t lacked motivation to me or he’d have retired by now. Him and Kovy have been really close in qualifying and Jarno’s had more failures than his team mate so understandably he’s grumpy but he always talks about the long term so he should be there to stay and they could really use him. Kovy has had a good season but hasn’t exactly blown away Trulli and maybe he should have done a bit more but he’s a good driver. Two ticks.

      Glock-tick. I think he’s been brilliant especially at Singapore albeit he’s only had di Grassi to challenge him.

      di Grassi. Nope. Apart from his Schumi scrap at Aus, his defence of Alo at Monaco and I think his Canada qualifying performance he hasn’t really done much. For me, it’s telling that Virgin keep making him sit out practice when he needs as much mileage as he can get even if Timo can give them more feedback.

      Jerome yes he should ahve a shot at Virgin where he seems to have impressed on a Friday.

      Chandhok nice but hasn’t done much. He probably should get a shot in a car that does something but I can’t say he deserves a race seat full time. He may have had a couple of 14th place finishes but that’s more because his car refused to break. I was impressed with his mature approach to Bahrain quali though.

      Yam and Fauzy nope but if Yam can help save HRT then they should use him.

      Senna yes but just.

      Klien unfortunately yes for HRT as he outpaced Senna immediately which was very unusual for someone who has had 3 years out to be nearly a second quicker. I don’t think he deserves a seat at a decent team though.

      Petrov yes at Renault but if he doesn’t get some consistency then I’m afraid he should go at the end of the season but I expect he will have improved quite a bit.

      Hulk yes. There’s been talk of him and Ferrari but with the testing ban I wouldn’t stick him in that seat for at least a year. They also have Jules to think of in their long term plans and they could have gone from having no decent drivers last year when they needed them to fill in for Massa to too many :P Massa should be much better prerpared for this season than he was last and the new tyres could change things so wait one year then see. The other problem is Fernando. He’s there to lead the team and Stefano doesn’t seem that strong a leader so just keep Alonso happy because he is worth it.

      Liuzzi should go. Without the Fduct and Bridgestones he may actually find things a lot easier next season but he’s had his chance and then some. Paul should replace him but I’m still baffled as to why he got plonked in DTM when F1 is meant to be his future.

      Sutil if Paul comes in he should stay for continuity’s sake but he’s only done the odd good drive. Sutil runs the risk of permanently being stuck in FI but I don’t really rate him at all.

      Pedro no.

      Heidfeld yes in a new team. He came back with no testing in the Sauber and was only a tenth off Kobayashi in qualifying. At Korea he finished just behind his team mate. I’m quite impressed with Nick’s return or maybe it’s just that Kobayashi is so dreadful on a Saturday it makes Nick look better. Nick doesn’t have any midfield options bar Renault but they seem to want Petrov now. I’d like him at FI but Sutil has history with the team there so is better for continuity. I don’t think Heidfeld would go to a new team but that’s about the best he can do by the looks of things.

      Watch me be completely wrong though! :P:)

      1. There’s a simple reason why Paul got stuck in DTM – money. He didn’t have the budget to do GP2 (he was very lucky to have his cousin Dario who could contribute to his F3 campaign, otherwise he might not even have beating Seb then to his name) and Merc wanted him in DTM (for their own selfish reasons, imho)… if he’d had the sponsorship to do GP2 I’m sure he’d have been in F1 long before now

        1. I know why he got stuck there I just thing that it is a far from ideal route that could have done more harm than good potentially. He should have been in GP2 or a simialr series.

          1. Oh, I know it was less than ideal… he just didn’t have any choice, really :(

    23. I understand why FI though Liuzzi might be a decent bet, although mistake prone he didn’t get much of a crack first time around (although with what I had seen, I wouldn’t have given him the seat even for half a year). But I don’t understand how he was still racing in Abu Dhabi this year, if anything he made more mistakes in a better car.

      The only two on those list who must stay are Hulkenberg and Sutil. Some of the others are certainly deserving of a seat, but I wouldn’t be sad if they didn’t get one (some have had their day). I don’t want to see drivers promoted because of sponsorship money though, so there are a few there who I really hope don’t get a spot.

    24. I voted for 4 drivers which I believe are safest to say they deserve the seat:
      Nick Heidfeld, Adrian Sutil, Heiki Kovalainen, Jarno Trulli.
      Especially Nick – he is considered an old driver but is still both fast and reliable, doing little mistakes if any and knows all the tactics, overtaking etc. Perhaps he’s better than Vettel.

      For others there is simply too many question marks or I don’t have too good overview of their performance to make a just vote.
      There are some who generally disappointed despite some occasional flair (like Hulk and Petrov), made repeatable mistakes, etc, so considering how many talented young drivers wait for their chance in F1 I can’t honestly say they deserve the seat more than them, it’s up to team managers.

    25. I picked the Hulk and I’d love to give Sutil a top seat to see what he can really do. For the sake of Lotus I’d leave that Finn in the seat but I’d put Klein beside him. Shove Pastor in an HRT beside Bruno and let their egos take a beating. Not going to happen I know.

      Pet and the rest I’ve lost sympathy for… maybe send them to Indy.

    26. I think Hülkenberg is very much overhyped after his pole. Hia team mate Barrichello has done better job.

    27. After Abu Dhabi GP, PETROV, PETROV and PETROV!!!!!!!!

    28. was thinking about giving yamamoto a vote.. but nah

    29. I was one of those few who voted for Yamamoto. Imho, he is not as bad as often perceived. In qualifying, he trails his teammate by a smaller average margin than many other drivers, for instance, Schumacher, Petrov or Heidfeld. And Senna outperformed Klien in 1 of 3 races and often had the edge over Chandhok. When Yamamoto was driving for Spyker in 2007, the situation was the same. He trailed Sutil but they were not worlds apart. In some races, they were pretty close. And Yamamoto makes less serious mistakes than, for instance, Petrov, Buemi or Kobayashi. He never retired because of an accident in 2010.

      Yamamoto has always had the worst card on the grid. He has never been able to do a normal season. Give him a half-decent car, a full season (including pre-season tests) and I am sure that he will not perform worse than Petrov.

    30. Don t know exactly what “special” people see on Hulkenberg… He had quite a solid season, but he was more a great qualifyier then a racer… In many Sundays he was just dropping down the grid compared to Saturday… One Pole Position really doesn t change the overall situation… And great results from lower categories doesn t mean automatic success in F1… Kobayashi is a great example of it… Definitely Adrian Sutil is for me a driver who deserves a seat (and a good seat) at most… Petrov made too many mistakes and was horribly slow compared to Kubica, Hulkenberg didn t overcome Barrichello even in the second part of season and was very inconsistent in terms of performances and Di Grassi was totally invisible, destroyed by Timo in almost all qualifyings and races… Beside Sutil also Chandhok did a solid job… He wasn t exactly quicker then Senna, but was very reliable as a driver, same as Button or Alguersuari, who didn t retire this year for a driver mistake of their own…

    31. Kova, Heidfeld, Sutil and Glock are a must.

      I would also give a chance to Petrov and Hulkenberg, yet not in teams of Williams and Renault profile. They’re simply not there YET. They should be given one more season in a low profile team to simply mature in F1. Then the future is open for them.

      On the other hand, there are some guys I would certainly say goodbye to. Trulli and De La Rosa – test drivers or retirement. Di Grassi, Chandhook – they were here because of money, unlike Petrov, the didn’t show anything special even once. And last, but not least – Sakon Yamamoto, who is in my opinion, the worst driver to appear in 2010 on track. NO MORE.

    32. The Hulk, Chandhok and Petrov.

      That’s not to say I don’t think Heikki deserves a seat..but I think he’s guaranteed one.

    33. I would say Sutil to Renault.
      Hulk to Force India.
      Petrov to Lotus
      Heidfeld to Renault
      Kubica to Ferrari

      I know these are very unrealistic scenarios but just my opinion where these drivers should be.

    34. Sutil is probably the most overrated driver in F1 at the moment. He still makes too many mistakes and he’s never been particularly quick unless it’s been raining (at which point he is so fast he tends to fail entirely to avoid the barriers).

      Yet Jonathan Legard has just tweeted that the rumour is he will move to Ferrari in 2011! Has the world gone mad? (Or is it just Legard?)

      1. Or his manager is trying to stir up some commotion?

        Similar thing with Hulkenberg who was rumoured to be going to Ferrari the minute it became clear he wasn’t driving for Williams.

    35. I’m surprised so many people vote for Petrov. He’s been trashed by his team more comprehensively than any other driver. Kubica has 5 times as many points!

      Liuzzi, Hulkenberg, Heidfeld or for that matter Schumacher and Massa have been outperformend by their team ate but at least they have been ahead of them also. They tend to have around half the points. Not a fifth.

    36. Well if Prtugoose happens to read this, I’m just gonna rub it in his face, only 9% think di Grassi deserves a drive. HAHAHAHA!


    37. Of those not on the list….

      Romain Grosjean. Was given a crap Renault at the end of 2009 – deserves another chance. He’s got a lot more overall potential than Petrov in my opinion. Renault was smart to keep him in their driver development program so I hope he’s not done yet.

      Alvaro Parente. Like DiResta, its only a lack of funding that has kept him from F1. His one-off appearance in a Coloni GP2 car last year at Spa nearly resulted in immediate victory. He’s awesome.

    38. I voted for Hulk, Heidfeld, Glock, Kovalainen, D’Ambrosio, Klien, Sutil and Di Resta. I’d also like to see Senna or CHandhok again but I think that their Performance was just not good enough. But the reason for that might also be the team…

      I just don’t get they Petrov gets so many votes. OK, he had a good race in Abu Dhabi (During Qualifying, one of the german commentators said: ‘Petrov’s having a really good weekend! He hasn’t crashed yet…’) but mostly he has been crashing and underperforming compared to his team mate. He had one of the best cars behind the top 3 and should have been able to score points more regularly, even as a rookie. The only reason he might be kept on is money, but Renault have to ask themselves if he really has been worth the 15m$ he brought to the team, considering that a better driver might have scored enough points to secure 4th in the WCC. And then there is that really long repair bill…

    39. Shocked to see Glock only getting 51% of the votes. He was running at a very high position at Singapore and (some other race, I don’t remember) and was punted off those places by other drivers. He was easily the most impressive of the 8 drivers which drove for the 3 new teams. I say, put him in a Reanult alongside Kubica. Both will make a formidable team.

      1. Korea is the other race you’re thinking of. He was running pretty well before Buemi crashed into him.

    40. I’m really shocked Petrov and Chandhok are so popular.

      Petrov had a truly shocking season. It was embarrassing at times. He’s a nice enough guy and did a good job during the last race of the season, but he was by far the most out of his depth driver of the season.

      If it wasn’t for his car being much faster than the other rookie drivers car’s we would not even be mentioning him…

      1. He did do a marvellous job of holding up Alonso though, so he deserves his place next year! Off topic- who watched the bbc F1 review? who are the artists who sing the song they used at the end- i love the song but cannot find out who sings it! Help! Please.

        1. Just Drive by Alistair Griffin

    41. The poll below includes all the drivers who participated in races or practice sessions in 2010 whose seats for 2010 have not yet been confirmed:

      The poll should include other drivers, notably KIMI, who should be driving along side Vettel and be THE UNBEATABLE TWIN. By far the best 2 F1 drivers in a stable of drivers that is full of great talent, for the most part.

      From Keith’s list, voted for the 3 H, Hulk, Heikki, Heidfeld, Petrov, Sutil, Liuzzi and Chandhok

      1. Didn’t get this right the 1st time. Let’s try it again.

        The poll below includes all the drivers who participated in races or practice sessions in 2010 whose seats for 2010 have not yet been confirmed:

        The poll should include other drivers, notably KIMI, who should be driving along side Vettel and be THE UNBEATABLE TWIN. By far the best 2 F1 drivers in a stable of drivers that is full of great talent, for the most part.

        From Keith’s list, voted for the 3 H, Hulk, Heikki, Heidfeld, Petrov, Sutil, Liuzzi and Chandhok.

        1. Why include a driver that has already confirmed that he won’t be driving in F1 next year?

        2. The poll should include other drivers

          The purpose behind limiting the poll to a specific set of drivers was to keep it from becoming too large.

          We’ve already done a poll on Räikkönen along these lines earlier this year:

          Will Räikkönen return to F1? (Poll) – F1 Fanatic – The Formula 1 Blog

          And since then he’s said he’s not interesting in returning.

    42. Younger Hamilton
      22nd November 2010, 18:45

      I chose Adrian,Nico,Nick,Karun,Bruno,Jerome,Jarno,Heikki and Vitaly.Most of them Listed on my comment had a very good and solid season despite reliability problems for all drivers.The one i dont care or just hard to chose is who gets the 2nd Force India Seat.The Thing is Liuzzi has made so many errors and didnt score points where and when expected but dont blame him he hasnt had a full season since 07 and carries a lot of experience and Di Resta looks very impressive and talented but is he ready to ditch DTM for F1,is he ready to make the cut.Most Importantly who will get the race seats we’ll find out before Pre-Season Testing in 2011

    43. Interesting poll. I voted Hulk, Trulli, Heiki, Sutil, Petrov and Chandhok.

      Sutil has driven well for FI and same with Heiki for Lotus. The Hulk was a no brainer :) ! Petrov has had some very strong performances towards the end of the season while Chandhok was responsible for HRT finishing above Virgin this year. Id like to see him have another year in a better car.

      There should be a poll to vote for drivers I dont want to see next year. Id vote Sakon Yamamoto for sure :D !

    44. Not on the list is Daniel Ricciardo. I guess he is the one who really deserves a drive in F1 next year.

    45. You’d be stupid not to hire Hiedfeld. He’s nearly always in the points which is useful to the mid field teams. He’d be better at renault but sadly that’d mean he’d be in the same team as Kubica again.

      1. Agree Firmin – Nick Heidfeld is really underrated. He’s probably the best there is at bringing the car home, and has rarely been embarrassed on pace by the likes of Raikkonen, Kubica, Massa etc as his team mate.

        You’d think he’d be ideal for a team like Lotus or Virgin at least.

    46. Portogoose has a point: Why is everyone hating on Di Grassi. He finished ahead of his team-mate in the WDC and he finished (when both cars made it to the end) twice ahead of Glock compared to four times Glock finished ahead of him. Thanks to the cars awful reliability there’s no way you judge his skills accurately. Therefore, he deserves another shot at least.

    47. how on earth 35 people think that Fairuz should get a drive. wonder he’s there only because of this lotus is actually “Malaysian” team. doubt he can be better than the rest, except maybe his only contender is yamamoto?

    48. With 45% of the vote, the signs are promising that this year our ‘driver of the year’ poll won’t be under the influence of the Nick Heidfeld fan club – touch wood.


    50. Not Surprised that Nico got the most votes.

      Heikki coming in second was a surprise. Glad to to see Karun getting a large chunk of thevotes too. My Picks are

      Nico Hulk – He’s got great potential, I got a funny vibe that he will be at Ferrari in 2012, providing he doesnt got to Mercedes for a “test” role. Willi Weber’s connections run deep into the cores of Maranello. If Massa has a season anything like the last one, he will be out of a job come 2012 and Nico will step in.

      Timo Glock – Deserves a shot at having a reasonably quick car. Force India perhaps?

      Adrian Sutil – Has shown that he’s matured over the years. Needs to make the step up into a upper midfield car, like a Renault or Mercedes soon.

      Karun Chandok – Much has been said about Senna, but from the little we saw of Karun last season, he has been up to the pace of Senna and quicker quite a few times as well. He’s a real racer, talks the talk and walks the walk. Hope he gets a decent drive next year…I wont be to surprised if he ends up staying with HRT. With the Indian GP next year, Karun can bring in some serious money.

    51. Kimi Raikkonen deserves a seat in F1.

    52. Adam Carroll, the best driver outside F1 and not even a mention. He’s won in every Formula he’s driven in but never has any backing. He’s the prime example of why the Super Licence should be tougher to get. Ran circles around the likes of Di Grassi, Glock, Fauzy,Petrov Maldanado and Chandok.

      Rather than Ricciardo the stand out Young driver was Sam Bird. Unlike Ricciardo he’d never been in an F1 car other than for straighline tests and wasn’t running in the pole winning car.

    53. Nick is a perfect example of the “Peter Principle”

      “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence”

      1. Heidfeld that is :P

    54. I have to say, again, for everyone to take a look at this driver: Edoardo Mortara. I’ve said this before, I live in Macau and have been following the Macau Grand Prix for more than 20 years. I’ve seen most of the current and former F1 drivers going trough here. I have the good fortune of being able to seeing their driving up close on the track, and have seen the likes of Ayrton Senna, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Hamilton, Rosberg, Kobayashi Vettel and more recently Hulkenberg over here, and I have to say that, while all those, excluding Hulkenberg and Vettel, which underperformed, really impressed me, Mortara is up there with the best. He was in a class of his own this year, making an historic victory and doing a double, the first ever in the event’s 54 year history.


      GIve this man a chance. Yes, he had a bad gp2 season 2 years ago, but so did Kobayashi. Kobayashi was really impressive over here. I knew he had it by the way he drove in certain corners over here- absolutely on the limit. And Mortara is the same, if not even faster. It would be great to see him at Toro Rosso. That would be enough to show what he’s worth. He would kick Buemi and Alguersari’s behind (both performed average over here)

    55. HounslowBusGarage
      23rd November 2010, 23:19

      “Who deserves an F1 race seat in 2011?”

    56. My vote went to Heidfield and Sutil, two good drivers that are kind of underrated. The other are young and would have a chance in the future.

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