The “silly season” is officially under way, especially now that Alonso’s move to Ferrari has been confirmed, so who’s going where?
Well, first off let’s look at the teams: nine the current ten teams are definitely going to be around in 2010, but BMW Sauber’s future seems unclear. (The team has been up for sale for a couple of months; it looks like Qadbak Investments are going to be the new owners.) There are also four new teams: Campos, Lotus, Manor and US F1.
So, who’s going to be in which seat?
- Brawn: Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are expected to stay put, although there are rumours that Ross Brawn has made an offer to Nico Rosberg (to replace RB).
- Ferrari: Kimi Raikkonen has been replaced by Fernando Alonso. Everyone hopes Felipe Massa will be fit to return, but the rumour is that Ferrari’s “Plan B” is to bring Michael Schumacher out of retirement.
- Force India: Giancarlo Fisichella is temporarily keeping Felipe Massa’s seat warm at Ferrari but it’s unlikely he’ll return to Force India. (It’s expected he’ll be Ferrari’s test driver but may be “loaned out” to a friendly team.) Adrian Sutil will probably stay, and maybe Vitantonio Liuzzi will keep GF’s place.
- McLaren: Lewis Hamilton is confirmed; Heikki Kovalainen needs better results if he hopes to keep his seat, but there are also whispers of Nico Rosberg’s name.
- Red Bull: Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel are confirmed for 2010.
- Renault: Romain Grosjean is expected to stay (assuming he picks up his game); will Kimi Raikkonen take Fernando Alonso place given FA has taken KR’s at Ferrari? Or maybe Robert Kubica?
- Toro Rosso: Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari are expected to stay at STR.
- Toyota: The team want to keep Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock but there are budget cuts coming so negotiations are a long way from finalised.
- Williams: Kazuki Nakajima will be out if Williams switch engine supplier to Renault because he’s supported by Toyota. Likely drivers are Heikki Kovalainen and Williams’ current test driver Nico Hulkenberg.
- Campos, Lotus, Manor and US F1: lots have names have been kicked around, some more likely than others, but it’s still too early to say.
- BMW Sauber: assuming they are allowed back in to F1! They’re going to have problems securing drivers until they know they’re going to be on the grid.