When will we see them again?

Posted on

| Written by

The future of Fernando Alonso is expected to become clear in the next two weeks.

And if, as is widely expected, he does leave for McLaren, the shockwaves will be felt up and down the pit lane.

Indeed several drivers may already have started the last races of their careers. Here are the big names that could be set for the chop…

Ralf Schumacher
Age: 32
Grand Prix starts: 180
Wins: 6
Points: 329

Ralf Schumacher could be about to follow brother Michael out of the sport just one year after the senior (and slightly more successful…) Schumacher bade farewell.

Schumacher will not be racing for Toyota next year and is famously unpopular with a lot of the F1 press, particularly the British contingent. He is likely to be replaced by GP2 champion Timo Glock, but rumours have connected Alonso with the team.

Despite recently extending his Ferrari contract Felipe Massa is also considered a candidate, if not for 2008 then possibly 2009. Why? Because it is believed the Luca Montezemolo wants a Raikkonen-Alonso line-up at Ferrari – note how effusive the Italian has been in his praise of Raikkonen and Alonso (and, most conspicuously, not Hamilton).

The split between Montezemolo and Todt could lead to the Frenchman, Massa and manager Nicolas Todt (Jean’s son) heading off to Toyota. It would fit with Toyota’s desire to increase market share in South America which was partly why they brought Massa’s compatriot Cristiano da Matta to F1 in 2003.

Schumacher, meanwhile, has been linked to Spyker (nee Force India), which in turn would spell sayonara for Sakon Yamamoto.

Debate: Should Ralf Schumacher retire?

Giancarlo Fisichella
Age: 34
Grand Prix starts: 194
Wins: 3
Points: 267

A return to Renault would be logical for Alonso, but only if he believes the team will be competitive. In that case, he might rather partner Fisichella than replace him, as the Italian would not be as fraction as hard to contain as Lewis Hamilton has been.

But Briatore would surely not want to drop Heikki Kovalainen, who has worked with Alonso in the past and beaten Fisichella this year. Indeed, keeping Fisichella under any circumstances when he’s been beaten by three team mates in a row would surely be cause to call Briatore’s judgement into question.

Debate: End of the line for Fisichella?

Rubens Barrichello
Age: 35
Grand Prix starts: 249
Wins: 9
Points: 519

Barrichello has a contract for 2008 but rumours suggest Honda might give him the heave-ho. Barrichello failed to score all year while Button somehow got three points finishes out of the beastly RA107.

Alonso would surely not join the team in its current state, but if his movement left someone like Kovalainen or Nico Rosberg without a seat then Honda might well pounce.

Having said all that, the team’s biggest weakness is clearly on the technical side, and focussing on that rather than fiddling with the driver line-up would be more sensible.

Debate: Rubens Barrichello

Vitantonio Liuzzi
Age: 27
Grand Prix starts: 39
Wins: 0
Points: 5

On the F1 scrap heap at 27? It would be harsh but it may well happen as he won’t be at Toro Rosso next year.

Liuzzi hasn’t distinguished himself in two and a bit years of F1 but he’s usually been ahead of Scott Speed and Sebastian Vettel (except on that one occasion when it really mattered).

He seems to have his sights set on a Williams seat which seems wise. The team have already lost Alexander Wurz for next year and McLaren may pay megabucks to snatch Rosberg if Alonso moves elsewhere.

Photo: Charles Coates / LAT Photographic | HondaRacingF1.com

Related links

Tags: f1 / formula one / formula 1 / grand prix / motor sport

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

14 comments on “When will we see them again?”

  1. If they retire, then we’ll probably see them where retired F1 drivers now seem to be going – NASCAR!

  2. Paul Sainsbury
    24th October 2007, 9:57

    I think he is leaving for Renault, he already is at McLaren.

  3. I think there’s a chance we might see the end of Trulli as well this year based on some of the comments from Toyota. I think if Alonso goes there they may partner him with Glock. Although of course Alonso might have as much trouble with Glock as Hamilton Toyota management might sign Alonso on an agreement to give him number 1 status.

    It might be a bad idea, when Toyota need to do so much development, to change both drivers but the current drivers haven’t helped too much have they?

  4. “I think there’s a chance we might see the end of Trulli as well this year based on some of the comments from Toyota”.

    Some websites were reporting that Spyker/Force India (blechh) were going to have a post-season evaluation type test, with Trulli and Ralf both going to that, so that might corroborate your thoughts.

    Just to answer the question “when will we see them again?”, hopefully in the case of Ralf, never again in F1. I’m not a fan of his. Fisi I don’t mind so much, but I won’t mourn him if he does leave. I’d like Rubens to hang around a little more, to beat the Patrese “GP starts” record, but again won’t mourn him overly if he does go. I’m kind of hoping Liuzzi can get a drive somewhere though. I’d quite like to see him in the Williams.

  5. I would like to say you folks have a great site. I sure hope Trulli is in F1 next year. The only drivers I would want to see go are Ralf and Yamamoto.

    To me, Ralf is pretty unlikeable,but that’s my own personal opinion. Yamamoto is going to get somebody hurt and shouldn’t have been in F1 in the first place.

  6. I really hope Rubens is around for another year. I’d really hate to see him close out his career with his worst season to date.

  7. Only Liuzzi I’d rather see remain, and that is because he is still a bit young.

    As for Bukko’s statement about Yamamoto, Fisichella has apologised for the accident.

  8. Oliver, I could be wrong about Yamamoto. What do I know? In a better car he might be a perfectly fine driver. I only want to see good safe races. We probably all agree on that.

    Maybe it’s the really bad cars that are the danger. I mean, some cars are so slow they can’t help but always be in the way.

    If all the drivers from this year were back next year, I wouldn’t complain.

  9. I never thought Ralf was doing anything for F1 anyway,only burning through funds that would have covered 2 drivers salaries.I don’t think anyone will miss him.

    I wouldn’t mind if Liuzzi got another shot (in a different car),just to see if he has it in him.

  10. “if his movement left … Nico Rosberg out of a seat”

    Is the author following the same racing series as the rest of us?

  11. I cannot see a reason to leave Liuzzi without a seat: he is young, rather quick and bold. The pensioneers who must go are to me: ralf, rubens and maybe fisico. the latter is well off his prime and his main occuopation is now crying and whining about bad luck, bad car, bad stategy, bad opponents and bad weather. his time is due.

    As for yamamoto: who has ever thought he is a F1 driver anyway?

  12. I can’t see Ralf retiring just yet, personally and Liuzzi seems too talented to go as well.

  13. It’s good to see so much support for Liuzzi. He’s not my favorite driver,but to me, his driving skills are undeniable. F1 would be worse off to lose a young talented driver like him.

    Sadly, talent doesn’t always win out when it comes to F1 rides. But it’s still the best racing in the world!

  14. That last comment caught my eye…..”best racing in the world”? I’ve followed F1 since the days of B.R.M., Vanwall, Cooper and national colours and and let me assure you this season was NOT the best racing in the world. The only positive result was the close finish 110, 109, 109 but that was due to Ferrari’s un-characteristic reliability troubles, horrific rain and Hamilton’s blunders, none of which is good racing.
    As bad as things are I’m still here, fingers crossed. And now they’re going to “freeze engine development”……what a crock, is this really “best racing” and the “pinnacle of motorsport” ? The article asks , Will we see them again, and too many fans are ready to throw away so many good drivers, friends the one you should be tossing out is MadMax Mosley !!!!!!!

Comments are closed.