Who will Renault pick to replace Kubica in 2011?

2011 F1 season

Posted on

| Written by

Robert Kubica, Renault, Valencia, 2011

With Robert Kubica beginning a slow recovery from the dreadful injuries he suffered on Sunday, Renault team principal Eric Boullier faces the unenviable task of finding a substitute for his star driver.

Renault already has a pair of third drivers, Bruno Senna and Romain Grosjean, plus three reserve drivers – Fairuz Fauzy, Ho-Pin Tung and Jan Charouz. But are any of them up to taking Kubica’s place for what is likely to be an entire year?

Renault were on the cusp of challenging for race victories last year, and instead of promoting one of their existing drivers they may prefer to go with a proven front-running driver – if they can find one.

Here are some of the options that might be open to them.

Kimi Raikkonen

For: Former world champion with 18 F1 wins to his name and eight years’ experience with top teams McLaren and Ferrari.

Against: Has been out of F1 for a year. Had a public spat with the team last year in which he accused them of using his name to gain publicity.

Afterwards he said: “I have never even seriously considered driving for Renault, and I can assure you that I am 100 per cent sure that I will not drive for Renault next season.”

Read more: Kimi Raikkonen biography

Nick Heidfeld

For: Available, raced in 2010 and has extensive experience of testing the Pirelli tyres.

Spent three-and-a-half years as Kubica’s team mate. Also, he is smaller than Kubica, so fitting him in the car and using KERS should not be a problem.

A safe pair of hands, Heidfeld holds the record for most consecutive race finishes.

Against: No wins in 172 races – he also holds the record for most second-place finishes without a win.

Read more: Nick Heidfeld biography

Pedro de la Rosa

For: Like Heidfeld he is available, raced in 2010 and has extensive experience of testing the Pirelli tyres.

Against: Like Heidfeld there are also question marks over his performance.

Read more: Pedro de la Rosa biography

Bruno Senna

For: According to Boullier if Renault are going to promote from within, Senna is the man who’ll get the drive.

Against: Limited experience – did one race less than a full season last year.

Read more: Bruno Senna biography

Nico Hulkenberg

For: Promising rookie of 2010 who took pole position in Brazil last year. Was dropped by Williams largely for budget reasons.

Tested the 2011-specification Pirellis last week.

Against: Would need to be borrowed from Force India. Only has one season of F1 race experience.

Read more: Nico Hulkenberg biography

Vitantonio Liuzzi

For: Has 2010 F1 race experience.

Against: Was dropped by Force India for 2011 despite having a contract for the season.

Read more: Vitantonio Liuzzi biography

Giancarlo Fisichella

For: Knows the team – drove for them from 1998-2001 and 2005-2007.

Against: Has been out of F1 for a year, would need to be borrowed from Ferrari.

Read more: Giancarlo Fisichella biography

Anthony Davidson

For: Has a huge amount of F1 test experience.

Against: Hasn’t raced in F1 since 2008 and told F1 Fanatic last year the sport is a “closed book” for him.

According to Byron Young he has ruled himself out of the seat and is concentrating on his sports car commitment with Peugeot.

Read more: Anthony Davidson biography


Some outsiders to keep an eye on:

Romain Grosjean – Renault’s other third driver. Only started seven F1 races, all with the team at the end of 2009. Would need replacing at DAMS GP2 team.

Lucas di Grassi – Former Renault development driver who did a full season with Virgin last year before being dropped.

Christian Klien – Another driver with 2010 F1 race experience.

David Coulthard – Hasn’t raced an F1 car since 2008. Tons of experience, but would need to extract himself from Mercedes and BBC commitments.

Whatever Renault choose to do, they can’t wait long to make a decision. There is precious little testing time between now and the start of the season, and the next test in Jerez starts in just two days’ time.

And Petrov’s role should not be overlooked either. As the driver with the most experience of the new Renault and a full season with the team last year, the pressure will be on him to perform.

Who do you think Renault will choose? Who would be the best choice for the team? Have your say in the comments.

Robert Kubica rally crash

    Image © Julien Leroy / firstlap.be

    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.

    288 comments on “Who will Renault pick to replace Kubica in 2011?”

    1. I for one would love to see Bruno get a chance to shine but can’t really see him being a longterm choice (unless he really impresses!)

      1. Yeah, I’d at least like to see what he can do, he was unlucky to miss out on the Honda/Brawn seat.

        1. I’d love to see a new face in F1. Therefore I’d like to see Senna get the seat, even if its for the full year.

          Petrov had it easy last season. He had the best car of all the rookies and had no pressure to beat his team-mate as no one expected him to. Give Senna the drive and lets have a competition. :D

          1. A new face in F1? Senna drove the HRT last season, remember?

            Admittedly you could be forgiven for forgetting: he didn’t show any sign of being anything special.

            1. In all honesty, we’ve seen Heidfeld, De La Rosa, and Kimi for years now.

              Rookies need to be given a chance. Senna didn’t have that.

              Di Grassi, Petrov and Chandhok hardly showed much promise either, but these people need time, time that people like Kimi were once given.

              They are good drivers. Give the the new guys a break.

            2. Agreed. The best thing for Renault might be to get Räikkönen in the car, but the best thing for the sport might be to see Senna get a shot in a decent car, and the marketing gurus will be salivating at the thought of a Senna with that helmet in a black and gold “Lotus.”

            3. *sigh*

              In all honesty there are enough pay-drive rookies in and around F1 who have more money than talent.

              Drivers with talent and experience need to be given a chance. Kimi Raikkonen didn’t need time to prove his worth, he finished in 6th on his debut after jumping straight up from Formula Renault.

              Renault have already given Petrov too much of a chance now they need an experienced driver who is actually quick, can lead the team and can get them points.

            4. I’d love for Nick to be given a final chance at glory – it would be airytale tuff if he came back an won a race – there’s no dubtin the Renault performance.

            5. Actually I think this summs it up quite nicely: http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns22923.html

              First step would seem to be giving Senna, maybe Grosjean or Heidfeld some time in the car to see what they are like.

              For me it would be 1. having a try at Kimi. If he does not bite, look at Heidfeld or take a gamble with Huelkenberg or if they are feeling good about Bruno, give it to him.

            6. To be honest, I think Kimi is such a long shot it’s not even worth discussing…

      2. flavio britore visited Kubica in hospital yesterday. flavio was asked if his 1 year old son is still such a fat bugger. Robert’s fine. No need any replacement.

        1. Bruno is too young for a first driver. If Raikonen is not available i would try Heidfeld and then Bourdais as the experienced drivers. I think Heidfeld is good, consistent but not great. I do think that if Bourdais is given a car or work on it for his driving style he can be fast. I would base my decision on testing

          1. Bourdais, absolute lollerskates there!!

            Heidfeld is really the only likely candidate alongside luizzi for getting someone in. Otherwise it will be Senna

            1. I would prefer Bourdais than Liuzzi. At least in his one and half year he was first in one of the SPA qualifings, and qualified 4th in Monza. What´s the best result of Liuzzi in his more than 4 years of experience?

          2. There is only one good option and his manager is mr Weber.
            Its The Hulk :)

      3. jus do a shoot out at jerez, faster guy gets it!!

        1. They’d never do that though as it would show the true pace of their car at this point, which no team would do so early as they all sandbag a bit…

          1. Heavy fuel load and ten laps a piece in two sessions… they can see who is quickest in a heavy, fuel laden, car and no one would know how the car behaves on low fuel. Besides, they’ve already got Bruno and Romain, so they can afford to do it now or even at the last test. The true pace of the cars are generally shown by the last test anyway so if they don’t like my suggestion, then they can have their shootout at the last test.

      4. My choice will be Kimi, Nick, Niko or Bruno.
        I think those are the options to be considered in Renault.
        1. Kimi – top driver, world champion
        2. Nick – solid driver, experienced
        3. Niko – talented driver with a future
        4. Bruno – no one knows exactly what to expect from him but he is Renault test driver and he would be a big media event at the beginning because Ayrton – the same team, same car color, and the same helmet- like we are 26 years back.

    2. Martin Brundle.

      1. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Nigel Mansell will make a come back… in fact, I’m not gonna wash my clothes until he does!!

        1. I’m not going to shave my top lip until he does.

      2. He is by far their best option.

        1. I personally think he would be great. He showed just last week at Daytona that he still has the speed, even after not racing for 10 years. The fact that he could pick things up so quickly after that type of a gap, demonstrates that he has the skills you need in modern F1. Plus he has knowledge and experience to be very useful.

          Still, the toughest thing would be to get him away from his new BBC role. Brundle is the one who is always saying that you never lose the speed only the need.

      3. Awesome – no issues with BBC either, as I’m sure Brundle wouldn’t have a problem doing the commentary from within the car at the same time!

        1. It could work; …. and that was lee mckenzie in the pit lane, now lets hear from Martin Brundle who is in 6th place behind Button, what can you see from there Martin?

          1. hehe – good one…

          2. If we can then also switch to an onboard cam, it would be nice.

            Imagine a wet Abu Dhabi: [Brundle] absolutely nothing just like the others David, but I am sure we make a pretty picture with the hotel lights reflected by the rain. Good thing this championship won’t be decided here. By the way, any news on what Hamilton and Alonso are up to with tyres, are they holding or do I have a chance to pass them during a pitstop?

          3. hahaha.. good one!

    3. We must have a glorious Ralf Schumacher comeback. Ecclestone said it would be a good idea and he’s completely right.

      1. Not sure if this is tongue-in-cheek – but I think Ralf was better than most gave him credit for – he held his own against Montoya who is very highly rated!

        1. From my own experience, I can understand why you think that was tounge-in-cheek. I am, however, one of the very, very, very rare Ralf Schumacher fans on the internet, so I was being at least 75 % serious.

        2. Speaking of Montoya. Get him to burn the hamburgers off and get fit again and he’d be a good replacement :P

          1. hahaha…Just like Raikkonen, Montoya has zero interest in returning to F1.

            1. But JV could fill in ,until Rob gets back

            2. I know, but a man can dream!

    4. Kimi or Nick. Nick will be a lot safer, but Kimi if properly motivated could yield better result. Renault will not borrow Hulk, they’d rather take outsider to protect info from competitor.

      1. I think we can rule Kimi out – he won’t be quite fit enough – nor motivated unless he is there for at least a season.

      2. If Renault can get Kimi to get in the car, take him. Hell, if he does well, they will leave him in the car till the end of the year even if Robert is fit again during the season.
        I do not see any reason, why Kubica would not replace Petrov in some of the races in such a case, if only to see how he does or even to keep off competitors.

        When Kimi does not take the seat on offer, I would think Liuzzi or Heidfeld are the way to go. They might be good at developing, have enough experience and both have something to prove. Do not expect fireworks from them though.

        Unless the team feels really sure that Robert will return during the season, I would not give the seat to Bruno Senna and Grosjean should do the GP2 season.

        1. I’d much rather see Senna than Liuzzi….

          1. Me too. He’s had his shot and hasn’t produced any results to speak of. I know Joe Saward has a million explanations why, but it’s time for fresh blood in the sport. If it’s not Kimi I hope it’s Senna.

        2. Its obvious that if they could pick up kimi, they would. But last year’s spat between the two, and Kimi’s lack of interest in F1 pretty much sums up the chances of his comeback.

          I think Heidfeld is their best choice. He is consistent, quick and has a wealth of experience. If they cannot get Heidfeld.. then I think they should give Bruno a chance.

          I think the talk of Hulkenberg or Fisi is just ridiculous. Bruno could possibly match Hulkenberg given the chance, and Fisi has been out for a whole season already.

    5. i think they should go with either nico hülkenberg or adrian sutil, the latter would be the preferred options as one of the most talented f1 drivers; but it would be tough to get him out of his contract (not that tough, since they do have hulk as a reserve). timo glock would be a great choice, too.
      from those without a contract, nick heidfeld would be the safest bet.
      ok, all of those are germans, but that’s a coincidence.

      1. I agree, I think they should be going after Sutil, he is a fast aggressive driver and desperate to push himself up the grid and this could be just the car for him. Adrian has plenty of experience in developing cars and I think would make a good team leader given a stable team to drive for.

        1. one of the most talented f1 drivers;

          Sutil has had 4 years to prove himself, and proved nothing other than that he is a slow learner.

          Sutil, he is a fast aggressive driver and desperate to push himself up the grid and this could be just the car for him. Adrian has plenty of experience in developing cars

          Sutil is a maniac unpredictable unreliable driver with plenty of experience wrecking cars at random, when under no pressure of any kind.

          1. Wow Hairs, sounds like he ran over your cat? Have a whisky brov, calm down a little…

            He’s very much a mid field driver who barely distinguishes himself. But this is a new season, new car.. So we will see.. Or as they say in Germany.. Ve Vill See!!

      2. I’m with You a long way…
        Nick is a sensitive driver – he drives smooth and lack’s some agressiveness – he never causes an accident, but he is stable, experienced as he brilliantly showed in Silverstone 2008 – where he made the call and shifted to full wets with a few laps remaining, and he ended 2.
        Senna is definitely not up to the title as lead driver with Renault, yet…

    6. I’m thinking it will be Heidfeld. On terms of performance he may not have won a single race, but he held his own against Kubica and has tons of experience.

      Besides, he’s so desperate to win anything he’d possibly race for free :D

      Raikkonen would still be the better choice, but he is likely too expensive.

      1. He’s certainly the safest driver for LRGP to choose, but that doesnt always mean the best. But i agree, because he’s the safest and has some speed, he’s going to get the seat. I think Kimi is a near-as-certain not going to happen, whether its because he isnt motivated, paid enough or simply doesnt want to. But then i gave up trying to figure out the guy ages ago.

        The dark horse could be Luizzi, he’s got the cash, is a well known testdriver and has got speed and i dont think he showed who he actually is last season which has tarnished his image. I think Luizzi could be either a masterstroke of genius or an accident to happen. Up to LRGP to descide, but theres a lot to choose from.

    7. They can’t choose any of there reserve drivers or they might as well write off their season.
      I think Hulkenberg would make sense, failing that I’d go for Jean Alesi!

      1. Hulkenberg is their best option. He has potential, Heidfeld is a safe option, but not aggressive enough to put the car above and beyond where it should be. I wouldn’t put Bruno is the car for a year, and Kimi won’t want to come back, unless of course, there is a massive pay check. Grosjean is good, but Renault need to get the best results while it has this possible advantage from their front blown diffuser. So they need a good driver, with recent Grand Prix experience. I definetly can’t see Coulthard coming back, especially not with Renault. Pedro isn’t good enough, sorry. Davidson has other commitments, I can’t see Renault even approaching him. Liuzzi didn’t prove himself last year, as I said previously, Renault need a fast, conistenbt driver, which he is not. I did not watch F1 back in Klien’s years, but he didn’t impress compared with Senna in the Hispania this year.

        So, i’d put Hulkenburg in the car, he was good in the second part of 2010, and you have to take a little risk. If they put Heidfeld in the car, Renault are playing it safe.

        This has really harmed Kubica, I could see him driving for Ferrari in 2012, This injury means he will be back at Renault or a slower team in 2012, even if ferrari wanted him, with a year off, he’ll need at least half a year to get back up to speed. I think Massa’s contract ends in 2012, correct me if i’m wrong, Ther main candidate for the seat was Kubica, if Massa did leave, who would replace him now?

        PS. The Hispania this year looks amazing.

        1. I agree, and i bet my house that the hulk was on the phone to his manager the second he knew Kubica wasn’t going to make the grid.

    8. It’s a tough one. If Senna or Grosjean take the seat then obviously they’d need a decent amount of testing time, but alternatively with Kubica gone an experienced hand would do them well for car development. De La Rosa or Heidfeld would fit perfectly.

      Personally I think split the rest of testing between Petrov and Heidfeld/Senna, do the opening flyaway races with Heidfeld and then give Senna a go.

      1. That’s an interesting suggestion. Sharing the seat round to a certain extent… what then if Heidfeld leads the championship after the 4th round? :)

        1. Well, performance based obviously! If Heidfeld is performing well keep him, if he’s not really adding much then put Senna in the seat, or whoever!

          But if Heidfeld led the championship after round four I bet he still wouldn’t have won a race!

          1. Hehe! I’m not so sure! I think Heidfeld would win easily given the right car – he still has massive potential – i’ve always been a big supportor of his. But not his beard.

            1. Woah… Don’t be beating on the beard!

      2. God please no, what happens if there are people that want to see Senna in the first couple of races? and then he has missed 2 months of driving the car, what would be the point?

    9. My top candidates would be Grosjean because he deserves a chance to redeem his reputation, Bruno Senna for the obvious reasons, but also because what better way to see if he can cut it, and then Hulkenberg, who also deserves a decent car to show what he’s capable of. None of them are proven quantities, but Raikkonen isn’t happening (I think?), Heidfeld would be boring and the others even more so.

      1. Agreed. Grosjean was impressive in his non-F1 racing since he was dropped so I’d like to see him have another go in a good car. And I’d hate to see Senna languishing in third driver/testing roles for a significant part of his career. Even if he turns out to be as rubbish as HRT made him look, I’d like him to at least have a shot at a good car.

        1. Grosjean should get another shot I think but between Bruno and him I’d go for Bruno because he has more recent experience in F1.

    10. Why isn’t Sakon Yamamoto on the list? ;)

      1. I think Yuji Ide is far more deserving.

        1. The reuturn of Joachim Winkelhock!

          1. and lets not forget tiff neddell – with a record of 1 DNF and 1 DNQ he is surely worth a chance!

            1. Winkelhock led a race for a handful of laps, he’s ready

            2. Matt Pepprell
              8th February 2011, 16:02

              What about Ukyo Katayama. Thinking about this.. perhaps Pedro Diniz!

            3. Come on guys .. dont fool around. We all know the most deserving candidate would be Tiago Monteiro

            4. I’d go for Jacky Ickx.

            5. On that basis, I think I’m ready to deive, albeit only via UAV remote control methods! :)

              I’m sure I could hammer the times :)

          2. I’ve heard that hispaña ate considering tiff needell for a handful of races this season

    11. I think Heidfeld is the best option – and when I say ‘best’ I also mean most realistic. Of the drivers that are available i.e. don’t have other contractual commitments etc, he is clearly the best. Yes, he’s never had a win, but even if he could just be a contender for podium finishes, that would be good for Renault this year.
      Ultimately, Kubica is a huge talent and certainly not easy to replace, so I think the best Renault can hope for is to get someone experienced, consistent and reliable. That’s Heidfeld all over.

    12. Bit strange to say that Del La Rosa has serious questions marks over his performance (true), “like Heidfeld”. Don’t remember De La Rosa letting Kubica pass for an (eventual) win, don’t remember De la Rosa up on the podium much. Heidfeld may not be brilliant, but he’s a mile ahead of De La Rosa.

      Would love to see Davidson come in – but never going to happen. Would like to see Heidfeld back, or would be very pleased to see Hulkenberg get a drive. Even Chandhok…. Klein… anyone… sadly I suspect it’s going to be Senna… the ad-men will have their say.

    13. JV might be available. Other websites have mentioned him as a possibility. Do you know something we don’t Keith? Or do you just not rate him as a chance?

      1. Don’t rate him as a choice. Remember how he did for them in 2004?

        1. Good point. Though I do think that he is more likely that Coulthard.

          1. And he speaks French. After a fashion.

    14. Heidfeld would be great I reckon. He’s already shown that he’s not much worse than Kubica and I’m sure he could win races in a competitive car.

      If not Heidfeld, than I think Hulkenberg would be okay too.

      1. Pretty much agree with you. I’d personally go for Hulkenberg because although he’s scrappy he could achieve something really great. However, if Petrov’s as crashtastic as last year they should probably plump for Heidfeld.

        1. Hulkenburg would be an interesting choice as it’d leave Renault with two highly inexperianced drivers. Although Hulkenburg was improving last year, the risk of all those double DNF’s could drive Boiullier to distraction.

          THis s why they should have hired Glock in this Winter, I still think prising him out of his Virgin contract is the best option. Dump/Chuck Senna the other way.

          Only truely promising talent with the requesite experiance is Glock. Hulkenburg would be fun and a risk that might just pay off, he has been extraordinarily successfull in the lower Formula and seemed to be comming good. Heidfeld would at least be safe.

          Do wish Kimi could be bothered to get his act together though.

      2. I agree to, Heidfeld is quick and reliable. Renault wouldn’t have to worry about Kubica’s replacement as much if they had Heidfeld rather than Senna. Though I’d love to see Fisichella back.

    15. I think Heidfeld would be the best choice. But who wouldn’t like to see six world champions in F1? (Correct me if I’m wrong but I think that would be a first).

      1. thats exactly 1/4th of the grid if he comes back.

        Remembering the Schumacher years, I would never have bet this many world champs in F1 at the same time, let alone if Kimi came back.

      2. I really do fail to see why people on this site eulogise Heidfeld as if he’s one of the great lost talents of F1. He and his (lengthy) F1 career are the epitome of mediocrity.

        I really don’t get it. Could someone enlighten me please?

        1. Anatoly Nechaev
          8th February 2011, 12:55

          He has proven to be quick and capable of scoring points. In 2001 scored more points than Raikkonen. But that was first year in F1 for Kimi.

          In this conditions i think he is the best choice after Raikkonen.

            1. He beat Massa, Raikkonen, Villeneuve as team mates. Most recently he beat Kubica. Twice.

            2. He beat Kubica when Kubica was a rookie.

            3. He beat Kubica in 2009, which was his 3rd full season.

      3. Renault signed up an army of relatively unproven test and reserve drivers who could step up for 1-2 races if one of the race drivers was indisposed, but no more than that especially with Petrov in the other car. And there’s a reasonable chance Kubica will be able to return, so they aren’t looking for a long-term solution. In other words, Renault needs an experienced driver who’s competent, a known quantity and will be able to put in good (if possibly not great) performances – but whose career aspirations won’t require a long term contract.

        Raikkonen is attractive but too expensive, has fallen out with the team and it may be too complicated to extract from his rally deal. De La Rosa failed to distinguish himself at Sauber last year. Fischella and Davidson (and Brundle, Coulthard and Villeneuve) have been out of F1 for too long. Grosjean, Senna and Di Grassi are still relatively unknown quantities who may struggle to get the most out of a very promising car. Klien and Liuzzi have had a decent amount of time to establish themselves but never really managed it. Sutil and Glock are both under contract.

        Heidfeld is available, proven and still race fit. He may not set the world alight but he could be relied upon to do a solid job, which is probably the best Renault could hope for. The best alternative would be Hulkenberg, if he can be released from his Force India deal (don’t bet on it given that he’s Force India’s insurance against Di Resta having problems).

      4. Anatoly Nechaev
        8th February 2011, 12:46

        My thoughts exactly.

        I really don’t see Hulk fit for the job.
        Same experience as Petrov, Senna and Grosjean (who have KERS experience and was faster in GP2).
        Liuzzi and de la Rosa are slower than Heidfeld.

        Don’t know what to think of Fisi…

      5. i think the best choice is hulkemberg. I think kubica is not coming back to f1. Maybe to rally or something less demanding, but not to f1. So they have to search for some talent they can use in the future. And the hulk demostrated with his pole last year to have the talent.

    16. CovertGiblets
      8th February 2011, 11:29

      Surely Renault… Lotus… whatever they are called this week should choose from one of their myriad of reserve drivers? Why else hire them if you don’t believe they are up to the job? … cough…

      I personally don’t think this is a difficult question to answer. I’d go with Hulkenburg, assuming they can get an agreement with Force India.

      1. Surely Renault… Lotus… whatever they are called this week

        Renault (here’s why).

      2. Renault, Lotus is just a sponsor, just like McLaren has Vodafone as a title sponsor, and Ferrari has Marlboro. You don’t go around saying, Hamilton’s Vodafone just passed Alonso’s Marlboro, so you don’t call Lotus Renault GP, Lotus either, you call them renault. Their constructor’s entry i.a. the one who builds the chassis is Renault, the car is called the R31. SO Renault it is.

      3. This is a difficult one. My first thought went to Kimi, but I had forgotten his earlier exchange of words with Renault. I would then favour Hulkenberg, but then Renault would be left with 2 relatively inexperienced drivers (Petrov/Hulkenberg).
        Heidfeld is solid, but uninspiring. So, I have no idea!

    17. Nick Heidfeld would be my choice. He’s underrated in my opinion and people are very quick to forget he outperformed Kubica in 2009. Plus, as you’ve said, a safe pair of hands. Perhaps even one who could give Petrov a bit of advice here and there.

      1. and in 2007

    18. Come on back Kimi! Imagine a field with Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton, Schumi and Vettel! Five true talents, plus a sixth former champ in Button. Gad!

      1. Slightly harsh on Button! He is at least as good as Schumacher on current form!

        1. He would be far better this year. Believe me I feel he will be strong contender considering the tyre ware and number of pit stops

    19. the-muffin-man
      8th February 2011, 11:29

      Jacque Villeneuve!!!

    20. I would pick Heidfeld – I hadn’t even thought about Coulthard! Doubt he’d come back and risk being worse than Petrov though – that’d kill his BBC career as well as taint his F1 career!

      Heidfeld could get the drive – i’d back him to win a race!

      1. I thought of Glock. Although getting Nick Heidfeld might be easier, as he does not have a current drive.

      2. Taint his F1 career? Don’t make me laugh.

    21. It should be Bruno Senna. He’s the one with the contract that says he’ll step up if something happened to one of the race drivers. But we all know that driver contracts aren’t really worth the paper they are written on in F1.

      Many people dismiss him because of a poor season with HRT, but he had the backing of Honda once upon a time and had Honda not pulled out would have been Button’s team mate in 2009. Everyone says he was nuked by his teammates last year and that simply isn’t true, the figures were actually Bruno 7 Teammate 8 in races where they both finished, and Bruno was often ahead when he retired. That aside he is a quality driver, and he deserves a fair crack at F1. Mind you, the same can be said of Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Di Grassi.

      1. I think it would be to big a risk for Renault. They will need someone to take over the development of the car from Kubica.

        I find it unlikely, that Senna will be able to do that. I personally do think Hulk is more up to the job, but still only has a year, that is not enough. Di Grassi is said to be a very good developer, but in the races, will he be able to hold his own, I doubht it.

        I suppose getting Heidfeld might be the way. Kubica knows how he ticks, so he can discuss things with him (although I always got the impression these two did not get along very much). And he has the Pirelli testing from last year. He would be the guy to rake in the points and who knows he might even finally get his win in.
        Not a big fan myself, but if Kimi won’t do the job, then Nick might just be the best choice.

      2. Yeah, I think it should be Senna too. They promised him he’d get the drive. Why back out on that deal now?

        Well I guess I can answer that question myself. They probably had in mind only a replacement of a few races. Still.

    22. the-muffin-man
      8th February 2011, 11:32

      The problem with taking a driver from another team (like Hulkenberg) is that as soon as that drivers stint is over they go back to their existing team with full inside knowledge of how the opposition works and what they are planning.

      IMO it has to be someone without a current drive or F1 attachment.

    23. Heidfeld or Hülkenberg. Both have 2010 experience. The one is a promising talent (perhaps) the other a safe bank for finishes and points.

      And you have to be joking about David Coulthard. How about adding Stirling Moss to the list as well? :P

      1. We all forgot about getting Niki Lauda or Alain Prost. Prost surely still has some connections with the Renault management!

        And Jean Alesi is on their ambassador team, he would savour the chance!

    24. Hadn’t even thoght of Giancarlo, but i don’t think it would happen. My guess is it will be most likely in this order

      1. Nick Heidfeld
      2. Nico Hulkenburg
      3. Tonio Liuzzi

    25. If Kimi had considered driving for Renault I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in the contract negotiations… when he mentioned his hobby.

    26. Takuma Sato!

    27. I have seen Sebastien Bourdais’ name banded around a bit. He’s been out of a cockpit for 18 months and left under a bit of a cloud, but he might be a possibility out of left field.

      I think it’s more likely to be Heidfeld, or one of the Renault junior drivers however. I think Raikkonen’s chances have been vastly inflated by wishful thinking on the part of his fans.

      1. It rather reminds me of Quebecois independence in Canada. Completely impractical and wishful thinking, but it comes up again and again and everyone has learned to just ignore it!

        1. Or Scotland… (waves at passing cybernats)

      2. I think Bourdais would be the best choice if Raikkonen is not available. He is consistent in races and if the car suits him or work on some aero parts he will be fast

        1. Bourdais is consistent yes. Consistently poor …

    28. The idea of Coulthard racing for Renault sounds pretty good. But far-fetched, I believe.

      However, if Renault want a serious driver capable of winning, I guess they only have Coulthard and well, Kimi to choose from.

      The rest are bit part racers who don’t really have the best of racing know-how.

      1. Where on earth has the Coulthard rumour come from!

        1. People who want to know what it looks/sounds like when someone tries to do a lead commentary position from the cockpit of a car in the race?!?

          1. I am now officially behind this idea.

      2. I don’t agree that Coulthard would be capable of winning. I actually think Petrov would beat him (only because he’s been out for so long!)

        If he was beaten by Vitaly – it would ruin his BBC career.

        1. Coulthard hasn’t looked capable of winning a race since 2003! He’d be miles off the pace.

          1. My thoughts exactly – he has brains – I don’t think he would come back!

    29. I’m surprised you didn’t do a poll!

      It will be Senna and frankly should be, or else what’s the point?

      1. I agree – why hire 5 (FIVE??!) reserve drivers and then not use them for the exact situation they were hired for.

        But they’ll pick Heidfeld.

        1. I think saying Senna would be first choice was based on the assumption that a driver would miss one or two races. This situation is totally different – Renault need someone close to Kubica. If the Renault turns out to be awesome, having Senna and Petrov in the car would be a bit of a waste.

          They also need a decent test driver for the remaining tests – Heidfeld fits both categories the best and should be the first choice.

          1. With Renault approving Kubica’s rallying they must have had this kind of scenario in the back of their head. And if they didn’t, more fool them for not picking a “good enough” third driver or contracting a “special replacement” like Heidfeld.

      2. Exactly, what was the point signing him in the first place if they weren’t going to use him?

        1. His sponsors probably even paid for this?

    30. the-muffin-man
      8th February 2011, 11:38

      After fighting so hard to get a WRC deal this year I can’t see Kimi walking away from it just for a few F1 races (or a season).

      Where would he go after that? – not Ferrari, not McLaren, not Red Bull, not Renault (assuming Kubica was back).

    31. the-muffin-man
      8th February 2011, 11:39

      How about Dario Franchitti – it might be worth him risking a season away from Indycars?

      1. I can’t really see the reigning champion walking away from Indycars just to keep a seat warm in a car that is going to fighting for ‘best-of-the-rest’ honours at most this season. Well at least I can’t see them having overtaken Ferrari, MacLaren and Red Bull over the winter.

    32. Trulli or Gloc !

    33. left field – Daniel Riccardio?

      1. thumbs up for the mention. unfortunately its unlikely,

        1. Red Bull use Renault engines – not completely out of the question…

          Although why use someone with ZERO experience when you have Hulkenberg/Senna/Grosjean as well…

    34. I’d love to see Senna race this new Renault at Bahrein to see if really has what it takes.

      BBut I agree that – in theory – Heidfeld would be the most logical choice. Available+consistent+experience. The most complete package.

      But, one never knows in F1. Neither Glock nor Sutil would say “no” if Renault asked them and I regard both of them capable of being the lead driver for Renault. Question will then be if Renault has the necessary budget to buy them out of their contracts. Guess a lot will depend on how much confidence Renault truly has in it’s 2011 car.

      1. Agreed.

        On Senna, if he is a driver for the future, give him a test and see how he does, what level of feedback he can give on the car.

        I was thinking Glock might be making a few calls myself actually, but only if a full season appears to be a possibility.

        For me, until it is clear that Robert will miss the season (which may not be clear for a while yet as the wounds heal/hand shows progress), Senna would be a sensible choice.

    35. They should be talking to Force India. At the moment, Nico seems the best choice to me. I think they would now regret not signing someone like Adrian sutil. Or, is it possible that they could still grab him?

    36. Once again, Hulkenberg’s decision to sign a contract as Force India’s third driver looks foolish.

      1. the-muffin-man
        8th February 2011, 11:45

        Why – do you possess a crystal ball?

        I think his options where sign for Force India or no-one!

      2. the-muffin-man
        8th February 2011, 11:47

        And as much as I like to see De Resta perform well in F1 his race pace still has to be proven. And if he were to prove lacking then Hulk is waiting in the wings.

      3. I don’t think this situation makes him look foolish to be honest. Correct me if I’m wrong but 3rd drivers usually are allowed to get out of their current contracts if a race seat becomes available so FI is like a nice safety net.

        1. Exactly, and he is probably the first or second in file to jump in at Mercedes GP if/when Schumi calls it quits.

          Weber will have to think about weather that staying there would be a better option than having a 1 year stint it Renault (hoping Kubica will return with them).

    37. As much as I like Kimi, the mere fact that he appeared to have a chance at the McLaren drive, the merc drive and the Renault drive recently, but chose not to take it speaks volumes for me.

      Had he really been interested in carrying on in F1 he would have done so. As it was, it struck me he was more inclined to take the money (which he was perfectly entitled to do of course – not criticising him for that).

      I would like to see Bruno given a chance. I’m not sure I see why the Hulk would be much more qualified than hm to take the race seat. I rate him very highly (and he thoroughly deserves an F1 drive), but I dont see that he has that much more F1 experience than Senna.

      As for Nick, I think he’s had his chance.

      As an outsider vote, as we seem to be going ridiculous today on the comments ;-), I’d go for Juan Pablo. :-)

    38. If Senna gets the gig, has anyone thought about seeing that helmet design in a black car again?

      1. I’ve done more than think about it….

        1. And Group Lotus would love the publicity!

    39. Christian Briddon
      8th February 2011, 11:52

      I’ve been doing very well in F1 2010 on my PC and I think I am ready. I’m waiting for the call. :-)

      Seriously though, I’d like to see what Senna can do in a better car.

      1. If you have the money, give Mr Kolles a call.

    40. how about red bull lending daniel ricardo? that way they help out their engine supplier and give their young gun some experience before he takes a toro rosso seat. but it should be senna, i really want to see what he can do – if he doesn’t perform well atleast he had a chance. if i was senna i’d be finding some more sponsorship money to offer – let the money race begin!!

    41. Piquet..? no..? :p

    42. check this out,Hamilton’s sources say Renault in contact with Kimi

    43. if senna gets the drive that will be the end of his F1 career. he will no longer be able to point to a bad car like last year as the reaon for his lack of speed.

      if you like senna and want to see more of him (not sure why) then you should pray he does not drive the renault this year. its a question if you get what you wish for.

      1. So…. the best thing a driver has to do, in order to have a successful career, is to not drive…

        I understand that you have more than enough reasons not to like Senna, but I’m getting rather confused here!!!

    44. Wait, where is the Luca Badoer option? He even got free from Ferrari this year so his available.

      Personally though, i have a feeling that this Coulthard’s year.

        1. Maybe Prost can make another comeback though, to avenge himself for not making the champion of champions final on f1fanatic!

    45. I want Senna to get the seat, for one he was signed just for this purpose, what the hell is the point of having a reserve driver then as soon as you need him sign someone else? and two, I am a fan of his and have been waiting for this opportunity since the Honda test, since the HRT doesnt really count as an F1 car.

    46. Id have to go for Heidfeld being best choice, sure he might not have won a race but the cars he’s been in haven’t been the best. Sure Kubica won in Montreal in 08 but you have to say that more was more of a case of him being gifted that one after the pit lane incident, not to take away from Kubica’s ability he drove a fine race. I cant see them wanting to promote either of the 2 backup men they have in the wings. That said Senna was never going to shine in the HRT and and Grosjean had some decent races last year in the Ford GT

    47. i think the only logical option would be Nelson Piquet Jnr.

    48. They will pick: Kubica.

    49. Kimi would say no, Nick would be a good shout however I would either like to see Senna, as he is the third driver or Nico Hulkenberg, as he deserves more then just a testing role.

      Being British, I would like Anthony to get the role but he has not raced in several years now and does not have the quality unfortunatly to back it up. I fear his time is up in F1.

    50. flavio britore visited Kubica in hospital yesterday. flavio was asked if his 1 year old son is still such a fat bugger. Robert’s fine.

      1. All though he isn’t at death’s door – he is far from “fine”!

        I think it’s a bit insensitive to put that up in bold – seems slightly sarcastic…

      2. I guess we’ll see Kubica testing in Jerez then.

        1. think, @kfpog just wanted to underline that Kubica is alive and he is still Renaults No1 driver and he will recover. Mentally he’s fine. He makes a jokes etc. Fingers crossed.

          1. and this is his seat. no-one’s else.

    51. the-muffin-man
      8th February 2011, 12:23

      We all hope he’ll be back very soon but if you think he’ll be back for the start of the season then you’re living in some sort of fantasy world!!

    52. As much as Senna should get the chance, it would be a waste of this years Renault in the hands of Petrov and Senna. Kimi won’t come back and Liuzzi just won’t be good enough. For me Hulkenberg might be just too inexperienced and didn’t exactly blow me away last season. That just leaves Heidfeld who might not be great in the long term but would be perfect for this situation.

    53. I would go for Kimi.

      But I think their main sponsor will put some pressure on them to give their official 3rd driver the seat.

      And what would Bernie support? Senna in Lotus Renault or 6 champions? I guess you can judge for yourself by looking at the Campion of Champions votes…

      1. Kimi is definitely out of the game.

        1. That’s what I think as well.

          Not what I hope, though…

    54. I think renault NEED Hulkenburg. The rest of the list (apart from Senna) Are old, safe hands. Not what renault need. They need results, and Hulkenburg is a definate talent. He has a clause in is contract to get him out of any commmitment with Force India.

      With the car they seem to have this year, playing it safe will just be a waste. They need to take the risk with Hulkenburg. He would also be a great long term option is Kubica is permanantly out of the sport, none of the other options would suit that IMO.

      1. They don’t need Hulkenberg. Hulkenberg didn’t do anything to justify staying in 2011. Everyone looks at his pole in Brazil and holds it up as a monumental triumph, but they comapltely miss a season of scrappy over-driving.

        1. All the rookies were scrappy though and I think it’s mostly the lack of testing. The fact he was usually bang on Barrichello’s pace was very impressive and that pole was a brilliant showing by him.

    55. Keep it in-house; Senna or Grosjean. There’s no point wasting time with an ego like Raikkonen or a bland driver like Heidfeld.

      1. Indeed, who really cares about good race results anyway …

    56. If Renault has the car to win there can be just one name out there able to win the championship:

      1. Raikkonen has no experience in fuel-heavy cars. As we saw from Nick Heidfeld, experience with it goes a long way. Raikkonen has shown a total lack of enthusiasm for racing ever since the Ferrari F60 went off with all the flair of a wet firework.

        1. A lot of rumours about kimi though to replace kubica.

          Hearing from “respectable sources” that other rally mates of kimi’s are saying he has been approached already by them.

          1. He’s already committed to the WRC. And if your “reliable sources” include Motorsport.com, bear in mind that they tried to pass our very own Jezson’s light blue Red Bull Cola livery for the Toro Rosso off as an official livery for the 2010 season.

            1. “respectable sources” ,the inverted comma’s there are meant for irony purposes PM, I’m not saying I believe the sources 100%

        2. I have to admit that you are right regarding that kimi has’nt got experience with fuel heavy cars and that the last seasons with Ferrari has’nt shown any enthusiasm, anyway I think that he is simply faster than the other guys mentioned before and available at the moment.
          If Renault new contender has potential then they should call Kimi…

      2. That’s a mighty big IF at this stage of the game though – there is nothing to suggest that the Renault will be any more than 4th faster car this year so far…

        1. an enormous one… but at the moment who knows where the front exhaust puts them.
          Maybe they are able to repeat the same story of the BrawnGP double diffuser (1%) or maybe not (99%)…

    57. My money would be on Senna though Heidfeld or Hulkenberg would be good signings.

    58. Kimi, Nick, Bruno

    59. Badoer ;)

    60. I don’t believe Kimi would want to come back for any financial motivation, The Hulk was heavily uninspiring all last season apart from the last quali session in Brazil and nobody really knows how any of Renault’s reserve drivers would perform.
      Heidfeld and PDR seem attractive due to their extensive Pirelli testing, but I’d take Nick on race experience and ability. Plus he has dancing skillz.

    61. Timo Glock.

    62. I think that going for Heidfeld is a no brainer. Ideally, a team should have an experienced driver to help develop the car during the season; Heidfeld has that and comes with knowledge of the current regulations and the Pirelli tires (which Raikkonen does not). Plus I do not see Kimi being bothered to come back for a one-year stint to drive a potentially good but still unproven car. So be it.

      Even if Hulkenberg is rated highly, leaving the season to two inexperienced drivers is too much of a gamble. Heidfeld might not set the world on fire, but he can be counted on to deliver consistent point finishes.

      I’ll put my money on Heidfeld.

    63. I see Joe Saward is already blowing the Liuzzi trumpet.

      1. But he really tried to show other options as well :-(

      2. Yeah, I had the audacity to go against his opinon. I reacted that Liuzzi got ditched by two teams already and my post was removed because it was “too rude”. There really wasn’t anything rude in it.

        He really should stick to writing about how he travels from place to place and promoting his next “meet Joe” event.

    64. Win/win: make peace with Team Lotus and let them be. Get Trulli or Kova, and give them Senna as replacement for either.

    65. Keith, please set up a poll of who the readers WANT to see as the replacement driver.

    66. mika's toolbox
      8th February 2011, 13:09

      Hey, one name I haven’t heard: Loeb. Leaving aside the irony of replacing Robert with a rally great, it would be amazing to see Sebastien have a crack at F1 for a couple of years. This is the perfect opportunity to see if he’s up to it, in a half-decent car. And he’s French, of course! He was prepared to have a go a few years ago, so the only barrier is the Super License…

      1. Yes, or maybe Valentino Rossi can jump in, he always wanted a try, didn’t he? Not very realistic to see either, I think.

    67. Two words: Nick Heidfeld.

    68. Me and my housemate were discussing this last night and Nick Heidfield seemed the most realistic option if they don’t go with Senna. Personally, I would prefer Senna, give the kid a chance, I wouldn’t say his HRT performance was indicative of any driver skill.

      Realistically I can see the drive going elsewhere.

      I don’t see why people are throwing Raikkonen’s name around. The WRC fires up this weekend and he seems comfortable there. That’s not even including how much Renault wound him up last year!

    69. montoya if he would want to come back to such a low powered f1 cars.

      1. He wouldn’t be able to get in that car before losing about 30 kg and 20 cm in waist line, thats a big ask to do in only 2 days!

    70. Jacques Villeneuve =))

    71. heart says lets see if Sennas any good but if i was Renault id pick Hulkenburg.

      i think its way to early for anyone to postulate on Kubicas career and anything more than, lets see, is tabloid quidnunc-ery!

    72. Yeah, bring back Nigel the Lionheart!! It would be brilliant if he turned up and made all the kids look a bit wet behind the ears.

      I doubt he could sustain a strong campaign but I bet he’d be mega for a couple of races before age prevailed and he got too tired!!

    73. Oh come on, it has got to be Kimi. The iceman in a black car is the scariest thing ever in the best possible way.

      Besides six world champions in five different cars in 2011 would nothing short of epic.

      1. With the exhaust coming out around the sidepods, maybe he would melt!

      2. Though they’d need to get rid of that pansy “gold” color (it’s copper really)

    74. For half a season the best choice is De la Rosa, who will develop the car for when robert comes back.

      For 3 straight seasons I’d choose Hulk. The most talented in my opinion, but needs at least another year to mature.

      Heifeld is the safe choice, but I expect nothing exciting from him. Too sad.

    75. Tough one but I think it should be someone whom the team can depend will fight if the car is good for it.I would love to have Kimi but I think Hülkenberg is the prime candidate & Force India have to release him for the interest of F1.

    76. Although everyone hopes Kubica has a quick recovery I think Renault should plan as if it will take a year as his doctors are currently saying. With that in mind I think Renault will try to get someone experienced to fill the seat.

      If Kubica was only going to miss a few races or if Petrov in the other car had more experience and could lead the team, I feel Renault would have gone with Senna as Boullier seemed to suggest early on.

      If Renault do decide to go for experience, I doubt Raikkonen will come back to F1, so the most likely candidate is probably Heidfeld.

    77. Heidfeld would be the most logical pick. Bags of experience, good at testing and developing, extremely reliable, almost sure to bring points home.

    78. HounslowBusGarage
      8th February 2011, 13:41

      Supposing the team *didn’t* pick Senna. What kind of message would that deliver? What would his next move be?
      Plus of course, we do not know how long this ‘replacement driver’ is going to be needed for. Could be just a couple of months, could be half a season. No established driver with a seat or contract somewhere else is going to ditch that for an uncertain tenure at Renault.

      1. I would view that message as a rational decision by a mature team who knows better not to put two rather inexperienced drivers who both have yet to prove themselves in a car that cost hundreds of millions to develop.

        Maybe Petrov will improve, maybe Senna will shine in the new Renault. But their image would be hurt more if they go for the ‘nice’ instead of the reasonable. They’re a multi billion euro car company, not a charity. ;)

    79. here are my short term and long term ideas

      Short:R.Grosjean, B.Senna, L.Di Grassi, Christian Klien.

      Long:N.Hiedfeld, R.Schumacher, O.Panis, G,Fisichella.

    80. What about Luca Badoer?

      1. Yes we all have forgot about him,how could we??

    81. i would love to see Chandok get a test – it would be good to see him in the cockpit of a real car. but i think Heidfeld is the most logical pic *if they don’t want to use one of their chosen ‘thirds’*

    82. Straight from Eric Boullier’s mouth: Senna, Heidfeld and Liuzzi are the only drivers under consideration.

      1. Can only really see it being Heidfeld. If they expect this car to be good (I mean anticipating wins) it would be far too risky giving it to Senna with Petrov as ‘leader’.
        Since they haven’t already jumped to announce Bruno as replacement despite him being their official third driver, I don’t see there as being too much hope for him this season.
        Not sure why Renault would even consider Liuzzi.

      2. If (that is a big If there) Saward is right about Liuzzi being good at development I would consider him. Heidfeld is more likely.

        Maybe get Senna, Heidfeld and Liuzzi in the car in Jerez the coming days (after discounting Kimi making a hop in) to see how they gel with the team and then decide?

        1. Yeah Liuzzi developed the car a lot in 2010. They went from a concistent point scorer to a Q1 dropout.

          Sutil went from Battling Kubica to struggling to stay ahead of even a Sauber.

      3. Actually no they’re not the only ones under consideration. Those names were suggested by the Italian reporter and Boullier agreed but added “there are some others as well”

        1. Thanks for clearing that. Nothing like the real source to save us from requoting nonsense.

    83. Sutil, Massa and Webber worth a phone call?

    84. Renault seem to have turned up with quite a good car this year, so they need a top driver to make the most of it.

      Kimi seems to have had enough of F1, Nick and Pedro are just not quick enough, and the Renault reserves don’t have the experience, or at least recent experience in my opinion. Schumi took about a year to get to grips with the new cars, so I would think that Coulthard would struggel if they grabbed him.

      If I were the boss of Renault right now, I would be talking to either Glock, or… Kovalinen. Here are 2 decent drivers who have experience with good cars, and who would quite probably relish the chance to get out of the back markers and into a front runner. Kovalinen has a win to his name from 2008 as well so has proved he has the pace when the car is right.

    85. I’d like to see Kimi again. It’s different without him.. An unexpected Montoya comeback would be a killer too.. But that all seems impossible!

    86. This one for me is simple. Senna.

    87. Brunno Senna is gonna get it and dominate the first race. then renault is gonna keep him as the driver. Petrov move over lol.

    88. I must admit Heidfeld came to mind instantly, he has always been quick and is very capable of knocking up points. When he was at BMW i was always comparing him to Kubica, i generally couldnt seperate them in terms of who i thought was the better driver. The only advantage RK had over NH was in qualifying, i think Heidfeld took a while at times to warm up over the race weekend. Kimi would be a great bet but im not sure how realistic this idea is, he is definataly capable of victories given the right car. If Renault go with any of their current drivers under contract i think they can pretty much right off the year in terms of hunting for overall success.

      1. I’m pretty much of the same mind.
        I think Renault have to get a driver of known quality, who can assist in developing the car. And the only one without a full time seat and with a past performance similar to Robert Kubica is his old team mate Nick Heidfeld.

    89. I would let Senna and Hülkenberg test and pick the one that seemed most promising. If Renault is thinking about Liuzzi, well Hülkenberg is also under Force India contract and has outperformed Petrov i open-wheels before, and has some experience from 2010 – I´d choose Hülk befor Liuzzi.

    90. What about Kobayashi?

    91. Vitantonio Liuzzi

      Fingers crossed :P

      1. That he doesn’t get the drive?

        1. No no no no, that the gets it!

          1. You hate the team that much, or are you a genuine fan?

    92. The time Kubica’s gunna be out is shoteneing each day meaning a most liekly short term replacment. This will be Senna hopefully. Would be good to see him against Petrov. Equalish Competition :)

      1. I SO hope you’re right, but it’s still looking like half of the season at least.

      2. I must say I am rather sceptical of Kubica returning quite so soon.

    93. If Senna tests well, I think he will get it. He will bring sponsorship, he is already on the team, and even though he is from Brazil, the French do love him.

    94. The Hulk should drive for them.

    95. I’m in the Give Bruno a shot crowd, Petrov Vs Senna will be awesome!

    96. Considering the options given here, here’s what I think :

      K.Raikonnen : it would be a dream for his fans, but I really doubt he woud like to come back to F1. He has said so many imes he doesn’t want to come back that if he does he will lose some credibility. And he has a reputation of beeing a greedy driver in terms of money. I’m not sure Lotus will have the big bucks that Ferrari were giving to him.

      Liuzzi and De La Rosa, on the contrary, would be very glad to be racing again, but I doubt they will show good results regularly (even if they have showed very good driving on some races in their career). So I would think it would be a mistake to take them.

      Hulkenberg and Senna have shown in GP2 (and other series) that they are very talented, but have yet to prove their talent in F1 (or confirm it). Giving them a potential race winning car would be the perfect way to do it. But for these two drivers, giving a seat would be a risk, because we’re never sure they are going to perform well, and the team won’t be able to do a lot a changes during the season… Hulkenberg has another difficulty, because he is a test driver for Force India, but as we saw for Fisichella in 2009, it won’t be so difficult to transfer him to Lotus. Senna, on the other hand has been promised the status of 1st replacement driver, so he might get disapointed of the team.

      Heidfeld could be a very good choice, because he is a regular driver, and he will be able to bring points quite often. Having been tipped for a DTM drive for 2012, replacing Kubica this year would suit him perfectly. And his experience would help Petrov to progress I think. But we don’t know if he’ll be able to perform perfectly during the season.

      Grosjean is another driver who performed quite well in GP2, but has yet to prove himslef in F1. I think promoting him in F1 will be too much of a risk because of his lack of experience. The risk will be him to have a season like Petrov had last year. The best thing for him would be to win the GP2 championship this year, and drive a F1 in practice as much as possible.

      In the end, I see only 3 serious candidates : Heidfeld, Hulkenberg, and Senna. Heidfeld would be a wise choice, the team will be certain to bring points often. Senna or Hulkenberg would be a more risky choice : the two drivers have to potential to drive brillant races, but I’m not sure they will be as regular as Heidfled…

      My personal choice would be Bruno Senna, because I thin he has much to prove, and has had a real chance to do so up to this day…

    97. I can understand his fans keen for him to come back, but I believe Räikkönen is completely done with F1. He really didn’t like it at all, I believe. Far too corporate for him and too many rules. Personally, I never like Kimi and was glad to see the back of him.

      Renault were really keen to get a French driver, so it’s a shame for Grosjean that he doesn’t have the experience to fill in for a season. It’s also a shame for Bruno Senna if they don’t chose him; it must be heartbreaking to be a reserve driver and no get the drive. However, I understand that in this particular situation, it’s experience that’s needed to develop the car.

      I don’t like Heidfeld as a driver but I think he’s the best choice for Renault. He’ll provide good feedback and probably consistently score some points. He won’t be exciting, but he’ll get the job done. He’s got the experience but he’s no Kubica.

      The only other choice I would have considered was Pedro de la Rosa. He’s not going to do great in races but he’s got all that McLaren knowledge to pass over to Renault and the Sauber knowledge they already got from Kubica, so, in this sense, Heidfeld is a bit of a waste.

      Considering Liuzzi is bizzare, in my opinion. He must be on the list to get Heidfeld to accept less money. If it’s about developing the car and ignoring racing skills, like I said above, they should consider de la Rosa.

      After seeing that latest picture today of the crash, I am only happy that Robert is still alive. How incredibly lucky he and his co-driver were. From here on, all other forms of recovery and bonuses. He’s one of my favourite drivers and I hope he comes back to F1. But just having him alive is good enough for me.

      Peace, everyone.

      1. Sorry about alla typo but Iya wanna sounda Italiano today, capisci!


    98. MagillaGorilla
      8th February 2011, 16:54

      You mean the same anthony davidson that drove around a GT car entering a high speed corner only to cut it off and wreck it while that car was running first, ruining that GTs chances of a Le Mans victory last year. From that performance and his talks post-race I don’t really respect or see him as a good fit. He wasn’t that great in F1 and I can see why he says to him that it is a “closed book”.

    99. I hate this topic but I think Anthony Davidson would be their best choice. He has massive experience in testing and driving and he would probably accept such an offer. Although he says no to F1, its not the same as Kimi’s no. As in, “no to any low teams, but if they offer me a good seat…” But if davidson isn’t even considered then Heidfeld all the way.

    100. Just now was reading that Kubica faces further surgery later in the week on his shoulder, elbow and leg. Doesn’t sound to me, realistically, that he’s going to be back anytime soon. Read that as not until 2012, so Eric B. had best be making some long-term decisions.

      Heidfeld would probably place well in most of the races, and might be good as a steadying influence on Petrov. Renault could hope for some wins/podiums, but mainly take 2011 as a developement year and then kick butt with Kubica when he comes back in 2012.

      And if Slick Nick turns out to be Stick Nick, Senna can always replace him. And what happens if Kubica is unable to race again. Bad thought, I know, but one must consider the possibility. I think the decisions Eric will be making in the next couple weeks must be planned out for more than the short-term.

    101. The best choice for Renault, from my point of view, it would be Nico Hülkenberg.
      I think he is the most competitive of all.
      Contract with Force India?. The contracts are to be broken.
      Greetings from Spain.

    102. There are winners and also rans.
      The guys with the talent shine through whatever team they race for. If they have the talent they will be snapped up by the big budget teams.
      If Renault are serious contenders this year they have to pick a winner .
      It has to be Kimi

    103. Nick….no contest.

    104. Renault have said this afternoon it’s between Senna, Liuzzi, or Heidfeld. Apparently they have been in contact with all three about the job.

    105. 1992 Peugeot Talbot Sport (@peugeot-905-92-93-le-mans-winner)
      8th February 2011, 17:44

      where is Ho Pin Tung??

    106. I can’t see anyone other than Senna or Grosjean purely because they will not know when Kubica is coming back so it keeps all existing contracts in place and leaves the way open for a return.

      Outside bet would be Nick Heidfeld just to get the car to the end of each race.

    107. If they pick any of the above three they have confirmed they have not got a compedative car.
      Rob is special like all other F1′ s top drivers. He got results from a average car.
      If Renault pick any of the above drivers they will have a average season with their average car

    108. Between Heidfeld, Senna and Liuzzi I think Nick is by far the best choice. Senna didn’t prove anything last year with Hispania ( he was beaten or at most equal with Klien, and that after he had driven all season and Klien had a break of several years).
      Liuzzi made some decent drives in his career, but most of the time he was below average.
      Heidfeld missed his big chance in F1( the seats at McLaren and Mercedes) but he always was a solid contender. As many already said, he will bring points, and since in the other car you have Petrov( not a great driver and inexperienced too) you need someone who will bring some points. Kubica’s injury may be career-ending (let’s hope not) but still is serious enough for him to miss this whole year certainly. ANd I may add that, in my opinion, Heidfeld more than matched Kubica during their time together at BMW. And he was never beaten by his teammate in F1 ( I admit Kimi was a rookie, but he beat Webber at Williams and tied with Kubica at BMW – Kubica won 1 year, Heidfeld 2). As a worry I think it should be the fact that he didn’t race last year, he had just those few races at the end of the season, and he isn’t as young as he once was :(

    109. Ralf Schumacher would be the best.He is younger than Michael and has all the experience.

    110. Heidfeld. With a greenhorn in the other car, you need a guy who knows what all the different parts do. And save Raikkonen, he is the most skilled man on the list. As Cristian points out, a fact much ignored, is that Heidfeld was competitive with Kubica at BMW.

      The other consideration is that Boulier must consider a possible permanent replacement if Kubica does not come back. This replacement must have some hunger to get back in the sport and have something to prove. I think Heidfeld has both.

    111. Heidfeld or Hulkenberg for me. If I were to pick out of the two, Nick would be better working with Petrov (Mainly because of 2009 GP2).

    112. Bruno Senna should be given the chance. Also would like to see Hukenburg given the opportunity but he is already signed by Force India and there would be contract related problems and possible delays so Bruno is an easy choice and gets my vote.


    113. Sutil or Heidfeld. If it was Sutil, Hulkenberg would then take the FI seat, which would be good. I am of the opinion that Sutil and Heidfeld are both about as good as Kubica, and could bring home the same results. I am not convinced by Senna at all, as he was rarely more than a tenth or so faster than Yamamoto last season and was destroyed by Klien. Grosjean seems committed to GP2, and probably isn’t any better than Senna. Coulthard…..is that suggestion supposed to be some kind of joke?

      1. I’m sorry, but I’ve never for a second been impressed by Sutil. Of course he’s decent, but.. meh.

    114. Nick or Nico

    115. Kubica might be all pep and vinegar about getting back behind the wheel now but who knows how he will feel once he’s there, after maybe a year of painfull rehab?

      I’m a huge fan and hope it isn’t the case but couldn’t blame him if doesn’t return.

    116. Renault say it’ll be either Senna, Luizzi or Heidfeld..


      Can’t help thinking Heidfeld is the better option all in.

    117. Simply, 4 words: “Bring Back Jacques Villeneuve!” and “time for payback!”

      1. That’s… Simply eight words? Not actually that simple, as you’ve split them in to two sections…

        I know I’m being pedantic… But you’ve flared up my OCD condition ;)

    118. jose arellano
      8th February 2011, 23:02

      kovalainen its a good pick. and senna could replace him at lotus

      1. Because Lotus Renault and Team Lotus have a great working relationship?

        I see your point, and it’s a good idea, but its not going to happen I am afraid.

    119. For once I’d like a promise to be delivered in f1, so sick of all the two-face politics in this sport. Let senna have his go, if he fails then start looking, but the idea of getting an outside driver would be messing with senna’s head!

    120. Folks, read Peter Sauber comments -at the end of last season- about Heidfeld vs. de la Rosa…
      Nobody knows their side-to-side performance as good as him. Some of you will be surprised!

    121. Liuzzi – a decent and experienced driver, but he doesn’t seem to have the “it” factor required to be a great one. While it’s possible that he could surprise us if on board a top shelf machine, I kind of doubt that he would.

      Senna – has some skills, and a promotional bonus owing to his famous name, but probably not ready to lead a front running team. If he were to get the nod, I’d love to see him prove me wrong!

      Hulkenberg – this guy intrigues me, and I feel that he could be a star if given the chance. But he also is a relative newbie, and perhaps not quite ready for the starring role. I’d actually like to see him get the seat. He may have contractual issues, though.

      Raikkonen – probably one of the all time great natural talents, but I’ve never viewed him as a developmental asset, or much of a team player. That said, if Renault’s car turns out to be a good one, and if Kimi was to be their lead driver this year, it could be very interesting!

      Coulthard – not likely!

      Heidfeld – if I were a betting man, I’d be putting my money on him to get this seat for 2011. Solid and safe, with tons of race and developmental experience. Not much flash or star quality here, but a good bet for a nice haul of points on most race weekends.

    122. first choice -kimi , 2nd – heidfeld , 3rd – fisichella, and if i had it my way – mika hakkinen

    123. Khizer Ahmaed
      9th February 2011, 9:04

      kubica out for 1 year
      thats no good

      i think senna / liuzzi / heidfeld

    124. If anyone is interested )
      It is a vote from Russian site.
      Who have to get R30 ?)

      Senna 39 (6.1%)

      Roman 12 (1.9%)

      kimi 269 (41.8%)

      Heidfild 214 (33.2%)

      Hulkenberg 41 (6.4%)

      De la Rosa 7 (1.1%)

      Giancarlo Fisichella 23 (3.6%)

      Liuzzi 17 (2.6%)

      Christian Klienт 11 (1.7%)

      Sone one else 11 (1.7%)
      Total 644

    125. Senna should get the drive. Already under contract with Renault, not only would he be the cheap option, he is also the most deserving. Should’ve got the nod over Barrichello at Brawn in 2009, was given a terrible car by Hispania in 2010, now he should be given the chance to show what he can really do in an F1 car. For me, the only alternative would be Hulkenberg, but he is tied down at Force India, so would be an expensive solution.

    126. Jean Alesi would be a good move?

    127. Heidfeld is scheduled to drive in Jerez. He will share last two days with Senna.

      1. It would be the second time after the Brawn thing that Senna loses a seat in test-phase if he doesn’t get the job.

        If I remember correctly Heidfeld won his Williams drive by proving himself in testing. He was up against Pizzonia then I think.

    128. it’s a no brainer:

      Kimi Räikkönen

      Kimi Räikkönen

      Kimi Räikkönen

      Kimi Räikkönen

    Comments are closed.