F1 driver market 2021: Three in, three out?

2021 F1 season

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We already know the identity of one new driver on the grid next year – and he may be joined by at least two more. But who will have to step aside to make way for the new names?

At one stage this year it looked as though Lewis Hamilton might be left as the only world champion on the grid in 2021. Kimi Raikkonen remains yet to confirm his plans for next year, and in May Ferrari announced it was showing Sebastian Vettel the door.

But since then Renault has confirmed Fernando Alonso will return with their team next year (now to be renamed Alpine). And Vettel has found a new home at Racing Point (which is also being renamed, to Aston Martin).

Hamilton has not officially announced his plans for next year, but barring some unforeseen drama, at least one more year at Mercedes is widely expected. Not least by his leading rivals, who have already made their 2021 arrangements accordingly.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren SP, Indianapolis 2020
Alonso will return to F1 with Alpine in 2021
Alonso’s return is part of a domino sequence which includes Daniel Ricciardo moving to McLaren, Carlos Sainz Jnr to Ferrari and Vettel to Aston Martin. It leaves Sergio Perez out in the cold, looking for a way to stay in the sport.

His likeliest destinations are the two Ferrari customer teams: Alfa Romeo (who he made his F1 debut for, when it was Sauber, in 2011) and Haas. Besides being a capable driver with a reputation for consistent points-scoring, Perez has the added appeal of a portfolio of sponsors which would be attractive to either team.

On the strength of this year, neither are likely to be at anything like the level of the team Perez has been forced out of. But they may offer his only chance to remain in F1 long enough for the new technical regulations to arrive in 2022, which many hope will help create a more level playing field.

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Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
Albon scored a timely podium finish at Mugello
There is the outside possibility of a move to a front-running team, as covered here previously. Perez is known to have spoken to Red Bull about the chance of joining the team alongside Max Verstappen next year.

Historically, Red Bull have always preferred to ‘keep it in the family’. Their junior programme has brought a succession of drivers into F1. Pierre Gasly’s demotion from the top team last year looks hasty in the light of his victory at Monza earlier this month, but the team give every outward indication of sticking by his replacement Alexander Albon. His breakthrough podium finish at Mugello last week could not have been more timely.

Red Bull’s priority may be to bring in the latest in their line of junior talents. AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost recently spoke glowingly of Formula 2 talent Yuki Tsunoda, who will test for the team at the end of the year.

Before the season began Red Bull’s motorsport consultant Helmut Marko targeted a top-four place in F2 for Tsunoda on his debut in the category. He was holding fourth place until his point-less weekend at Mugello, where a debatable five-second time penalty in the feature race meant he started the sprint race from 16th on the grid instead of pole position. Nonetheless he lies sixth in the standings, just 38 points off the lead with three double-headers remaining.

Tsunoda has already won twice in his rookie F2 campaign
It’s hard to imagine an F1 debut for Tsunoda coming at the expense of anyone other than Daniil Kvyat. The 26-year-old has now made over 100 starts, the vast majority of them in Red Bull’s junior squad, and has usually been shaded by his team mates since his demotion from Red Bull in early 2016.

Similarly, Perez’s hopes of landing a place at Alfa Romeo could be complicated by the likely arrival of another junior driver: Mick Schumacher. The son of seven-times champion Michael Schumacher is believed to have a deal in place which assures his promotion if he finished in the top three in Formula 2. He’s currently leading the championship, which would make the Ferrari Driver Academy member a strong candidate whatever the circumstances, even before considering the appeal of that surname.

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A promotion for Schumacher would be bad news for Antonio Giovinazzi, whose FDA-linked seat at Alfa Romeo would surely go to the 21-year-old. The identity of his team mate would be strongly influenced by whether Kimi Raikkonen wishes to extend an F1 career which will equal the longest in the sport’s history this weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Monza, 2020
Does Raikkonen fancy a 19th season in F1?
Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur said at Mugello their future plans will be influenced by what Raikkonen decides to do. “If we are all interested to collaborate and the collaboration is good, it will make sense to continue.” Raikkonen is still driving well and enjoys the benefits of being located near the team’s base, making his decision largely a question of whether he gets enough satisfaction from racing for the lower points places.

If Perez can’t find a seat there his last chance will be Haas. They have run the same driver pairing since 2017, and team principal Guenther Steiner recently said the current line-up of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen remain under consideration for next year on a shortlist of almost 10 drivers.

However Steiner recently indicated the team is also considering promoting a junior driver to its line-up. “There is a lot of people out there, we just need to make the choice,” he said. “For sure there are young drivers on it.”

Haas has plenty of names to choose from. As well as having its own test drivers Louis Deletraz and Piero Fittipaldi, power unit supplier Ferrari’s Driver Academy includes Callum Ilott and Robert Shwartzman who are in the thick of the F2 title fight.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020
Perez may have to accept an uncompetitive F1 seat
The unfortunately reality for Perez is that having lost his place at Racing Point he likely faces a choice between labouring at the back of the F1 grid for at least a year, or not being on it at all.

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown has hinted an IndyCar deal may be possible. This could be an appealing move for Perez.

McLaren SP have been on the cusp of scoring a breakthrough IndyCar win for several races, while Perez is coming up on the 10th anniversary of his last race win, and no doubt craving a return to the top step of the podium. IndyCar would offer him the chance to do that, while also being closer to his family in Mexico. Will that appeal to him more than being lapped by an Aston Martin in F1 next year?

View the current list of 2021 F1 drivers and teams

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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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...

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76 comments on “F1 driver market 2021: Three in, three out?”

  1. Alonso > Grosjean
    Schumacher > Giovinazzi
    Tsunoda > Kvyat

    I’d quite like to see Callum Ilott over Magnussen at Haas, too. And this would mean Perez goes to Haas, and Kimi remains for yet another season of backmarker racing with Alfa.

    1. Alonso to Alpine for Daniel

      1. I think he just meant Alonso is replacing Grosjean in F1 rather than at a specific team.
        Alonso > Grosjean is essentially a shortened version of Alonso>Ricciardo>Sainz>Vettel>Perez>Grosjean

    2. Pretty much my thoughts too

    3. @chrischrill I’m not so certain Mick is better than Giovinazzi yet. Mick hasn’t really had any proper practice in a modern F1 car, and Giovinazzi was arguably more impressive in GP2/F2 than Mick has been. However, some drivers do make the transition to F1 better than others, and Giovinazzi has clearly been struggling in F1.

      1. Well, Schumacher has his name (plus he IS leading the F2 championship). It’s not just about talent though. He’ll sell merchandise, generate attention, bring sponsors. Schumacher will definitely race in F1 next season.

        1. He’s not leading because of speed. In the juniors you need speed. Consistency naturally comes later, speed never will.

          1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
            22nd September 2020, 1:37

            That’s been part of my observations of Schumi Jr. He doesn’t seem to show the “out and out” speed some GP2/F2/F2 champions have shown, but consistency and progression has been there. Or is it he just takes a while to learn the machine? He went from 12th to 1st in consecutive F3 seasons, same in F2.

            But then again, not all lower formulae champions have been successful in F1, some don’t even make it. Mick has enough speed, success and he’s a Schumacher.

          2. That’s a very interesting comment, OmegaWave. I would agree with you. He does do some amazing starts, though.

  2. The last paragraph mentions just what I thought. Indycar for Perez. It’s a risk, but if he did well there, then the call to get him back to F1 would only get louder, and into a good seat.

    Going round and round at the back of the F1 pack for a year is possibly a riskier move for Perez. No chance to shine, you get forgotten compared to bright shiny new talent, and there’s a risk of hot headed frustration resulting in a wrong move (on or off the track!)

    1. He has discussed his desire to run the Indy 500 also. IndyCar would be a good move for him. Four laps of qualifying there on the absolute edge will be the most intense experience of his life.

    2. @gabf1 Unfortunately, once you are out of F1, it’s very difficult to come back especially if you are not a world champion. Hulkenberg was out of F1, and even did an impressive job whilst racing in F1, and yet he doesn’t seem to be strongly linked with any drives in F1. JEV is also someone who did well enough in F1 to merit a place, yet he never got a look-in once he left (although I suspect he likes being in FE).

      1. @mashiat JEV implied once that he’d consider return only if it was for a top-team. Nevertheless, difficult to come back for a driver that hasn’t won a race or a championship, although neither has Kvyat, Ocon, nor Magnussen. Still, and especially after being out for more than a single season (except in the case of Alonso).

    3. Agree about Mick not being ready for F1 yet..

  3. HAAS desperately need to ditch Romain and Kevin – they’ve had too many chances to show they can help develop a car now. I know we keep hearing about “Grosjean’s really good feedback”, but it obviously isn’t giving them any push in the right direction… regularly being beaten by Russel in the Williams is testament to that.

    And I know we all love Kimi, I get it, but he’s taking up a seat a new talent can be using to hone himself into a future championship contender. Let it go, Kimi.

    I would LOVE for Mercedes to let Bottas go and put Russel in the 2nd Merc, even if it was done in a “clear no.2” role. Bottas, like K-Mag and Romain, has had too many chances to get on lewis’ level. Mercedes NEED a young driver with experience at the front to keep up with Leclerc and Max when Lewis retires and Ferrari/RBR get their stuff together again. If they keep leaving him in that Williams, he’ll have an awful lot of catching up to do.

    Kvyat and Giovinazzi can go, don’t really care where, but there are better options available.

    1. @joeypropane

      Grosjean has been beaten by Russel 3 times. Only one of which was down to pure merit I’d say and that was in britian. In one of the other races, Giovinazzi had contact with Grosjean which caused damage to Grosjean’s car. Grosjean also clearly had damage in the latest race which from what Haas said cost him nearly 2 seconds a lap. Even the Ferrari was a significant amount faster on the straights which simply showed how badly Grosjean’s car had been effected.

      People keep saying every year that the team need to get rid of Grosjean. Well no matter what most think, the team know more than us. Grosjean doesn’t have a lot of money behind him – so the team clearly keep him for a good reason that we maybe don’t know. So you can’t imply that the team must get rid of both when you don’t know the team and their reasoning for keeping Grosjean ever since the team came to the sport.

      Bottas isn’t there specifically to be on Hamilton’s level. Maybe not from Bottas’s point of view, but for the sake of the team, Bottas is pretty much ideal at this point in time and they don’t NEED Hamilton’s team mate to be as high up as you imply right now, and we are discussing 2021. Williams has clearly improved this year. They are not always clearly the weakest team that is well off the pace of everyone. Haas, Alfa Romeo and Williams are all pretty close and at times, it looks like Williams hasn’t even been the worst team. They are making progress and I think next year will allow Russell to show how capable he is. So far, I don’t really think we’ve had enough evidence that he would be any more ideal than Bottas for Mercedes. and with things as settled as they are, I don’t see much point changing things.

      1. With Grosjean, you’re right – none of us know more than HAAS know, but we can make educated guesses based off performance. So far, HAAS have ONLY gone backwards, Grosjean has CONSISTENTLY complained of balance/handling issues, and has finished BEHIND K-Mag for the past 2 seasons (and is behind now). So yeah, I don’t know as much as HAAS, but I know I don’t fancy the teams chances of stepping up into the mid-field again without a driver pairing that can get them out of the handling rut they are in (remember, this is essentially a 2017 Ferrari car…).

        With Russel, i’m looking at AFTER Hamilton calls it quits. Bottas isn’t a replacement, I don’t think he has the performance ceiling to match Max and Charles. Russel possibly does, but unless he gets some experience at the front of the grid, fighting with those guys, we won’t know. Look at what Stroll is doing now in the Force India, his race craft is actually coming along nicely, and I doubt many would rate George lower than Lance! But if he is left at the back too long, fighting with Grosjean in a crippled car, a barely motivated Kimi and a team mate that (looking at his wki page) hasn’t one a single junior category in his entire career, he’ll end up like Stoffel Vandoorne – a wasted talent.

        1. Fair enough regarding your view on Russel.

          Regarding the handling – I don’t think it is related to Grosjean not helping enough. I think this team still has big problems. In the first race, both drivers had break problems and it is frequently the case that Grosjean complains in practice about the car being an awful thing to handle, which he may well be correct. Then in races such as styria – he then has a solid race and praises the team for the progress of turning around the car from what it was like on friday – and a lot of that was down to his own feedback and that is admittedly me that keeps pointing that out. It isn’t the only race that has happened. I still think they keep old of him because he’s helping them more than we realise. Being a pretty new team, I think they need an experienced driver, and although Grosjean isn’t the most talented, he does have an advantage over any others given that he’s been there from the start. And I honestly think they may be in an even worse position (car performance wise) had they not kept him since he joined. I don’t even think he’s as bad as some suggest. He makes a lot of minor mistakes and often pushes right to to limit of the rules – but hasn’t got a single penalty point in ages now and doesn’t even have any to his name currently.

          I rated Grosjean as the worst driver in the grid after the first half of 2018, but from then to the end of 2019 he looked a fair bit better as well as doing better than magnussen more often than not when given the chance but I think very few noticed. He had 7 retirements last year vs 3 for his team mate and the only one he could have any responsibility from him for was britain, when Magnussen at the time actually had more blame for the double retirement. Even without his MGU-K failure in brazil (not included in the 7 retirements), that likely will have been enough to tie him in points with Magnussen. If he’d not had a DNF in just one or two more races, he easily will have been ahead in the standings.

          This year, I think Magnussen has been slightly better, but not by much. I think they both should get more credit than they get. I think the team should keep hold of at least one of them, and in my view, that should be Grosjean.

          1. I think Grosjean and Magnussen have developed the car the best they can. Its main problem, is that it’s got a Ferrari engine in the back! If you look at all three Ferrari engine teams, they’ve all gone backwards this year. That engine is the worst on the grid.

          2. More than the drivers or the PU, I think Haas’s problem is that Dallara can only design cars that race against other Dallaras. Stick as many Ferrari bits as you want on it, it is what it is.

        2. Whats up with the ‘so far Haas have only gone backwards’. Thats a statement that truly shows the memory of Formula 1 fans. Haas progressed from 16 through 17 to 18 going from 8th to on occassion having the 4th best car. 2019 was mared by the their lack of understanding of the entire package and its function with the tyres and 2020 by no developement at all along with the Ferrari engine being a complete dud. Can’t really say how much that is on the drivers, but people have to remember this is the smallest of all teams.
          And if both have to go, who is supposed to do their job better? And I can’t remember the chances Magnussen had to come to a level nearer Hamilton. Grosjean had his chance with Lotus against Kimi, but Magnussen as a rookie against Button in a disfunctional McLaren and second choice on parts after Button had his? How is that a fair fight. Not saying Magnussen would ever go there, but it seems your lack of knowledge surrounding him and the “chances” he have had is slim to none.

    2. I’m not going to go into Grosjean at Haas too much here @joeypropane, but I think you oversee something quite significant with Mercedes and talking about Bottas not being up to step in the shoes of Hamilton etc. Don’t you think that Max Verstappen will actually be he one they will sign to do the top driver role there once Lewis calls it quits?

      1. It’s definitely an option – but part of me is very suspicious that post-Hamilton Mercedes will be very different to the current operation…

    3. I agree on everything but not about Kimi. Alfa Romeo was here mainly to promote their brand. They were the one who need Kimi for all the ads.

  4. Hope Perez leaves..such a boring guy…
    Giovinazzi can go too.
    Grosjean didn’t have a good result in years so he is out too.
    Kvyat had a podium last season so he is capable but this years car isn’t to his liking.
    If Tsunoda doesn’t get enough points he can stay, and Hopefully return to his Ricciardo beating ways like his first season at Red Bull.

    1. If you base Kvyat’s podium as showing that he’s capable, then I think you should also have watched Grosjean and noticed that he has had quite a few good results in recent years and has just been incredibly unlucky not to get a few more.

      in 2018, he got P4 in Austria, P6 in Germany in the wet then also a fine P6 in Italy. Admittedly he got disqualified there due to a floor which wasn’t right, but I think you haven’t been watching him closely enough to say he hasn’t had a good result in years.

      Even last year, it was the luck against him that made him look far worse than he was. In Australia, he was running one place behind magnussen who finished effectively best of the rest when his wheel came loose. He got the teams 2nd best result of the year in Germany with 7th and would have managed to get 4th or possibly a podium in Brazil as he was on the same strategy as Sainz and only started dropping places when his MGU-K failed.

      He’s not great – but is FAR better than most seem to think. I just get the impression that that many of those who are fed up of him just don’t make a fair judgement of him at all. I used to think he was the worst on the grid early in 2018, but for the past couple of years, he’s certainly been decent.

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        21st September 2020, 19:57

        Even if he does continue to occasionally show raw speed or good racecraft, Grosjean has been in F1 since 2012 (not counting 09), and isn’t gonna improve anymore. And even last year, he had at least 2 collisions with his teammate and 1 with a pit wall. First half of 2018 was even worse. The fact he keeps doing such things tells me something after 6-7 years in F1. Grosjean is far from the worst driver we’ve had in recent year, which is why he lasts as long as he does, but Magnussen gets the results, pretty much everyone else is more consistent and he is still a potential hazard to others (thinking of some Spain 2018 stuff here). His time should be up. FFS, Perez looks like he might be on his way out and had actually had far more in the way of recent results, whilst even a 2018 best-of-the-rest championship wasn’t enough for Hülkenberg to keep his seat in 2019.

        1. @justarandomdutchguy Magnussen isn’t really performing that much better than Grosjean – he might have finished ahead in 2019, but it was pointed out that a significant chunk (40%) of Magnussen’s points came from the Australian GP, where Grosjean went out with mechanical issues.

          If you look at the whole of the 2019 season, Grosjean beat Magnussen 8-5 in terms of race finishing position – Magnussen might have been luckier in terms of mechanical reliability, but Grosjean was usually beating him in terms of race performance.

          1. It was 7-5 since it was a technical (break failure) that ended Magnussens running in the US. One thing to note though is that Magnussen beat an otherwise normally fast Grosjean in qualifying.
            Can’t really say about that luck you’re talking about, three of the DNF were because of collision damage and one from retiring to get a new suspension for the following race at Austria an upgrade that Magnussen didn’t have until two races later. Everything is in the detail. Of course it was closer battle than in 2018, but the premises have been – the more competitive the car have been overall, the better Magnussen have performed against Grosjean.

    2. Perez is boring in wot way Ronny?

  5. So if the Ferrari juniors take the top three places in F2 and Schumacher finishes third; he’s the one guaranteed an F1 drive?

    1. Yep, that’s the current “joy” of F1. Commercial considerations will ensure Perez & Schumacher have rides even though neither of them are the best candidates. F1 is about patronage rather than talent; sometimes there’s a happy coincidence & a true talent is uncovered. Does Carlos Slim still hold ill feelings against Haas for replacing Gutierrez?

      Perez may like to remember that the “McLaren” indycar team ditched James Hinchcliffe in exactly the same way that RP ditched him.

    2. Yes it’ll be so old-Ferrari emotional if they take Mick won’t it @riptide. If he was anywhere near as special as his dad we’d have noticed by now, there’s literally no other reason but his parentage, feeling sorry for Schumi and dreaming about the good old days. The fact there was this deal says all the wrong things about the team and how they decide things.

      1. I’m not sure we can evaluate schumacher’s son fairly: it must be pretty demotivating what happened to his father, he’s kind of missing his guidance this way.

  6. I still think RBR needs to put a stronger driver in their second seat to help them in both Championships. Not sure though if either Perez or Hulkenberg could be that person.
    If Tsunoda gets the 2nd SAT seat as expected, then Tost/Marko need to decide who they believe in more for the future: Albon or Gasly. If it is Albon, then I would hope that Alpine picks Gasly as their French Driver.

    1. I completely agree. The pressure placed on Albon and Gasly to fight for championships after a season or less was ridiculous. Give them some space for proper development by putting Perez in the car for a year or two and let the Red Bull junior “queue” grow behind them again, rather than grabbing potential talent before it has the time to grow.

      I’d put Tsunoda on ice for a year and let Albon and Gasly fight it out.

      1. @coldfly If we are talking about next year, no strong driver beside Max in the other car is going to alter their Championships standings. Mercedes will again likely be dominant, VB no competition to LH, RBR likely second again, with a mid-field that once again splits points and leaves themselves too distant from RBR and Mercedes. Of course I’m hopeful that RBR can actually consistently take the fight to Mercedes next year, but I’m not banking on it. As to the next year after that of revolutionary new F1, sure Max could use a strong teammate to help them fight for Championships, and by then that driver will be Albon. Right now and for next year when little can be done about Mercedes’ dominance, and nobody else is near RBR, is the perfect time to keep working with and building up AA.

        @ben-n The pressure last year may have been ridiculous but that was not their plan nor their desire. They so wanted to keep DR. And Ferrari were a threat. So they made what they thought at the time was their best decisions. It was what it was, PG couldn’t quite cut it, but now PG is revived from a reset, AA is doing fine and they don’t have the pressure from Ferrari for the foreseeable future, so there is much less pressure now on AA than there was last year for both drivers, to haul in Constructor points. They have an opportunity now to grow AA on a top team, and that will be immensely more beneficial to him and the whole team rather than demoting him when he is doing much better than PG was, and therefore when such a demotion would truly be destructive not instructive. Albon and Gasly have already ‘fought it out’ and AA has prevailed. Horner fully appreciates where AA was when he was taken out twice by LH. Places PG couldn’t get anywhere near.

        1. @Robbie, you only have to watch the TdF to see how wrong assumptions can be. RBR might well be closer to Mercedes and/or other teams could well have closed the gap to RBR.

          But even the season so far would probably have been different with a second strong driver in the RBR.
          Max might very well still be ahead of Bottas.

          1. @coldfly Fair comment and I wouldn’t normally make such assumptions but for the unique use of the same cars next year as this, albeit with some floor mods.

            You’re right about Max potentially still being second to LH and ahead of VB in the WDC with a stronger teammate to Max taking some points from VB, but for this discussion I was thinking mainly of the WCC and how I sense that next year RBR will likely be sitting alone in second again, unable to touch Mercedes, other teams unable to touch RBR (even if closer to them as you suggest), such that AA should be fairly pressure free from having to ‘race them into a better WCC spot’ if you will. Of course he’ll have pressures, but I think he will be doing well enough, as will Max of course, that AA can deal with other pressures but the WCC standing shouldn’t be one of them.

      2. People are not expecting them to fight for championships, but to be closer than 0.3-0.5 from Verstappen every week to make up a strong 2nd driver. Perez could make some sense, but they would faire better if they poached Bottas.
        Its not like Gasly and Albon are that talented and there are a better talent coming from their junior ranks in Juri Vips. Tsunoda will most likely freeze himself out as he doesn’t have the accumulated superlicense points to get into Formula 1, though it is still a possibility.

  7. I think there’s a lot still to happen in the driver market for next year. I’ve said before, but if I was running Red Bull, I’d sign Perez to partner Verstappen. This would give them a solid Number Two driver with whom they could better understand what is clearly a tricky car to drive. Drop Albon back to partner Gasly at Alpha Tauri for a one season shoot out… they can better prepare to then replace Perez in 2022, with Tsunoda coming in then.

    Giovinazzi is clearly not good enough and frankly deserves to be replaced by Mick Schumacher (I would say Schumacher, Shwartzman or Illot, but it seems clear that it’ll be Schumacher). I’d be pretty surprised if Kimi stays around again, but I actually hope he does… if not, Hulkenberg seems a fairly like-for-like substitute, fast, dependable and a barometer for the young talent.

    Which, I think, leaves Haas. I’d be looking to keep one of them as a reference point and I honestly don’t know which one. Over recent races, I’ve erred towards Grosjean… and I’d probably take Illot.

    So sticking my neck out, this is what I think should happen (based on already confirmed seats):

    Mercedes: Hamilton/Bottas
    Red Bull: Verstappen/Perez
    McLaren: Norris/Ricciardo
    Renault Alpine: Alonso/Ocon
    Aston Martin: Vettel/Stroll
    Ferrari: Leclerc/Sainz
    Alpha Tauri: Albon/Gasly
    Haas: Grosjean/Illot
    Alfa Romeo: Hulkenberg/Schumacher
    Williams: Russell/Latifi

    I reckon that looks like a bit of fun!

    1. This list of potential Drivers seems very possible. If this ends up as your order suggests I think you are spot on. It offers so much for most that a lineup as you suggest would be better than the current grid for certain. Maybe Vettle will smile next season as that side of him is missed. He is so grumpy from the Failure called a Ferrari this season. Your list would be great for Formula One. Well done

    2. @ben-n It could go either way, but I reckon Grosjean would be more likely to lose out if Haas were to change one of its drivers rather than Magnussen.

      1. @jerejj

        I think the team will know more than us and they won’t just base things on the points. If you looked at last season really carefully, it was pretty clear that grosjean was better than Magnussen overall, just had over double the number of retirements as well as a MGU-K failure when he was on target for 4th or possibly a podium in brazil. Grosjean also has the benefit of being far more experienced than Magnussen both in the sport and the team and he’s been with them since the beginning. I could be wrong, but I think it is much more likely that if they keep either, it will be Grosjean.

    3. @ben-n I don’t think I could disagree more with your proposed treatment of Perez, nor of Albon. Take on Perez for one year and then turf him, so Albon can be demoted and potentially demoralized in a shootout with Gasly while he is already on the ascension at RBR and just starting to gel and progress, while expecting Perez to just hop in, unfamiliar with the car and team, and expect him to be a strong second to Max in one initial year? Sounds wholly unfair to Perez and Albon as I say. Cruel even.

      1. @robbie – fair enough.

        I think if you offered Perez a one-year contract at Red Bull right now, he’d bite your hand off. The chance to prove himself against Verstappen, a race winning car, likely multiple podiums, fighting at the front. Then it’s up to him to show he deserves it beyond that; like Bottas. I don’t see that to be unfair or cruel.

        With regards to Albon; both Kvyat and Gasly have suffered the same treatment from Red Bull in the past and survived. This is Formula One; teams and drivers are here to win races. If your team-mate is winning and you’re finishing a lap down, something (be it the car, the set up, the mental state, the support, the pressure) is wrong. Both Albon and Gasly are good enough to be in Formula One and might even be great, given time. They don’t get time while being compared to Max Verstappen. Give them a year, maybe two, maybe three; it depends how good those behind them look and how good those in front are. Perez or Verstappen might even move.

        I consider both of these moves to be kind to the driver in question; certainly not cruel.

        1. @ben-n Well ok, you’ve changed the narrative though. Now you have Perez on a one year ala Bottas, with the chance to prove himself and get an extension, and that’s not what you initially presented. Of course he would find that palatable. Not so much your one year and you’re gone scenario.

          As well then, that changes your narrative for AA and PG who presumably are then not going to advance if they advance Perez. And then what of Tsunoda?

          Perhaps if come the end of the season Albon turns out to be a disappointment, which I believe is far from the case now, then perhaps maybe your idea might make a bit of sense. But I just don’t see them sending AA down as I think he is doing well enough compared to how Gasly was doing, that it would be far more constructive to keep supporting AA and advancing his comfort in the car, which the signs are there that it is happening.

          No it appears PG had confidence issues, but also had issues believing in his engineers, and those don’t seem to apply to Albon. It made sense to get PG back to STR, and he is now thriving and has had the chance to build himself back up and learn a lot more. I think AA is already confident and working well with his engineers, in a car Horner admits is a handful especially on low fuel loads, and they would be cruel to him to demote him when he is not needing that move to help him like PG obviously did.

          1. I was merely providing a vague outline of what I would do, though didn’t have time to go into contracts and clauses etc.! :-)

            I think Red Bull have a difficult situation as all of their contracted drivers are so young and inexperienced.

            Think back to when they had the experienced Mark Webber and the exciting, young World Champion, Sebastian Vettel. Drivers like Liuzzi, Doornbos, Alguersuari, Buemi, Bourdais etc. came and went because Red Bull didn’t believe them good enough to warrant a change to the status quo. When Webber finally retired, they were brimming with talent in the queue behind. A choice between Ricciardo and Vergne, who had proved themselves with a strong apprenticeship; with Kvyat, da Costa, Frijns, Sainz waiting to pick up the pieces at Toro Rosso.

            Now, they have Max Verstappen and three “broken” and drained drivers, with no real prospects behind them (Tsunoda aside, who is still a little raw). I really believe that bringing in Perez (or perhaps Nico Hulkenberg) as a “Mark Webber” style character will help them to rebuild that queue of quality. Perez is a proven, solid driver who will probably not expect, nor be expected, to beat Max Verstappen, but will categorically score points, podiums and possibly wins with the right car. Give Albon and Gasly time to fly under the radar, to learn, to make mistakes, to wow on occasion and to show that they have what it takes. If they then warrant the call up, then bring them through, if they don’t, either nurture them for longer, or (as is Red Bull’s way) let them go.

          2. @ben-n Fair enough. I just completely disagree with your three ‘broken’ and drained drivers opinion. I certainly don’t believe that Horner and Marko see it that way. PG is at an all time high. I think they are very happy to work with AA, and that by giving him the rest of this season (and themselves while they still try to solve the car), when he’s under less pressure as they don’t need him to ensure their second place standing in the WCC, and then him having the off-season and the next pre-season, he’ll be quite on it next year. And more and more on it as this season continues. Simply, Albon doesn’t need the reset that PG did, so it would be destructive to demote him as it will have been unnecessary. With PG it was necessary.

          3. @robbie – maybe “broken” is to exaggerate a little.

            I don’t think Gasly’s sole issue was a mental block. I think that if he was put back in the Red Bull now, he’d have almost exactly the same problems as last time. They absolutely shouldn’t change anything mid-season in 2020; Albon deserves the rest of the year; but if things don’t improve rapidly (Mugello’s result was good, but in reality it wasn’t a great performance) I think they need to make a change. If Gasly wasn’t good enough for them, neither is Albon (which is a shame, as I like them both).

            Fun discussing with you as always :-)

          4. @ben-n Fair comment. Enjoying this as well, and thank you. I have been considering the comments Tost made about PG after his win, which hinted that upon PG’s return back to them he learned to trust his engineers, which it would seem he wasn’t doing at RBR. Based on that I think PG would do better than he did last year, with a return beside Max, but at this point, and after AA has the rest of the season, I don’t think PG would do any better than AA is being groomed right now to do. But as you say, for sure let’s see how it comes out in the wash at the end of the season, and see if RBR feels the need to make a change. I’ll be surprised particularly because I think based on the likely standings in the WCC, they can stick with AA comfortably and don’t need to upset the apple cart.

    4. @ben-n I like this a lot, although I fear Ilott may miss out to Haas trying things too conservative for the 5th time running and going for a GroMag lineup again. If that happens, as Edd Straw said in his podcast, we can stop thinking of Haas as a serious F1 concern.

      Honestly, I would like to go for all change at Haas and as Steiner has alluded, give both drivers multi-year contracts (till the end of 2022 at least), so that at least with all the rules changing, they have a constant driver line-up.

      Also correct me if I’m wrong, but does Tsunoda qualify for a super-licence without a top-4 finish in the F2 standings? He won Japanese F4 (12 points) in 2018, and finished 7th in F3 (4 points) last year. 12+4 is 16, which means he needs 24 more to qualify for the 40 he needs to get an F1 drive. 4th place in F2 gives him 30, but 5th place gives him only 20.

      I think it’s far from a foregone conclusion that Tsunoda will get an F1 seat next year. I think he would definitely benefit from an extra season next year, and I think Shwartzman would too.

      1. Extra season in F2 I mean. For Shwartzman and Tsunoda.

      2. @wsrgo From what I’ve read, he needs a top-5 finish in the standings to qualify for a super license. He’s at 28, so needs 12 more to hit the minimum requirement of 40. https://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/gk9b3f/2020_f2_superlicense/

    5. This is the exact line-up that I would like to see too. I agree with Grosjean in Haas instead of Magnussen. In the second Haas, I think it should go to whoever finishes higher in F2 out of Callum Ilott and Robert Schwartzman, and Ilott looks slightly more likely to be ahead at the moment.

    6. Well that would make sense. But it makes me think that it would be quite uncool for Haas if they can’t get their hand on either Perez or Magnussen.

      1. Oops, I meant Perez or Hülkenberg of course.

    7. @ben-n Absolutely Perez for Red Bull, but it will never happen with Marko very much invested in his young driver program.

    8. Yes, absolutely perez on red bull would be good, stop taking uncapable drivers from red bull academy only, get proven drivers!

  8. Ocon is Renault/Alpine’s French driver already but I do rate Gasly better than Ocon

    1. @Brad Doesn’t mean they couldn’t replace Ocon with him for 2022 or Alonso for 2023 in which case the team would have two French-drivers should Ocon still be in the team in three years.

  9. Hoping Kimi will be around to celebrate 20 yrs in F1. Others mentioned do not inspire the same interest although I do hope Perez finds a seat with Haas.

  10. Super license points-wise, Tsunoda needs to finish at least 5th in the drivers’ standings to reach the minimum number of points required to obtain one that is 40 – he’s at 28, so needs at least 12 more to hit the target. The only scenario in which I could see Red Bull temporarily breaking the long-standing tradition of only bringing in drivers from the B-team is if Tsunoda fails at becoming eligible for a super license early enough for the next F1 season, unless, Red Bull in this scenario, attempted to get someone from F2 or F3 that isn’t in the academy at present.
    The Haas and Alfa Romeo situations are also interesting.

  11. The 2 at Haas……….i send at least one out, Grosjean in my case. I’d pick up a rookie. Personally i’d rather see Perez take the Indycar risk, hoping he’ll succeed, because i like him a lot, coming back to F1 afterwards.

    My ideal’s:

    Alfa-Romeo: Kimi and Schumacher.
    Haas: Magnussen and ???
    Alpha Tauri: Gasley and Tsunoda.

    I would have no problem either with Albon getting axed at Red Bull. To hear them say they want to keep on to him feels almost contradictive to their usual approaches. If Albon does exit, i’d like Perez in there, Gasley deserves a better place to be peaking, so waiting out another year as AT is worth it for him, i think. In the case of Haas, i can imagine them wanting to hold on to at least 1 experienced driver, and given the points comparison of the 2 over their 3,5 years together….Kevin clearly leads (97/73).

    Exits: Giovanazzi, Kvyat and Grosjean, those are the ones i’d start with.

  12. I don’t care what happens with anyone else besides Haas. They need to get rid of their current drivers… Gunther, get Perez and promote a young guy. Inspire your workers into believing they are making progress with a solid pair of hands driving one of the cars… if only just to have a baseline in which to improve, instead of going every weekend wondering which one of the two will destroy the car.

  13. I’m always amazed by people saying that Bottas should be given the boot because he’s not on Hamilton’s level. Either they don’t rate Hamilton (using the tired argument of he’s only good because he’s in the fastest car), or they expect Bottas to bang wheels with Hamilton every race.

    I see it a bit different. Even though the team doesn’t outright say it, Hamilton is the #1 driver and Bottas is #2. They don’t need the headaches of Prost/Senna or Mansell/Piquet. They need the best pairing to gather the most Team points, like Senna/Berger or Schumacher/Barrichello and they have that in Hamilton/Bottas. Red Bull does not.

    1. No they don’t really. Bottas could well lose 2nd place to Verstappen in the championship. If they wanted most team points they would hire Verstappen or Alonso. They rather lose places than have headaches. That’s the Mercedes ‘values’ they are always talking about.

  14. If Grosjean drives F1 car in 2021, I am leaving F1 for ever. He doesn’t deserve any racing car seat anywhere in the world.

  15. If perez gets squeezed out of f1 I’ll never get over it. He’s fast, produces results, and comes with a boatload of cash. I will never understand.

  16. Mercedes: Hamilton/Bottas
    Red Bull: Verstappen/Albon
    McLaren: Norris/Ricciardo
    Renault Alpine: Alonso/Ocon
    Aston Martin: Vettel/Stroll
    Ferrari: Leclerc/Sainz
    Alpha Tauri: Gasly/Kvyat
    Haas: Perez/Schwartzman
    Alfa Romeo: Hulkenberg/Schumacher
    Williams: Russell/Latifi

  17. jonathan leggett
    22nd September 2020, 14:26

    No one seems to be looking at Williams for Perez. Under new ownership and with better funding they are the most likely of the three back marker teams to have a resurgence as they have the Mercedes power unit. They may well want a more proven driver to spearhead a revival.

    1. @jonathan leggett Well, both drivers are under contract beyond the end of this season, and Latifi also brings sponsor money, so terminating his existing contract in favor of Perez, I don’t know how that would fit.

  18. As much as I’m excited for Alonso’s return, I’m really looking forward to Ricciardo at McLaren.

    1. For sure it feels like he could be really potent there.

  19. Williams will take a step forward next season, and another the following year. Their attractiveness to drivers will only increase.

  20. Out: Grosjean (way overdue), Kevin, Kvyat, Kimi, Giovinazzi.
    In: Alonso, Schumacher, Perez, Hulk, Tsunoda

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