Silly Season 2013

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    Felipe Bomeny

    The recent rumours regarding a Webber-Ferrari scenario and PM’s recent mid-season driver replacement thread has prompted the F1Fanatic Silly season.

    The drivers already confirmed for 2013 are Vettel at Red Bull, Rosberg at Mercedes, Raikkonen at Lotus, Alonso at Ferrari, Button at McLaren, Glock at Marussia, and de la Rosa at HRT.

    Red Bull: Already have Vettel. Webber’s contract expires at the end of 2012; he has been linked with a Ferrari drive. Some rumours have pointed Lewis Hamilton in the direction of Red Bull, but Christian Horner has played down this speculation. It seems as if the STR duo are not ready for a role at Red Bull, but it is too early in the season to tell. Another interesting candidate for a Red Bull seat is Heikki Kovalainen, who has experience with the Renault engine.

    McLaren: Button is confirmed, and Hamilton is likely to be retained as him teammate. If not, Paul di Resta is an option for McLaren.

    Ferrari: While Alonso is onboard, Massa is surely not. There’s a high probability he will be sacked at the end of the year, and his successors could be Sergio Perez or Mark Webber.

    Mercedes: Rosberg renewed his contract and will stay with the Mercedes team, but Schumacher does not have a 2013 contract. Should the latter decide to truly retire, his replacements include Mercedes protegee Paul di Resta, and hungry backmarkers Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock (assuming the latter can wriggle his way out of his Marussia contract).

    Lotus: Raikkonen’s two-year deal stretches into 2013, but there many choices for his teammate. The most logical choice is to retain Grosjean, but Lotus have ties to a number of promising rookies including FR3.5 title candidates Richie Stanaway and Kevin Korjus, Lotus’ GP2 star James Calado, and the very quick DAMS duo of Felipe Nasr and Davide Valsecchi. It will be interesting to see where Lotus place them.

    Force India: Paul di Resta could leave for Mercedes or even McLaren, although the former is more probable. Jules Bianchi has a probable chance of driving for the team in 2013, but the same cannot be said for Hulkenberg unless he steps up his performance and goes shopping for sponsors. If not, Bruno Senna could potentially buy his way into the team.

    Sauber: If Sergio Perez leaves for Ferrari, his place will be taken by Esteban Gutierrez. Kobayashi carries little sponsorship money and has been overshadowed by Sergio Perez’s Malaysian GP drive, so his seat could be taken by Bruno Senna.

    STR: Are very likely to retain their driver pairing. I honestly doubt either one is ready for an RBR seat and I also doubt Helmut Marko will promote Lewis Williamson or the “loser” Buemi, as described by Marko.

    Williams: Maldonado’s cash flow will guarantee him a 2013 seat while Valtteri Bottas will replace Bruno Senna. That’s that, really.

    Caterham: The hard-working Kovalainen has been mouthwatering for a competitive car, so he could leave. Meanwhile, Petrov is doing a reasonably good job and carries a mountain of roubles for him team. Kovalainen’s successor, if needed, will be American Alexander Rossi; an ideal fit for a calendar with two races in the States.

    Marussia: Glock could retire to the DTM or try his luck at campaigning for an opening at McLaren or Mercedes, but he’s bound by a contract. John Booth has expressed interest in retaining Charles Pic, but he also said the same about Lucas di Grassi and Jerome d’Ambrosio. In the circumstance one or two of them leave, Marussia have an able GP2 pairing of the vastly-improved Max Chilton and Indonesian ace Rio Haryanto.

    HRT: Have Pedro de la Rosa on board for 2013, but Karthikeyan looks set to be replaced by Dani Clos. Davide Valsecchi could also fit in their driver line-up equation.


    I wonder if Maldonado will be able to continue paying next year? His seat is safe this year, but will it stay that way? Isn’t there some scandal around his payment in Venezuela?

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I wonder if Maldonado will be able to continue paying next year?

    The agreement between Williams and PDVSA is a multi-year deal.

    Isn’t there some scandal around his payment in Venezuela?

    Nothing has come of it.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    Okay, here is what I think is a conceivable grid for 2013:

    Red Bull – Vettel stays with the team, but Webber is out. After working on his quliafying performances, Jean-Eric Vergne is recruited to replace him.

    McLaren – Both Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton stay with the team.

    Ferrari – Alonso stays, but Massa is let go. Ferrari decide to take a chance on Sergio Perez, or else risk losing him.

    Mercedes – Rosberg remains with the team, but Schumacher re-retires. Paul di Resta is promoted from Force India after besting Nico Hulkenberg.

    Lotus – Raikkonen stays with the team, but Grosjean’s seat is threatened by a buy-out of Group Lotus, with the new owners deciding that they will only let the team keep the Lotus name if they get some say in how it is run.

    Force India – Hulkenberg underperforms in 2012, but keeps his seat when di Resta joins Mercedes. Mercedes place Robert Wickens in the vacant seat, with mentoring from Michael Schumacher.

    Sauber – Kobayashi’s seat is in danger for failing to perform. He is saved by Perez moving to Ferrari, and by securing a few extra sponsors. Esteban Gutierrez takes the vacant seat.

    Toro Rosso – Ricciardo stays with Toro Rosso; Vergne joins Red Bull. As the other Young Drivers need some work before joining Formula 1, Toro Rosso turns to the Formula Renault series and recruits Kevin Korjus.

    Williams – Maldonado keeps his seat because of his sponsors, but Senna is quickly and quietly dropped. Bottas takes his seat.

    Marussia – Better reliability nets Marussia 10th in the 2012 WCC. Both Glock and Pic are dropped; Glock retires, while the team favour Haryanto over Pic. The team save Vitaly Petrov’s career, and in doing so, secure a lot more funding from Russia.

    Caterham – Both Kovalainen and Petrov perform well in 2012, but ultimately Petrov is dropped for Alexander Rossi. Marussia vs. Caterham becomes an instant rivalry for 2013.

    HRT – Strangely enough, both de la Rosa and Kartikeyan stay with the team. Pedro develops the car, while Karthikeyan’s sponsors bankroll the whole thing.


    Surprisingly I find myself in the predicament of agreeing just about 100% with @prisoner-monkeys except with Marussia. I think Glock-Haryanto is a more probable lineup.

    I don’t know about Kovalainen though. He’s a tough one to read. He could have used his stellar 2011 (and if he repeats in 2012) to sell himself to a big team, in which case I can see him joining any of the 4 winning teams of 2012 sofar (or making an Enstone comeback). Or he could think moving now would just mean he toiled for nothing, and choose to build up the team further – one that would favor his Wikipedia entry quite a bit.


    @portugoose – Wait, how is Raikkonen 100% surely staying with Lotus? I thought there was a clause which said that he was free to go (if he wanted to) if he finished below 8th place in the championship or something? Only thing that might stop that is the fact that he holds part of Lotus now.

    As for what @prisoner-monkeys said, I find myself almost in agreement with him. Almost.

    Actually, I don’t know about that.

    * Schumacher outperforms Rosberg and extends his contract for one more year. We’ve seen his potential, so if his streak of misfortune ends I can definitely see him outscoring Nico. He’s already enjoying his time in F1, so beating his teammate would be the catalyst for his decision to stay.
    * Di Resta outperforms Hulkenberg but stays at Force India.
    * As much as I want Grosjean to just drop dead, he’s 100% staying at Lotus.
    * Kobayashi is, indeed, dropped, but McLaren will be interested in him. At this point I’m not fully sure if they’d be willing to replace Hamilton with him, though. Bonus points for Button not really liking Kamui’s shenanigans. 2009, anyone? Anyhow, Massa replaces Kobayashi.
    * Ricciardo replaces Webber instead of Vergne.
    * Actually, scratch that – either Ricciardo or Raikkonen, the latter especially if the RB8 does turn out to be the best car at the end of the year. If Raikkonen does, indeed, end up partnering Vettel then I can see Kovalainen returning to Renault. Lotus Renault. Lotus. However you want to call it. Rossi replaces Heikki if that happens.
    * Why would Pic be thrown out? He’s got a moderate sponsorship and he’s very strong. I agree that this may very well be Glock’s final year in F1 though. I have no idea who could replace him – Wickens?
    * Petrov outperforms Kovalainen and stays.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    If Raikkonen does, indeed, end up partnering Vettel

    I just can’t see Raikkonen going to Red Bull. Especially if Lotus continue to produce strong cars – Raikkonen will have a chocie between either leading a team with a good car, or competing with Vettel in a team with a good car.

    Every time I hear the suggestion that Raikkonen will go to Red Bull, I have a lot of trouble seeing beyond the fan motivations. I can’t see any substance to it other than Raikkonen’s fans trying to convince themselves (and everyone else) that Raikkonen will join the team and start fighting for World Championships.

    Why would Pic be thrown out? He’s got a moderate sponsorship and he’s very strong.

    His GP2 record is a bit patchy. At the end of last year, he was second overall going to Monza. Leaving Monza, he was fifth.



    Every time I hear the suggestion that Raikkonen will go to Red Bull, I have a lot of trouble seeing beyond the fan motivations.

    I figured his partnership with Red Bull was more than just him joining their rally team? And plus, Raikkonen is definitely in the championship fight this year, if Lotus’ performances are anything to go by.

    His GP2 record is a bit patchy.

    But then so is Kobayashi’s, and he’s only started to underperform this year.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I figured his partnership with Red Bull was more than just him joining their rally team?

    Then why didn’t they continue to sponsor him in 2011?

    When Red Bull backed Raikkonen in 2010, it was because Raikkonen drew a lot of attention when he joined the WRC. A former Formula 1 World Champion had joined the category – nothing like that had ever happened before. So Red Bull pounced on him to get more marketing potential out of it. When Raikkonen proved to be largely off the pace, they ended their sponsorship. They never sponsored Raikkonen in 2011, and he never entered negotations with Red Bull or Toro Rosso for a seat in 2012.

    When the sponsorship was first announced, a lot of people thought it was Red Bull marking Raikkonen as one of their own, preparing him for a comeback. But since it never eventuated, it’s hardly proof that they’re eyeing him off for a 2013 seat.

    And plus, Raikkonen is definitely in the championship fight this year, if Lotus’ performances are anything to go by.

    So why would he go to Red Bull? Red Bull is very much Vettel’s team at the moment. Why is that suddenly going to change for Raikkonen? And why would he be interested in going there if Lotus’ development keeps producing a good car? All he is going to get from going to Red Bull is a headache.

    Also, I think it’s a massive assumption to say that he is a championship contender this year. We’re only four races in and Lotus are – at best – third on the road behind McLaren and Red Bull. Furthermore, Mercedes have proven that they have pace and Ferrari are confident their have their handling issues sorted, so at worst, Lotus could be fifth on the road. So while Raikkonen might be a championship contender, he is an outside chance at the moment, and he probably needs a few results to go his way if he wants to stay in the fight.


    McLaren – Lewis and Jenson both stick around at Mclaren

    Ferrari – Alonso remains at Ferrari despite their poor form, and Sergio Perez replaces Felipe Massa. Felipe Massa gets an opportunity to test for Force India for the DiResta’s seat, and does enough to get a one year contract with Force India.

    Mercedes – After an impressive season Rosberg stays at Mercedes. Schumacher after being beaten for the 3rd season in a row by his teammate, makes a couple of excuses about how Pirrelli has ruined racing, and retires. He is replaced by Paul Di Resta

    Red Bull – Vettel obviously sticks around at Red Bull, but Horner replaces Webber with Raikkonen in a clear swap with Lotus.

    Lotus – Raikkonen becomes the hottest driver on the free market and has teams bidding left, right and centre for him. He leaves Lotus to join Red Bull, replacing Mark Webber in the process. Grosjean sticks around at Lotus, and now has Mark Webber as a teammate.

    Force India – Hulkenberg finds his form midway through the 2012 season and is retained by Force India, but Paul leaves for Mercedes. Force India now hires Felipe Massa for a year due to the lack of better options

    Sauber – Perez is recruited by Ferrari, and Kobayashi does enough to retain his seat at Sauber. Jules Bianchi is recruited to partner up with Kobayashi for the 2013 season

    Toro Rosso – Both Ricciardo and Vergne retain their seats, but inconsistent performances puts both their seats in jeopardy.

    Williams – Maldonado is retained as Williams needs a pay driver for funds. Senna despite outperforming Maldonado is dropped by Williams and picked up by Marussia as a replacement for Glock

    Marussia – Glock is beaten by Pic in the 2012 season and is dropped by the team, luckily, Glock is picked up by Caterham. Senna partners up against Pic in the 2nd Marussia.

    Caterham – Kovalainen performs well enough to be retained by Caterham, but after a poor season, Petrov is dumped and replaced by Glock.

    HRT – Does not appear in pre season testing or any race. They take all of TATA’s money and call it a day at the end of the season. Pedro and Narain pursue some other motorsports


    Early days, but here we go.
    McLaren – Hamilton and Button both stay.

    Ferrari – Alonso obviously stays, after an impressive 2012, Perez replaces Massa.

    Red Bull – Vettel remains at RBR, Webber is not offered a seat and retires. Raikkonen takes the second RBR seat.

    Mercedes – Rosberg stays, Schumi retires after a dismal season, is replaced by diResta after a strong 2012.

    Lotus – Raikkonen becomes tired of being team leader and development work, he starts to consider quitting F1 again but moves to Red Bull in a situation where he can simply arrive and race hard. Grosjean is maintained and Jaime Alguersuari is called up to replace Raikkonen. (Apparently last year he turned down a Lotus drive because he thought he was safe at STR).

    Williams – Maldonado stays, Senna is replaced by Valteri Bottas.

    Sauber – Kobayashi stays, Perez replaced by Gutierrez.

    Force India – Hulkenberg stays, Bianchi replaces diReta after winning the FR3.5 championship.

    Toro Rosso – Ricciardo and Vergne are both maintained after equally solid but far from amazing seasons.

    Caterham – Kovalainen stays, Petrov performs well but is replaced by Alex Rossi.

    Marrussia – Petrov takes his money to the Russian team alongside Glock.

    HRT cease to exist.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    Raikkonen becomes tired of being team leader and development work, he starts to consider quitting F1 again but moves to Red Bull in a situation where he can simply arrive and race hard.

    No such situation exists – Raikkonen would be expected to make way for Vettel. He’d last all of two races before quitting.


    Adrian Sutil will be back for 2013, maybe even at Ferrari.
    And Timo Glock will get a better seat, maybe at Force India.


    and @prisoner-monkeys, get over this whole “Red Bull won’t let anyone past Vettel”. They gave Webber a fair chance at the title in 2010 and he failed miserably. So give it a break! :)

    Prisoner Monkeys

    @magon4 – Just a few weeks ago, everyone was talking about how Jaime Alguersuari lost his seat at Toro Rosso because he impeded Sebastian Vettel during free practice in Korea. While I very much doubt that that incident alone cost Alguersuari his seat, it does highlight the attitude at Red Bull. But now that people are discussing the prospect of Kimi Raikkonen moving to Red Bull, they’re suddenly the fairest team on the grid?

    Sorry, but that doesn’t truck with me.

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