Silly season: 2014 F1 driver market

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    Here’s my guesses, some wilder than others:

    Red Bull-Renault
    1. Sebastian Vettel
    2. Kimi Raikkonen

    3. Fernando Alonso
    4. Nico Hulkenberg

    5. Nico Rosberg
    6. Lewis Hamilton

    7. Jean-Eric Vergne
    8. Pastor Maldonado

    9. Jenson Button
    10. Sergio Perez

    Force India-Mercedes
    11. Adrian Sutil
    12. Jules Bianchi

    14. Felipe Massa
    15. Robin Frijns

    Toro Rosso-Renault
    16. Daniel Ricciardo
    17. Antonio Felix da Costa

    18. Valtteri Bottas
    19. Daniel Juncadella

    20. Charles Pic
    21. Giedo van der Garde

    22. Max Chilton
    23. Kevin Magnussen

    Other guesses:
    – Mark Webber to WEC: Porsche
    – Romain Grosjean to WEC: Toyota?
    – Paul di Resta to DTM: Mercedes
    – Esteban Gutierrez to IndyCar?

    Wildcards (those that may yet find spots on this grid):
    – Heikki Kovalainen
    – Stoffel Vandoorne
    – Stefano Coletti
    – Felipe Nasr
    – Sam Bird

    Prisoner Monkeys

    Scuderia Ferrari
    1 – Fernando Alonso
    2 – Nico Hulkenberg

    Massa decides to retire after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix. Ferrari enlist Nico Hulkenberg into the team.

    Red Bull Racing (Renault)
    3 – Sebastian Vettel
    4 – Daniel Ricciardo

    Webber finally has enough of his treatment in the team, and quits. Speculation links Kimi Raikkonen to the team, but they come under pressure to take a Toro Rosso driver and so hire Ricciardo.

    Mercedes AMG
    5 – Lewis Hamilton
    6 – Nico Rosberg

    No changes at Mercedes for 2014.

    PDVSA Lotus F1 (Renault)
    7 – Pastor Maldonado
    8 – Felipe Nasr

    Lotus’ financial position forces them to drop Grosjean. Raikkonen tries to move to Red Bull, leaving the team with no option but to take someone else. They enlist the well-monied Maldonado and GP2 champion Nasr.

    Force India (Mercedes)
    9 – Adrian Sutil
    10 – Stefano Coletti

    Paul di Resta is beaten by his team-mate for the third consecutive season, and is duly replaced by Coletti.

    Claro McLaren (Mercedes)
    11 – Jenson Button
    12 – Sergio Perez

    No changes at McLaren.

    Scuderia Toro Rosso (Renault)
    14 – Jean-Eric Vergne
    15 – Antonio Felix da Costa

    Vergne earns a repreive when Ricciardo moves to Red Bull. Bt he is up against da Costa, and under pressure to perform.

    Sauber F1 (Ferrari)
    16 – Jules Bianchi
    17 – Robin Frijns

    Reaffirming their relationship with Ferrari, Sauber take Jules Bianchi … and his old sparring partner, Frijns.

    Astana Team Williams (Mercedes)
    18 – Valtteri Bottas
    19 – Daniel Juncadella

    Williams pick up Mercedes engines, and with them, Daniel Juncadella as his Kazakh sponsors.

    Marussia F1 (Ferrari)
    20 – Max Chilton
    21 – Sergey Sirotkin

    Marussia get some Russian flavor with talented – if underage – driver Sirotkin replacing Bianchi.

    Caterham F1 (Renault)
    22 – Charles Pic
    23 – Alexander Rossi

    Predictably, van der Garde under-performs in 2013, and is let go. Caterham finally put Alexander Rossi in the seat.


    I totally suck at these predictions, but lets try anyway. I follow lower series very little, so I’m predicting only the top teams (who rarely hire rookies):

    1 – Sebastian Vettel
    2 – Fernando Alonso
    Vettel’s long rumoured Ferrari contract turns out to be true giving Ferrari one of the best line ups of all times. Alonso isn’t very happy about the situation and after a bitter season he is forced to leave.

    Red Bull
    3 – Kimi Räikkönen
    4 – Daniel Ricciardo
    Räikkönen’s RBR move turns out to be true also and RBR finally promotes one of the Toro Rosso drivers. The line up seems to be rather weak for a top team like Red Bull, but turns out to be very effective. However, critics claim Red Bull’s success is down to Newey.

    5 – Nico Rosberg
    6 – Lewis Hamilton
    No changes.

    7 – Romain Grosjean
    8 – Pastor Maldonado
    Boullier still won’t get rid of Grosjean and the team’s financial trouble forces them to take Maldonado and his money. The bankruptcy seems evident.

    9 – Sergio Perez
    10 – Nico Hülkenberg
    McLaren’s lack of succes and strict order doesn’t make them tempting to any of the top drivers, but their ineffective 2013 line up has to be changed. Perez and Button perform alike in 2013, but Perez is younger and has some important sponsors so Button bows out, staying at McLaren as a consultant or something like that. McLaren manages to snatch Hülkenberg, who is eager to make it to a top team.


    Ferrari – Alonso & Hulkenberg
    Mclaren – Button & Perez
    Red Bull – Vettel and Raikkonen
    Lotus – Webber and Massa
    Mercedes – Hamilton & Rosberg
    Force India – Sutil & Di Resta
    Toro Rosso – Ricciardo & Felix Da Costa
    Sauber – Guttierez & Bianchi
    Williams – Maldonado & Bottas
    Caterham – Bird & VDG
    Marrussia – Frijns & Vergne

    Antonio Nartea

    I’ll jump in.

    1. Fernando Alonso
    2. Felipe Massa

    TD: Pedro De La Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

    Massa gets another contract extension following a good season, while Ferrari wait for Bianchi to gain some more experience in a midfield car. Gene finally gives up the test driver role in favour of Kobayashi.

    Red Bull – Renault
    3. Sebastian Vettel
    4. Daniel Ricciardo

    TD: Sebastian Buemi

    Webber jumps the boat to WEC on a 5 year contract with Porsche and Ricciardo gets promoted. Aussie for aussie.

    Lotus – Renault
    5. Kimi Raikkonen
    6. Felipe Nasr

    TD: Davide Valsecchi

    Lotus keep Raikkonen who rejects a move to Red Bull while Nasr provides a much needed financial relief for the team and a fresh face in the cockpit.

    7. Lewis Hamilton
    8. Nico Rosberg

    TD: Sam Bird

    Mercedes retain both their drivers.

    Force India – Mercedes
    9. Adrian Sutil
    10. Jules Bianchi

    TD: Conor Daly

    Force India retain Sutil and get rid of Di Resta in favour of Bianchi. Di Resta goes back to DTM in a Merc.

    McLaren – Mercedes
    11. Jenson Button
    12. Sergio Perez

    TD: Gary Paffett, Oliver Turvey

    McLaren retain both their drivers

    Toro Rosso – Renault
    14. Jean-Eric Vergne
    15. Antonio Felix da Costa

    TD: Sebastian Buemi

    Ricciardo gets a promotion and is replaced by Da Costa. Vergne stays with the team as Marko realizes they have no one else they could put in his seat.

    Sauber – Ferrari
    16. Nico Hulkenberg
    17. Robin Frijns

    TD: Fabio Leimer

    Hulkenberg stays as he has nowhere else to go. With Claro and Slim’s money going to McLaren, Sauber finally are able to ditch Gutierrez. They promote Frinjs instead.

    Williams – Mercedes
    18. Valtteri Bottas
    19. Daniel Juncadella

    TD: Stefano Coletti

    Williams switch to Merc power and take on TAK as sponsors, which clears the path for Juncadella who lands the second seat. Maldonado’s money run out and Bottas takes his place in car no.1.

    Marussia – Ferrari
    20. Luis Razia
    21. Max Chilton

    TD: Rodolfo Gonzales

    With Bianchi gone to Force India, Marussia let Razia have another go. They keep Chilton as the team’s walking/driving ATM.

    Caterham – Renault
    22. Charles Pic
    23. Heikki Kovalainen

    TD: Alexander Rossi, Giedo Van Der Garde

    Pic keeps his Renault backing and with it, the seat. Caterham realize they are now the last team on the grid and call Kovalainen in. Van Der Garde’s short adventure in F1 comes to an end as he’s relegated back to the TD role.

    Kamui Fan

    Infiniti Red Bull
    Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo

    Scuderia Ferrari
    Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa

    Lotus F1 Team
    Kimi Raikkonen and Kamui Kobayashi

    Mercedes AMG
    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

    Claro McLaren Mercedes
    Jenson Button and Sergio Perez

    Sahara Force India
    Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil

    Scuderia Toro Rosso
    Jean Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix da Costa

    Sauber F1 Team
    Nico Hulkenberg and Jules Bianchi

    Williams F1 Team
    Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas

    Caterham F1 Team
    Heikki Kovalainen and Giedo van der Garde

    Marussia F1 Team
    Charles Pic and Vitaly Petrov


    I’ll have a stab at some predictions:
    2014 driver line-up:
    Infiniti Red Bull Racing-Renault
    1. Vettel, 2. Ricciardo
    Webber leaves F1, Ricciardo has a stronger season than Vergne.

    Scuderia Ferrari
    3. Alonso, 4. Massa

    Mercedes AMG Petronas
    5. Hamilton, 6. Rosberg

    Lotus F1 Team-Renault
    7. Kubica, 8. Nasr
    Raikkonen tries to move to Red Bull but they want clear number 1 and 2 drivers, so he leaves F1. Kubica re-joins the Enstone team and Nasr gets the second seat due to a good season in GP2 and sponsors.

    Emirates McLaren Mercedes
    9. Button, 10. Perez
    No driver change, but Emirates take over Vodafone as title sponsors after previously sponsoring them in 2006.

    Sahara Force India-Mercedes
    11. di Resta, 12. Sutil

    Sauber F1 Team-Ferrari
    14. Hulkenberg, 15. Bianchi
    Bianchi’s Ferrari ties mean he is drafted in for Gutierrez, who underperforms.

    Scuderia Toro Rosso-Renault
    16. Vergne, 17. da Costa
    Da Costa is promoted in place of Ricciardo.

    Williams F1 Team-Mercedes
    18. Maldonado, 19. Bottas

    Marussia F1 Team-Ferrari
    20. Chilton, 21. Frijns
    Frijns replaces Bianchi after the Sauber seat is taken by him.

    Caterham F1 Team-Renault
    22. Pic, 23. Rossi
    Rossi gets a promotion after a solid GP2 season, in place of van der Garde.


    No particular order…

    Ferrari Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa/Mark Webber (continuity in a time of big change, but Massa’s final year at Ferrari OR Webber finally takes up Ferrari’s offer and sees out his final year there. Hulkenberg, on the other hand, has a 2015 seat guaranteed if he stays with Sauber in the meantime)
    Red Bull Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo (After the Key effect starts to sink in at STR, Ricciardo bags a few decent results towards the end of the year)
    Mercedes Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton
    Lotus Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Nasr
    McLaren Jenson Button, Sergio Perez
    Force India Jules Bianchi, Adrian Sutil (Force India fail to renew Di Resta’s contract, and instead takes up offer of Mercedes third driver).
    Sauber Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez
    Williams Valtteri Bottas, Pastor Maldonado
    Toro Rosso Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix Da Costa
    Marussia Stefano Colletti, Daddy’s Boy
    Caterham Alexander Rossi, Charles Pic


    Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo
    Ferrari: Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg
    Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean
    Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg
    Sauber: Stefano Coletti, Robin Frijns
    Force India: Jules Bianchi, Adrian Sutil
    Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne, Antonio Felix da Costa
    Williams: Valtteri Bottas, Pastor Maldonado
    McLaren: Jenson Button, Sergio Perez
    Marussia: Max Chilton, Fabio Leimer
    Caterham: Any combination of Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic and Alexander Rossi


    Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo
    Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
    Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen and Charles Pic
    Mercedes: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
    McLaren: Jenson Button and Sergio Perez
    Force India: Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil
    Sauber: Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez
    Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix Da Costa
    Williams: Pastor Maldonado and Valterri Bottas
    Marussia: Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton
    Caterham: Robin Frijns and Giedo van der Garde

    I expect more changes in 2015/2016 than next year to be honest, and most of my changes depend on Lotus deciding that Grosjean isn’t worth it, Total wanting another French driver in the seat, and of course Caterham deciding to go down Marussia’s path and hire a very talented rookie.

    Felipe Bomeny

    I’ll try as well:

    1. Vettel, 2. Ricciardo

    After a close duel between Red Bull juniors Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne, the former is promoted, in part due to his marketable image. The ousted Romain Grosjean signs on as the reserve.

    3. Alonso, 4. Hulkenberg

    Nico Hulkeneberg finally receives his big break after his tough year with Sauber.

    5. Raikkonen, 6. Bianchi

    Kimi Raikkonen remains at Lotus, where he has built the team around him. Unable to afford Renault engines, Lotus sign for Ferrari engines and along with them, Jules Bianchi.

    7. Rosberg, 8. Hamilton
    With Sam Bird being promoted to Force India, Jazeman Jaafar fills his role.

    9. Sutil, 10. Bird
    It’s an all-Mercedes affair for the Indian team. Di Resta becomes a Mercedes reserve after being beaten by Sutil at the end of 2013. Robert Wickens signs as a reserve.

    11. Button, 12. Perez

    14. Vergne, 15. Felix da Costa
    (Sainz Jr. as the reserve)

    16. Gutierrez, 17. Frijns
    (Nico Müller signs as the reserve)

    18. Bottas, 19. Nasr

    After being outperformed by his rookie teammate, Pastor Maldonado is overlooked in favor of Felipe Nasr. Valterri Bottas remains as his teammate as he looks toward a future Mercedes F1 switch. Meanwhile, Maldonado joins EJ Viso’s Team Venezuela effort in IndyCar. Daniel Juncadella signs as the reserve.

    20. Chilton, 21. Coletti

    GP2 frontrunner Coletti partners Max Chilton at Marussia. Raffaele Maricelo, the F3 Euro champ, signs on as the third driver in anticipation of a future Ferrari switch.

    22. Pic, 23. Rossi

    Alexander Rossi’s GE backing is instrumental in his signing to the F1 team. Renault man Charles Pic remains with the Anglo-Malaysian squad.


    @portugoose That is my dream line-up!!!


    Mind you, going for F1 Racing/tabloid kind of silly season things here.

    Infiniti Red Bull Racing
    1. Sebastian Vettel
    2. Daniel Ricciardo
    Marko and co. liked both STR drivers, but Vergne was asked to stay behind at STR by Renault. Mark Webber doesn’t announce retirement, nor a new deal, making the entire affair reek of the 2011/2 deals at Toro Rosso. Webber gets mouthy on Twitter.

    Scuderia Ferrari
    3. Fernando Alonso
    4. Nico Hülkenberg
    Nico’s showings in an underperforming Sauber earned him this seat, as Ferrari plans to develop him as a #1 driver once Alonso retires.

    7up Lotus Renault
    5. Kimi Räikkönen
    6. Romain Grosjean
    In a shock announcement, the Coca-Cola group boosts its sponsorship by pushing 7up, leading to British Racing Green Lotuses for the first time in 2 years. Grosjean is held as Renault decides the re-branding at Red Bull does go too far for them and bombard him to be the next French WDC as support. Kimi hails these developments as ‘okay’.

    Mercedes AMG F1 Team
    7. Nico Rosberg
    8. Lewis Hamilton
    Mercedes lose Petronas after the tyre test scandal and fail to find a new title sponsor. However, due to improving results and only missing out on 3rd in the constructor’s due to a Monaco DSQ for that championship only, Daimler decides to commit themselves until 2017 regardless of sponsorship.

    Tata Force India Mercedes
    9. Paul di Resta
    10. Adrian Sutil
    Being satisfied with both drivers, both drivers being satisfied with their team, they held on through a rocky period in which both Sahara and Kingfisher fell through, and the team was put up for sale. Work continued, Tata Motors stepped in and held on to the team name for monetary benefits.

    Claro McLaren Mercedes
    11. Sergio Perez
    12. Jenson Button
    McLaren get Claro sponsorship and lazily run the same color scheme as with Vodafone, simply replacing logos.

    Toro Rosso Renault
    14. Jean-Eric Vergne
    15. A.Felix da Costa
    Da Costa gets a go, despite a disappointing season in FR3.5. Red Bull’s immediate response is to put him in an F1 car.

    Sauber Petronas F1 Team
    16. Jules Bianchi
    17. Robin Frijns
    With Slim’s money going to McLaren, Guccierez is dropped, citing under-performance. Bianchi gets a deal regardless of his Ferrari links, with Marussia and Sauber going to court over his contract. Frijns steps in after swooning the team.

    McGregor Caterham Renault
    18. Charles Pic
    19. Giedo van der Garde
    Both drivers scoring points in an incident-filled Belgium Grand Prix leads to them overtaking Williams, Giedo-mania in the Netherlands and promptly causes McGregor to become title sponsor, ensuring VDG’s drive, while Pic remains Renault’s pick.

    Williams F1 Mercedes
    20. Valtteri Bottas
    21. Sam Bird
    No more money from Venezuela means Maldonado gets the sack after scoring 0 points. Bottas gets another chance, as well as Sam Bird, per Mercedes’ request.

    Marussia F1 Team
    22. Max Chilton
    23. Felipe Nasr / Mikhail Aleshin
    Chilton keeps his seas courtesy of his ’30’ sponsors, Nasr is brought in for Brazilian money and talent. It is however announced he will have to share with Mikhail Aleshin for at least the Russian GP and 2 beforehand.


    @npf1 Nice idea with 7-Up, but that’s a Pepsi brand. The Coke equivalent is Sprite. I like a Sauber-Petronas reunion as well, although that would be a step down for Petronas.


    @Journeyer I’d like to throw that one on the ‘tabloid’ speculation, but I honestly don’t know how I mixed that up! Sprite could use some marketing too I guess.

    As far as Petronas goes, their Sauber livery is a classic and I think it’d get some neat attention, but of course not as much as Mercedes. But then, the Monaco constructors DSQ doesn’t seem very likely either, but I had to make up something. ;)

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