Silly season: 2014 F1 driver market

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    Autosport reporting that Magnussen is getting closer to the second Mclaren seat:


    Lucas Wilson

    I think that’s a bit unfair to Perez. Get rid of Button (one of my favourite drivers, but realistically, he is going nowhere).


    Here’s an idea I had; Imagine Felipe Massa doesn’t find a seat for 2014. How big are the odds Ferrari re-signs him as a test/reserve driver?

    As for Magnussen; it’s such a wide-spread rumor, it’s starting to become one of those ‘absolutely true or absolutely false’ rumors we often see in F1.


    Ditch both and go for Magnussen and Vandoorne, they’re the team’s future!

    Bradley Downton

    I don’t see why everyone is trashing Perez so much. He’s not been that much worse than Button and it’s his first season in a big team (albeit the team haven’t had big performances).

    Antonio Nartea

    McLaren either know something and are looking to bring Button, Brawn and Honda in the same sentence again, or they are simply emotionally incapable of sending Jenson home with a retirement cheque in his hand.

    Now really, as much as I think Magnussen deserves a seat, I also think Perez went from being slightly overrated to being massively underrated in less than one year… McLaren asked him for a miracle in that car and he couldn’t deliver, but that doesn’t mean he can’t drive a car fast around a track for god’s sake. At least give him a decent drive for a couple of races and see what he’s capable of, instead of dismissing him like this…

    The saddest part is that if they ditch Perez this late in the “transfer window” it’s a career breaker, really. McLaren did nothing other than take a driver off the market. Perez won’t find a decent seat for next season, in my opinion.

    Bottom line, yes, Magnussen should get a McLaren drive. Button’s. Not Perez’s.

    Iestyn Davies

    I can see the arguments behind the points on offer, and probably considered them all as a potential point of view at some point recently. But now I want to look at this plainly from McLaren’s angle. They were set to offer Perez 2014 after an impressive Indian GP. But then he was slower in Abu Dhabi. Jenson could have finished above Paul Di Resta on pure pace if it were not for his front wing loss on lap 1. Whereas Sergio barely beat Adrian Sutil, who was struggling on a one stop strategy, a considerable distance behind PDR. He was lucky retirements got him 10th place in the end.

    McLaren know Hamilton was usually ahead of Button on pace and almost half the time Perez is as well, so McLaren aren’t doubting his pace – just his inconsistency. Look at Webber, Rosberg, Grosjean or Massa all to some degree this year – if McLaren had a great car next year (ha!) an inconsistent team-mate might lose them WCC places. Button is always consistent and the stand-out of the midfield, along with Hulkenberg, followed by Di Resta (for all his mistakes and team errors costing both drivers), and Ricciardo too (hence RB drive, Vergne having many car problems). After that Bottas and Bianchi to some extent, but there is less focus on the back of the grid for talent picking (only your own driver to see how he compares, like Ferrari/Bianchi). For 2014, the under-performing drivers of the top teams – Webber/Massa are now retiring/have been let go. Massa’s form has gradually dropped off from 2010/post-accident, but maybe this is just age or repercussions. But Massa has always struggled to get pace from a car not to his liking, but is quite good at car development it seems (2012 got better as it went on for him, 2008 etc.), so could be good for a team like Williams next year. This gives chances to the stand-outs like Ricciardo, Hulkenberg etc. to move up. While others (Perez, Sutil, Gutierrez) are left scrambling about for seats, like Kobayashi was last year after his first inconsistent season.

    Hulkenberg was the consistent driver from the midfield last year, and brought back his pace as the year developed from his year off. He could have gotten a win or two in last year’s Sauber, and probably 5 podiums at least with his consistency. He almost got FI above Sauber single-handedly in Brazil! RB even copied many things from the Sauber through the season, as Newey admitted this week – so it was a car easily capable of challenging Mercedes for 5th, but both teams suffered from inconsistency/efficiency issues. McLaren shot themselves in the foot by going for Perez too early and taking into account commercial considerations. Perez could have benefitted from another year in the midfield to hone his consistency less in the spotlight, and thrashing Gutierrez would have kept his reputation high. But maybe McLaren knew their strong juniors could mean they could ‘afford’ to take a chance on a rough diamond for 2013..

    So to Magnussen – McLaren know him well and have seen him flourish this year after taking a year to adapt to FR 3.5 and gain consistency – the key thing they want. He always had the pace, but has been developing consistency gradually throughout his career. At 21, any chance of yips are probably gone, and Magnussen is arguably the best driver outside of F1 at this very moment, as even Valsecchi notes. Now it seems both could get an F1 chance. Whitmarsh noted on his 3rd lap of Abu Dhabi, Magnussen would have gotten 6th on the grid at that years race. He’s similar to the top F1 drivers, with his only down year coming in 2012 FR 3.5 (still with wins and around a 5th place championship finish, a la Hulkenberg, Hamilton, Rosberg etc. who had these ‘yips/adaptation’ years in F3 instead), and if McLaren know he will outperform Perez (and no money is forthcoming from Mexico, with title sponsorship incoming from GlaxoSmithKline instead), then they will make the switch in the team’s best interest.

    For Perez it is unfortunate, but where will he end up? His inconsistent showing late last year at Sauber burned that bridge, but surely they would take him above Esteban Gutierrez? If there is only enough Mexican money for the one driver now, surely it would go behind Perez as well. This could be bad news for 2011 GP3 Champion Gutierrez (who has also been inconsistent this year, but is a second year pace shower mainly in his career up till now, with Chilton being a third season grower! Ahoy 2015!). Maybe Sutil/Petrov-Sirotkin while they look to survive 2014. Force India are still looking for drivers, and maybe this could pit Perez vs. Di Resta, a very interesting battle (both have similar strengths), one which Di Resta looked to have shaded in Abu Dhabi… but if Perez can bring any backing, that could again tip the scales in his favour… Else he needs to hope that the Russian money/title sponsorship fails to materialise, but the stories about Di Resta looking elsewhere won’t go away, maybe he knows the writing (Bring Cash!) is on the wall… Will it be a case of picking 4 from a money list of: Maldonado, Petrov, Sutil, Perez, Di Resta, Gutierrez?

    Rick Lopez

    Massa is going to williams and maldonado will go to sauber or force india. trust me


    I will be absolutely livid if McLaren drop Perez, I can’t tell you. It would be such a knee-jerk reaction to drop him which I wouldn’t expect from McLaren. Button has been in the wars recently while Perez has kept himself away from trouble to put McLaren a safe distance ahead of Force India, which could be worth around £9m (?).
    I think Perez is a Button replacement, and then someone like Hulkenberg or Magnussen could be a Hamilton replacement. Button is the one who should be dropped because he won’t be getting any better although I think that would be slightly unfair as well. I cannot convey how disappointed with McLaren I will be if this story is true.

    Omar R

    Do you want a “super silly” idea?
    Ferrari 2014. Both Alonso and Kimi can’t recover from their back problems, so they have to find other drivers midseason. They go for Hulkenberg and Bianchi.
    Stupid idea, but who knows…


    Assuming Valsecchi is replacing Raikkonen for the remaining two races, if he manages to surprise the team and be on par with Grosjean, how much could he get into contention for the vacant seat left by Raikkonen? We all know that Hulkenberg is the favourite to take the seat, but it would make things a tad more interesting concerning the driver market for next year.

    Piotr Koteryl

    Who thinks that Hulkenberg might make an early move over to Lotus to replace Raikkonen for these final two races? Pure speculation, of course, but what part of Silly Season isn’t?


    I think it’s unlikely at this point. The teams already have their cars in Austin, he would have to do a seat-fitting, cancel his Sauber media appearances, Lotus would have to adjust Kimi’s car for Hulkenberg’s length, Sauber would probably not agree, even if the contracts aren’t in order and it looks like the Quantum deal is falling through, so he would burn a bridge for the 2014 season.

    There are some people on Twitter reading far too much in the mention of Kevin Magnussen in a new article on McLaren’s website..

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I don’t. Why would Sauber willingly disrupt their own season for the sake of letting Hulkenberg race for a team he hasn’t even signed with when he is the only driver capable of continuing Sauber’s WCC challenge?


    Has the Quantum deal fallen through (again)? What is going on with that team at the moment?

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