Silly season: 2014 F1 driver market

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    Yeah, it’s here: https://twitter.com/EnigmaF1/status/402836165398519808

    @andae23 made one (or a few) beforehand by himself as well, so it might have been his or ours, depends on which was shown.

    Thanks a lot for letting us know.


    Robin Frijns being ambiguous to Dutch media has led to the idea he might sign for Caterham. No real rumor, though.

    Joe Saward posted some talk about Gutierrez being rumored to go to Marussia.

    This silly season ain’t over yet!


    Interesting that Joe’s gone off the Sutil-to-Sauber idea a bit – he alone was writing about it a couple of months ago. But I was intrigued by Ted Kravitz’s Notebook in which Ted wandered into a gathering at Sauber featuring Sutil’s girlfriend, Monisha Kaltenborn and some glasses of champagne. Not that he wanted us to read too much into it. Of course not… Maybe they were just being friendly. I still think Sutil’s never changed F1 teams because nobody else is interested.



    I have no idea how reliable this source is, but they claim Maldonado really wanted to go to Sauber, not Lotus. PDVSA won’t have it, as a deal with Total has been agreed – but will only go through if the Quantum deal does. If this is true, then suddenly, everything isn’t looking so peachy for our Venezuelan…

    Bradley Downton

    @electrolite – If that’s true, then god damn it it’s the best news I’ve heard in a while! :D

    Iestyn Davies

    The interesting question this raises is: If there is no Quantum, and Hulk, Perez and Maldonado all move to Force India and Sauber, who will Lotus sign? Gutierrez? Di Resta? Kovalainen? Sutil is also in at FI/Sauber.. Time to turn to the Russians? Petrov? Gazprom? Vitaly did say to Lopez that he was up for deputising for Kimi for 2 races…


    I’m going to buy every piece of Caterham merchandise on sale if Van Der Garde and Frijns are signed for next year.


    If there is a Rossi/Ericsson/Frijns move to Caterham next year, Charles Pic maybe? I don’t really know anyone else who could fill in…
    Except for:


    @roald Green and orange livery ;)?


    If there is no Quantum or PDVSA deal, could that spell the end for Lotus? Unless a certain manufacturer jumps in at the last minute… or another deal is signed (one of substance unlike Quantum).


    I have quite a bad feeling about Lotus. Which would be a massive shame for Grosjean if they prove to either be uncompetitive or dissolve completely – but it’s a bit early to be saying that.

    Prisoner Monkeys

    The problem Lotus face is that they have the complex and convoluted history with Lotus. They are no longer affiliated with the company, but have the rights to use the name until 2017. The confusing situation is a deterrant to any investor who wants to get involved. They need to establish an identity for themselves, something that has been seriously lacking since Genii got involved.

    Honestly, they should be calling Igor Mazepa right about now. He bought into iSport and Russian Time won the GP2 title first time out. They have connections to Motopark Academy, and can tap into all manner of promising drivers. Perhaps they shouldn’t rename themselves “Russian Time F1”, but they can benefit from it.


    I think Eddie Jordan’s prediction will be accurate but still desperately hoping that Lotus will get the cash injection they need and sign Hulkenberg. In this case a line-up like the following would be perhaps most likely:

    Lotus: GRO + HUL
    Force India: PER + DIR
    Sauber: MAL + SUT

    I think this would be great because it would help us answer exactly how good Di Resta, Sutil, Maldonado and Grosjean all are (drivers that have generally been in the same team or up against the same teammate for most of their careers). Probably not going to happen, though. :(

    Iestyn Davies

    The thing is, from past results in the junior ladder, we know how well they compared (to each other at least) a few years back: Hulkenberg beat Grosjean, Maldonado and Perez in his debut GP2 year (and Formula BMW for Perez as well, but both times they were ‘learning years’ for a young Checo, while Hulkenberg had his only ‘learning year’ in Euro F3, where he came 5th, winning a championship in every other year – F.BMW, Euro F3, A1GP, GP2), while Di Resta we can compare in F1 to Sutil and Hulkenberg (right now he is better than Sutil, but not as good as Hulkenberg); Sutil loses out by losing to Di Resta, similarly to Gutierrez being handily beaten by Hulkenberg (admittedly his rookie year, he’s now quite close and only a few tenths off in Q with OK race pace).

    Maldonado and Hulkenberg also both raced with Barrichello at Williams, and car differences aside, both got up to speed matching him (and Hulk got a pole in Brazil 2010, with Pastor a strong Monaco run). So the main variable is how strong Perez has gotten now, and if we compare him with Button, to Hamilton, to Sutil in F3 (runner-up to Lewis), we can say he would best Sutil (maybe that’s quite obvious though!) at least, and probably be getting close to Di Resta come season end. But he has time and potential on his side..
    The main problem now is that the pecking order is influenced by money! Either the drivers’ or the teams’ deals!

    Maldonado – £25m, depends on how much is left, after paying off Williams for 2 more years. PDVSA want Lotus, Pastor Sauber.
    Perez – £10m (Gutierrez, not sure, but surely the leftovers of a Telmex deal), aiming at Force India or Sauber.
    Hulkenberg – £0m, waiting for Quantum or a Force India/Sauber seat.
    Grosjean – Total backing for Lotus.
    Bianchi – Ferrari engine subsidy at Marussia.
    Sutil – Medion, Capri-Sun, Mercedes engine subsidy, most likely for Force India, possibly Sauber (except the engine bit?).
    VDG – McGregor backing, at the moment with Caterham.
    Pic – Renault engine subsidy for Caterham.
    Chilton – £10m Aon sponsorship for Marussia.
    Di Resta – £0m, hoping for a seat at Force India, or a top team to realise what they are missing out on.

    So the vulnerable 5 are Gutierrez and the bottom 4, who could be replaced by someone with comparable backing. Hence the rumours about Gutierrez to Marussia (Chilton) and Ericsson, Rossi, Vandoorne at Caterham. We haven’t even added Kovalainen – £0m to the list! Never mind guys like Valsecchi, Razia, Bird (Mercedes engine subsidy?), Nasr (Banco do Brasil), Petrov (Gazprom), Sirotkin (Russian engineering department), Leimer, Coletti, Felix da Costa….. But at least we know that the top 6 are probably in a seat in any combination. Even Kobayashi can’t get a look in with a £6.5m sponsor package donated by Japanese crowd funding (£1.5m!) to kick-start Japanese company interest! Or Senna with more money than Chilton (he didn’t want to hang around in back-marker teams any longer!)!


    Can anybody explain me why Hulkenberg has no backing if he’s so good? Does he have a manager? Or why on Earth there isn’t a manager eager to have him under his wing (as the potential profit that Hulk would pay off if he keeps improving)?


    His agent/manager used to be Weber (who managed Sxchumi) but I’m sure he got rid of him a while back and I can’t recall who is managing him now. A manager isn’t always necessary – I’m sure Seb Vettel doesn’t have one. Hulk probably doesn’t have much money behind him because there’s beena fair few successful Germans in recent years so he’s not really unique, the recession is starting to bite F1 and any sponsorship would need to be in the millions so he may well have some backing but nowhere near enough to compete with the likes of Pastor. This is merely the result of a sport which has very few limits on spending.

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