Silly Season: 2015 F1 Driver Market

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    Bradley Downton

    @full-throttle-f1 – Unfortunately I can’t really see any other options. As I mentioned, Haas running the first female driver for years would probably attract the sponsors, but the list of other possibilities is quite short:
    Adrian Sutil – Possibility purely on experience, but unlikely in my view.
    Kamui Kobayashi – Same as Sutil.
    Esteban Gutierrez – Slightly more probable.
    Pastor Maldonado – I hope not.
    I can’t really see any of the GP2/FR3.5 drivers fitting in either, so that doesn’t leave many people. Unless they decide to try and move someone over from Indycar, or bring Montoya back, although I think the latter is highly unlikely.
    Or they could decide to bring someone back to F1, Alguersuari, Kovalainen, Glock etc, although again I find this unlikely. @mathers even suggested Villeneuve! O.o

    With Danica they know her because they run her in Nascar. That would surely help when setting up a new team and as I said, the first female racing (not test) driver for years is likely to attract sponsors. I should imagine GoDaddy primarily.

    Personally, if they do take Mercedes engines, I’d like to see them take Sam Bird alongside Rossi. I think that would be a very strong pairing.


    Nightmare mode: Haas and Forza Rossa don’t make it onto the grid, Caterham and Marussia fold, Red Bull withdraws.

    Lewis Hamilton
    Nico Rosberg
    Daniel Ricciardo

    McLaren Honda
    Jenson Button
    Kevin Magnussen
    Stoffel Vandoorne

    Fernando Alonso
    Kimi Raikkonen
    Sebastian Vettel

    Force India
    Nico Hulkenberg
    Sergio Perez
    Daniel Abt

    Felipe Massa
    Vatteri Bottas
    Felipe Nasr

    Esteban Gutierrez
    Jules Bianchi
    Sergey Sirotkin

    Romain Grosjean
    Pastor Maldonado
    Jean-Eric Vergne


    I see no reason to believe Haas will adopt an all-American team approach. I’ve also read they already have facilities in Belgium, which would presumably serve as the F1 base.

    Anyway, my predicted lineup, optimistically presuming that all 13 teams will make it:

    Red Bull Renault – neither team nor drivers see any reason to change
    S. Vettel
    D. Ricciardo

    Mercedes – same as Red Bull
    L. Hamilton
    N. Rosberg

    Ferrari – Hulk finally gets his chance in a top team after Kimi gets bored again. Alonso pursues a more competitive seat but fails
    F. Alonso
    N. Hulkenberg

    Lotus Renault – same as before
    R. Grosjean
    P. Maldonado

    McLaren Honda – same as before
    J. Button
    K. Magnussen

    Force India Mercedes – Bianchi moves forward
    S. Perez
    J. Bianchi

    Sauber Ferrari – Sutil fades out, along with the Sirotkin deal
    E. Gutierrez
    K. Sato

    Williams Mercedes – no changes
    F. Massa
    V. Bottas

    Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault – Félix da Costa gets promoted
    D. Kvyat
    A. Félix da Costa

    The-team-formerly-known-as-Marussia Honda (can’t even predict what these guys will be called next year) – forms partnerships with McLaren and Honda and thus becomes a proving ground for their protégés
    S. Vandoorne
    T. Izawa

    Caterham Renault – Kobayashi is narrowly selected to stay on with Rossi receiving a promotion
    K. Kobayashi
    A. Rossi

    Haas Formula Ferrari – Ferrari partnership is formed, chooses the well-funded GvdG along with GP2 winner turned Ferrari sportscar racer Calado
    G. van der Garde
    J. Calado

    Forza Rossa Mercedes – again, chooses some better-funded options
    F. Nasr
    J. Leal

    Lucas Wilson

    Surely Marussia can’t be known as Marussia next year? They will have to change it.


    Well, Lotus cars stopped sponsoring Lotus F1 Team officially and they’re still called Lotus. Slim chance they’ll go back to using Manor, if no ‘title’ sponsor is found.

    Lucas Wilson

    But Lotus exists as a car maker. It is pointless for a back marker team to run under the name of a operation that does not even exist anymore.


    They’re owned by a ‘Marrussia communications’ now, at that, they could just adopt the name. Plenty of former F1 teams were named after something random. McLaren hasn’t been owned by someone with the last name McLaren in ages too.

    If they finish 10th in the standings, they’ll probably include Marussia regardless, in the same way Sauber was named BMW Sauber in 2010 (thanks, Bernie!).


    Some of these are expected, others not so…
    Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
    1. Hamilton
    6. Rosberg

    Infiniti Red Bull Racing F1 Team-Renault
    5. Vettel
    3. Ricciardo

    Scuderia Ferrari
    7. Raikkonen
    27. Hulkenberg

    Movistar McLaren Honda
    14. Alonso
    22. Button

    Sahara Force India F1 Team-Mercedes
    11. Perez
    77. Bottas

    Williams Martini Racing-Mercedes
    19. Massa
    40. Nasr

    Lotus F1 Team-Renault
    8. Grosjean
    13. Maldonado

    Scuderia Cepsa Toro Rosso-Renault
    26. Kvyat

    Sauber F1 Team-Ferrari
    99. Sutil
    17. Bianchi

    Super Aguri F1 Team-Honda (formerly Marussia)
    20. Magnussen

    Caterham F1 Team-Renault
    10. Kobayashi
    46. Frijns

    Haas Ford F1 Team
    21. Gutierrez


    – Lewis Hamilton
    – Nico Rosberg

    – Jenson Button
    – Kevin Magnussen

    Red Bull
    – Daniel Ricciardo
    – Sebastian Vettel

    Williams – Massa loses out significantly to Bottas while Nasr dominates GP2
    – Valtteri Bottas
    – Felipe Nasr

    Force India
    – Nico Hülkenberg
    – Sergio Perez

    Ferrari – Räikkönen gets bored with the team’s struggles and retires, Hülkenberg gets snubbed yet again
    – Fernando Alonso
    – Jules Bianchi

    Toro Rosso
    – Jean-Eric Vergne
    – Daniil Kvyat

    Lotus – Maldonado gets fed up with Lotus only scoring points once by each driver and leaves for Indycar to fight the Colombians, Kobayashi gets a decent seat
    – Romain Grosjean
    – Kamui Kobayashi

    Sauber – the team sends away the always complaining Sutil, vdG brings the money needed as Sirotkin gets only a single podium in FR3.5
    – Esteban Gutierrez
    – Giedo van der Garde

    Marussia – Chilton doesn’t get a seat after 38 uncompetitive race finishes without retirements, Stoneman dominates the GP3 field (remember, he’s in a Marussia car there) as Vandoorne comes third to Nasr and Palmer in GP2 and McLaren asks for space for him
    – Dean Stoneman
    – Stoffel Vandoorne

    Caterham – Stevens (Caterham academy driver) dominates FR3.5, Palmer comes 2nd in GP2 as Ericsson leaves after a disappointing season
    – Will Stevens
    – Jolyon Palmer

    Haas – they need an American driver, so Rossi gets one seat after a decent season in GP2 and Haas nicks him from Caterham, as Wickens wins DTM and gets the last seat as another North American
    – Alexander Rossi
    – Robert Wickens

    No other teams get a license for 2015.

    Iestyn Davies

    Nightmare mode sounds interesting..

    Di Resta

    Red Bull
    Buemi/Felix da Costa/Vergne (‘yeah, right..’ says Marko!)



    Force India



    Toro Rosso
    Sainz Jr

    Sauber (or Lotus), Caterham and Marussia would have folded under this scenario. From this pool of sudden available drivers, it would be Maldonado buying a seat to continue in F1 (unless his Venezuelan cash runs out), with some of the highly sponsored team drivers staying on. If there are only 9 teams, then I suppose RB and Toro Rosso could just run 2 cars each etc. or a compromise agreement could come together, possibly even no third cars until 4 more come onto the grid in 2016 or mid-2015 from the two new teams.

    Van der Garde


    £££ or Ellinas. Hardest to predict (or first one to go bankrupt.. leaving Chilton searching for a new team to back)

    Now, speculation will also have to start for the newest team on the horizon, absent from my last guess:

    Forza Rossa

    Contenders could be other Ferrari juniors and any Romanian drivers ready in a few years time, like Visoiu. Until then, well there are a lot of drivers around with backing (like the HRT drivers last selected by Kolles for example), with the odd raw talent coming to fruition like Will Stevens (Caterham Junior) in FR 3.5. But where can he go with Kobayashi, Frijns and Ericsson in front of him in the queue?? At the present moment, only Frijns could possibly get anywhere without bringing lumps of cash in tow… and ask Paul di Resta how that route is going.. his best hope is a Mercedes 3rd seat in the nightmare scenario!

    Iestyn Davies

    Part of me also wonders whether many of the drivers severely affected by weight loss this year will make it back onto the 2015 grid. Sutil could throw the towel in (and he’s the wrong side of 30), Button could retire to hand a place to his ‘protege’ Vandoorne, and Vergne could simply be ousted for the next RB Junior like Sainz Jr. Ericsson would have his reputation in tatters and perhaps his sponsorship would thus run out, leaving him replaced by Frijns.

    2015 could also be the final seasons for veterans like Raikkonen, Massa, and Button, if he fulfils Honda’s wishes to have a WDC driver lead the team. This would leave Alonso as the ‘grand-daddy’ of the grid, until he retires soon after and passes this mantle on to Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel (and Maldonado/van der Garde if they are still around). I hope Hulkenberg and Grosjean finally have a race win by then, although it’s highly likely that Ricciardo at least will have scored a debut win by then as well.


    Considering the so called “Silly Season and Money Talks”, here´s my Predictions for 2015 F1 Drivers:

    1) AMG Petronas-MERCEDES => Hamilton, Rosberg
    2) REB BULL-Renault => Ricciardo, Grosjean
    3) WILLIAMS-Mercedes => Massa, Bottas
    4) Scuderia FERRARI => Vettel, Raikkonen
    5) McLAREN-Honda => Alonso, Button
    6) Sahara FORCE INDIA-Mercedes => Hulkenberg, Peres
    7) GenII LOTUS-Mercedes => Maldonado, Sutil (Jerome D’Ambrosio)
    8) STR / CEPSA -Renault => Kvyat, Sainz Jr
    9) SAUBER – Ferrari => Bianchi, Gutierrez (VdG)
    10) CATERHAM -Renault => Frijins, DaCosta
    11) Marussia – Ferrari => Max Chilton, Magnussen or Vandoorne

    Feel free to share with us you thoughts.

    Craig Woollard

    I can’t see any of the following teams changing their drivers: Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Force India.

    It’s Sauber which is the interesting one really. It looks like any two of at least five drivers have a realistic shout at getting a seat there for 2015.


    Current realistic/boring expectations:


    Red Bull


    (I’d say there is a 33% chance they drop Massa for Nasr.)

    Force India

    (Boullier makes his move, Button goes fishing with Brawn and Withmarsh.

    Toro Rosso
    (Verstappen is too young and moves into Sainz’ FR3.5 seat. Sainz moves only if he wins the FR3.5 championship, if not I can see Vergne being retained. IF Gasly beats Sainz somehow, I can see him making the move.)

    (People keep mentioning their test driver(s), I think Vergne would be a much more logical pick.)

    (Sauber seems to have dropped the ball monumentally, Ferrari decide to keep Bianchi where he’s at. They replace one British cash cow with another.)

    -de Silvestro
    (Despite all the rumors, Sauber keep Gutierrez because there’s a Mexican GP. de Silvestro simply outbids VDG and Sirotkin.)

    -Don’t know
    -Don’t care


    Max Verstappen confirmed with Toro Rosso: http://www.verstappen.nl/?locatie=bericht&x=1&id=8713&lang=en

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