Silly Season: 2015 F1 Driver Market

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    The Vettel/McLaren Honda rumour makes a lot of sense to me. Ron Dennis will be looking to put a superstar into one of their cars – I’m sure Kmag will be that star one day, but he’s still not on the same level as the top guys. I can’t see Alonso retuning to McLaren just yet. Vettel seems a little less excited about being a Red Bull driver these days and I’m sure he still has a desire to drive for one of the “historic top teams”. I wonder if Seb knows something about the future plans of Adrian Newey that we don’t? Does anyone know if Adrian is on a long term contract with RB? Maybe it is just another silly season rumour, but the Vettel/McLaren 2015 tie-up seems completely fathomable.

    Iestyn Davies

    The VDG news is entirely believable – he might bring the most cash, alongside Gutierrez. Maybe he was too late to secure the seat for 2014? Although, if Sutil continues to fall behind on sponsor payments, they might usher Giedo in before the end of the season.

    Bradley Downton

    It’s been fairly common knowledge that it’s highly likely van der Garde will be driving for Sauber next season for a while now. In place of whom though I’ve no idea. Initial thoughts would be they should drop Sutil and Gutierrez, but I remember something not long ago about Sutil all but confirming he was staying next season?

    Meanwhile, I wonder how this Rosberg-Hamilton squabble at Mercedes could affect the driver market? Surely if it kicks off more-so it will drive a wedge between the team and one of the drivers? If this happens what would be the result, would one leave? Could we see Hamilton in a shock return to McLaren?


    Of all the rumours, the only one which make sense to me, is Hamilton to Mclaren.
    That makes Vettel to Mercedes a viable option, and Kvyat to Red Bull a logical choice.
    That leaves room for Sainz at Torro Rosso.

    Bradley Downton

    I can see 2015 shaping up something like this:

    Red Bull




    Force India

    Toro Rosso



    van der Garde
    de Silvestro

    Sainz Jr


    Do people really see Hamilton walking out of Mercedes this fast? It won’t say much for his ability to fight against adversity if he quits this soon. Same with Vettel; would say more about him if he stuck it out with Red Bull during a hard season, and started afresh with them in 2015.

    Bradley Downton

    Thinking about it more it’s unlikely, but it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to me if he did. Being in a team that’s so soft with management that’s such a pushover, and having such a ruthless teammate is surely not what anyone wants, despite it being the fastest car. I can see a gamble taking place that the Honda will be even better than the Mercedes engine, and Hamilton jumping ship. Heck, he got it right once before when going the other way…


    The van der Garde rumors have been going on for a while, but he was also rumored to drive for them in Hockenheim and has been linked to Marussia for 2011, and Williams in 2012 and 2013. Frankly, Giedo has Jos Verstappen-like rumors in the Dutch media, rather than Max Verstappen-like rumors.

    I doubt Sauber will frop Gutierrez. He has been in front of Sutil at some interesting points during this season and there’s a Mexican GP next year.

    Iestyn Davies

    True.. Sutil and Gutierrez are in the car now because their sponsorships are the most reliable. But now we’ve seen the first cracks in Sutil’s, if this delay in payment is true. VDG is the reserve, as his comes in fits and starts, but usually something pops up (if not the megabucks that would have had him in F1 years ago, and still racing this year). Sirotkin has something, but who knows what will happen with Russian money for next year, while de Silvestro has enough for Indycar, but F1 is a whole new ballgame, hence this year spent learning the car and trying to get more sponsorship together.

    Ben Needham

    I don’t think we’ll see too many changes at the top end of the grid, unless one of the Mercedes drivers decides he can’t work with the other/the team. I like the Vettel to McLaren rumours as I’d love to see him try his luck elsewhere… as well as free a Red Bull seat for Vergne or Kvyat?

    If Rosberg or Hamilton leaves, then I struggle to see where they would go? Red Bull have a queue of drivers, so if a seat became vacant there it would surely go to one of their young drivers now that Ricciardo has been shown to be beyond competent.

    Would Nico or Lewis want to go to Ferrari? Probably not, especially with Alonso there (assuming Kimi would be the one to vacate). McLaren? It’s a gamble, but a possibility. The only other realistic option is Williams, who could look to replace the ever more accident-prone Massa. In reality I think the best option for Mercedes, for Lewis, for Nico and for F1 is for them to stay put.

    My current prediction:
    Mercedes: Hamilton, Rosberg
    Red Bull: Ricciardo, Vettel
    Ferrari: Alonso, Raikkonen
    Williams: Bottas, Massa
    McLaren: Hulkenberg, Magnussen
    Force India: Perez, Grosjean
    Toro Rosso: Kvyat, Verstappen
    Lotus: Vergne, Maldonado
    Marussia: Bianchi, Rossi
    Sauber: Gutierrez, van der Garde
    Caterham: $$$, $$$

    Iestyn Davies

    @ben-n In that situation, I think it’s more likely that we would see Grosjean go to McLaren from Boullier’s push to get him and Hulkenberg passed over AGAIN for one more year, before Ferrari finally make a call to pick him or Bianchi to replace Raikkonen. The Force India car tailing off at the end of this year (like most years), won’t help him, as it didn’t for di Resta last year, when the tyre change wrecked the chance they had of beating McLaren.

    If Hulk continues to push so hard to make up for this (getting past Vettel at Hungary FTW), then there might be more mistakes creeping in, as also happened to di Resta (I think losing Singapore’s strong podium chance was what stalled his career). Perez is safe from the backing he brings (and possible buyout option for the team, if finances keep going downhill… Just run more FP1s for Juncadella.. but surely the Mexicans wouldn’t swap or replace Hulkenberg with Gutierrez!? Unless paid off in full.. but the Sauber is currently even slower than last year.. but imagine a Hulk vs. Bianchi run-off for the Ferrari seat!)

    Ben Needham

    Good point – I’d imagine Grosjean would be more likely to turn up at McLaren. To be honest, I can certainly see this being Button’s last year, as McLaren seem adamant on pushing him out – preferably for Alonso it would seem.

    I always love silly season; I can’t wait to see who makes the first unexpected move!


    I think much of the silly season relies on what Vettel and Alonso do.
    If Alonso decides to pack it in with Ferrari, then that would leave an open spot at Ferrari. At the same time, they may be unimpressed with Raikonnen’s performance this year. Possibly leaving two open spots.

    Then there’s the rumours of Vettel moving to Mclaren, which leaves an open place at Red Bull, and knowing Mclaren it would be in favour of Button.

    To me that would mean Alonso to Red Bull, and then Ferrari taking on either Button, Hulkenberg or Bianchi.

    The only way I can see Button going to Ferrari though, is is Alonso stays there. He has said in the past that he’d like to go head to head with him, so it’s a possibility.


    It’s a pity that Button’s stock has fallen so far, but I wonder if that’s only in the eyes of social media commentators? After all he outscored Perez comprehensively last year and Magnussen (so far) this year. He remains the only team-mate of Hamilton to ever outscore him. So why the downer on Button?

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