The potential replacement for Christijan Albers was probably the most discussed race seat in past 2 weeks. Spyker took their time and then named Marcus Winkelhock as the replacement, but very likely for European GP only. There were several other names discussed, the top favourites being van der Garde (Dutch with money), Klien (available and with racing experience) and Karthikeyan (racing experience with money). Now more names were added, like Nelson Piquet Jr and Nico Hulkenberg, but both apparently rejected the chance to bury their future prospects in Spyker. All of a sudden out of nowhere Sakon Yamamoto appears as an alleged favourite for the seat.
The driver rumours do not end at Spyker though. Next come Toro Rosso, Renault, Williams, Toyota and even McLaren.
The hottest topic of the moment is the messy situation in Toro Rosso team. Speed has clearly had enough of Tost and Berger. In return both bosses seem to have had enough of both race drivers Liuzzi and Speed. There are only few people who would bet on these 2 to remain in the team next year. But it starts to look like they may not even finish this season. There are rumours about Vettel trying to get the release from BMW and move to Toro Rosso. Even Bourdais, who is almost certain to join next is mentioned for this season. His Champ Car schedule would allow him to take part in quite big portion of the remaining F1 races in 2007.Renault did not make any decision on their 2008 line up yet. They were expected to make the announcement by end of July but they are taking more time. One reason may be that they are yet to be able to see their drivers to race in good car this year. The other is potential availability of Alonso. He is still not too happy in McLaren and some sort of punishment of the team for the spy saga may affect his loyalties and contract further. But even without Alonso in the picture there are at least 3 drivers for 2 seats and Nelson Piquet Jr. sure wants to move up. They probably will not ditch Kovalainen, so Fisichella will be the one likely to be axed if Piquet is promoted. That’s why Fisi’s manager allegedly opened up discussions with Frank Williams. Williams has Nico Rosberg, who clearly outperforms Wurz even though the standings may suggest otherwise. He may however target one of the top teams. So there may be a vacancy in Williams.
Toyota and Ralf Schumacher are the neverending story. Some rumours suggest he will leave for Toro Rosso, some suggest he will stay, with lower pay however.
Prodrive, if they make it to the grid at all, will also have 2 race seats available, with de la Rosa and Paffet the main candidates. But it would be unlikely that McLaren would release both their experienced test drivers at the same time, so somebody else might have chance too. If Prodrive makes it to the grid …
It looks like the only driver line up certainties for 2008 at this moment are Honda and Red Bull.