Formula 1 – Driver Rumours 2008 – Part 6

It is time for another 2008 driver rumours round up. Some are from papers, some are my speculations.

It becomes more and more unlikely that we will see Fernando Alonso in McLaren next year, no matter how hard McLaren and Alonso’s managed try to state he is going nowhere… If it were up to me, I would probably let him go right away, but that would be expensive exercise for Dennis. It might as well upset Max Mosley, who made it clear, that should any steps be taken against Alonso by McLaren after he basically testified against his team (and himself), he would not hesitate to take McLaren to Paris again … So McLaren and Alonso will need their lawyers to work out some deal that will satisfy both parties.

German paper Bild already says Adios Alonso! The article among other things quotes Norbert Haug saying, „We can work and keep winning. But if a driver does not want to stay, we have to sit down and talk about it. But it is perhaps the wrong moment in the middle of the championship fight“ (This the best translation I could manage, original German link is provided). This may be clear indication, that McLaren is ready for some sort of settlement and way out.

The most common assumption is that Alonso will go back to Renault. That would mean 3 other drivers will have to worry about their future. It would very likely mean end of Renault career for Fisichella. Still, Briatore would have tough decision to make, whether to continue with Heikki Kovalainen, or promote Nelson Piquet Jr. Heikki would not like the idea to go back to testing, nor would Nelson Piquet want to test for another year. Both these guys are talents that Renault would not want to loose. So if Alonso will indeed come back, one of the 2 young guns may be “leased out” to another team. But to whom…

There were some suggestions on autosport.com that Fisichella might be ideal guy to partner Hamilton in McLaren should Alonso leave. Well this was not a rumour, just something that Matt Bishop would like to see. Some rumours connect Nico Rosberg to the McLaren seat. The claims of Frank Williams that Nico is not for sale are being compared to his claims a while back, that Jenson Button is Williams driver, before agreeing to let Button to buy himself out of his contract.

Back to Alonso, who is the key piece in 2008 driver line up puzzle. Besides the Renault connection there are some rumours connecting him with Ferrari. Well, he knows something about their car already, but I can’t see this happening. Neither of current Ferrari drivers would be happy to have no. 2 status, and Alonso simply can’t be anywhere where he is not a clear no. 1. Can you imagine Raikkonen as no. 2 driver :-)

There are reports of Alonso entering and departing Red Bull’s ‘Energy Station’ motor home in Belgium on Sunday morning and in between meeting with team boss Christian Horner. But any “Alonso to Red Bull” reports have been dismissed by Dietrich Mateschitz. Red Bull as one of few has already confirmed their driver line up for next year. I must say though, I haven’t seen any official announcement about Mark Webber yet and therefore I keep one seat empty on my 2008 line up list… It’s not official until it is official…

The whole driver market is basically paralyzed at the moment, and nothing major is probably going to happen until Alonso’s future is settled.

Toyota still has a decision to be made about Ralf’s seat. Ralf is still in the picture but there is more and more talk about Timo Glock or Kazuki Nakajima or getting the race drive. They would be much worse and sure would cost much less…There also has been some talk about Nico Rosberg switching from Toyota powered Williams to Toyota proper. Question is why would he want to do that …

Williams seats are also still well in the game. Nico Rosberg for sure can stay if he chooses so, but he is a hot property now and as mentioned above, McLaren and Toyota are his potential destinations. This might be good news for Alex Wurz, as his seat alongside Nico Rosberg is in no way secure. He is pretty good in the races, but his poor qualifying performances mean that his races are doomed by Saturday already… Williams may want somebody closer to Nico…

Honda is pretty much set, but as with Webber in Red Bull, I haven’t seen any official confirmation yet, that Button will be in Honda car next year. Not sure where would he go though. Going to any mid to low grid would make no sense. And higher up the grid seems like only McLaren may have a vacancy and no one yet in line to fill it up. Two Brits in a British team may be cool for British fans, but not sure if that is what the McLaren marketing has in mind.

Toro Rosso is set. Super Aguri made it clear they would like to keep Sato and Davidson, but how that will shape up depends also on the new investors. One is said to be from Japan and onboard already, but that does not mean that the search and interest will stop there.

Spyker with their expected Indian connection will very likely give a race seat to one of the Indian drivers. Either Narain Karthikeyan or Karun Chandhok. The second seat seems very much Sutil’s if he wants it. But I am sure if any better team comes calling, he would not mind to go. Williams, Toyota may be interested. And who knows what McLarens pan would be. British team with German engines may be ideal combination for Hamilton / Rosberg, but Sutil also is a half German, like Nico …

Then there is Prodrive, but who knows if they will make it to the 2008 grid.

Well, not much have cleared up since the last Driver Rumours post …

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2013 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
1. Sebastian VETTEL
2 Mark WEBBER
Ferrari
3. Fernando ALONSO
4. Felipe MASSA
McLaren
5. Jenson BUTTON
6. Sergio PEREZ
Lotus
7. Kimi RAIKKONEN
8. Romain GROSJEAN
Mercedes
9. Nico ROSBERG
10. Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
11. Nico HULKENBERG
12. Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
14. Paul di RESTA
15. Adrian SUTIL
Williams
16. Pastor MALDONADO
17. Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
18. Daniel RICCIARDO
19. Jean Eric VERGNE
Caterham
20. Charles PIC
21. Giedo van der GARDE
Marussia
24. Jules BIANCHI
25. Max CHILTON

2013 F1 Calendar

15-17 March - Australia
22-24 March - Malaysia
12-14 April - China
19-21 April - Bahrain
10-12 May - Spain
23-26 May - Monaco
07-09 June - Canada
28-30 June - Great Britain
5-7 July - Germany
26-28 July - Hungary
23-25 August - Belgium
06-08 September - Italy
20-22 September - Singapore
04-06 October - Korea
11-13 October - Japan
25-27 October - India
01-03 November - Abu Dhabi
15-17 November - USA
22-24 November - Brazil

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