The Remaining Vacant 2008 Formula 1 Seats

After yesterday’s announcement from Renault there are only 3 teams left with vacant race seats for 2008 Formula 1 season and there are several drivers aiming to land one of them.

McLaren No Driver

McLaren

The vacancy in McLaren always attracts big interest and this is the second year in a row when 1 seat is up for grabs (last year it went to Lewis Hamilton). The drivers most often mentioned in connection with 2008 McLaren race seat are McLaren’s test driver Pedro de la Rosa, freshly unemployed Heikki Kovalainen as well as Force India’s Adrian Sutil. The other McLaren test driver Gary Paffet seems to be a distant 4th option.

Pedro de la Rosa pros:
- experience in testing and set up
- no challenge to Hamilton
- he is Spanish, would make Spanish sponsors happy

cons:
- did not really light the car on fire alongside Kimi Raikkonen in 2006
- likely would be only a transitional appointment

Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen pros:
- young and talented
- likely would be a match for Lewis Hamilton
- he is a Finn and they do have a history in the team :-)

cons:
- lack of experience in car set up
- young – 2 so young drivers in a top team might be risky choice

Adrian Sutil pros:
- young and talented
- may be a match for Lewis Hamilton
- he is German, might go well with Mercedes and other German sponsors

cons:
- he would have to be bought out of his Force India contract
- lack of experience in car set up
- erratic at times
- young – 2 so young drivers in a top team might be risky choice

Super Aguri

There is not much buzz about Super Aguri drivers. But while Sato seems to be secure in the team, Anthony Davidson may or may not remain. Nothing has been officially confirmed and no names have been mentioned for long time. It may all go down to financial situation of this team and the wishes of their sponsors or new investors. There has been string of young drivers testing with them (and Honda) in Barcelona and Jerez, but if Davidson is repleced it will likely be by a pay driver…

Takuma Sato

Force India

The new found financial stability of former Jordan/Midland/Spyker team created a wave of interest from many drivers. Adrian Sutil has his seat secure, unless he moves elsewhere (see the McLaren bit above). Hower an army of Force India wannabies have tested for them during the first 2 winters tests. Ralf Schumacher has ruled himself out of running and looks like the decision will be made between Giancarlo Fisichella who just lost his Renault seat, Vitantonio Liuzzi (ditched by Toro Rosso) and ex-Jaguar and Red Bull driver Christian Klien (who no longer wants to test only for Honda). Depending on whether Sutil stays or moves, there may be one or two seats available here.

Giancarlo Fisichella

Giancarlo Fisichella pros:
- his experience may be what this team needs right now when they hope for jump up the grid
- he is used to racing bad cars
- he is a race winner
- this may actually motivate him and up his performance

cons:
- he seems to be past his best
- he did not set the tracks on fire during 2007 season
- he was outperformed by his rookie team mate

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantonio Liuzzi pros:
- he ended 2007 season on high
- he was a match to Sebastian Vettel
- he has 3 years F1 racing experience
- he is motivated
- he is likeable character :-)
- he is willing to accept even testing role and that may open him door to 2009 race seat if he looses out on 2008 one

cons:
- don’t really see any but he has less experience than Fisichella if that is what the team is after

Christian Klien pros:
- motivated
- made decent impression during the 2 winter test
- F1 racing experience from Jaguar and Red Bull

cons:
- haven’t been racing since he left Red Bull before the end of 2006 season
- haven’t exactly impressed during his F1 racing days

Should not take long before we know …

5 Comments Post a Comment
  1. AnkitNo Gravatar says:

    Nice head removal job on the McLaren.

    Out of all the drivers above, i feel really sorry for Ralf, he said that he wouldnt race in Force F1, but frankly his test wasnt spectacular too. He was the slowest of all those testing. So it might just be the case of sour grapes.

  2. ShaunNo Gravatar says:

    I would love to see Kovalainen go to McLaren and i would even be happy to see Sutil get the drive but not De La Rosa! Nothing personal i’m just not excited by the prospect of him driving for McLaren.

    Also, explain the pay driver thing to me. Is it where the driver actually invests money into the team to get the drive? Is that not a little dangerous for the rest of the drivers?

  3. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Ralf was spectacularly slow in the last test :-)

    The pay drivers are the drivers that secure their race seats by bringing significant sponsorship money to the team. This is how Minardi used to survive, later Jordan and to certain extent also Spyker with Albers last year. The driver still needs to have the superlicense to race in F1, so money and no skills do not secure the driver.

  4. ShaunNo Gravatar says:

    Well i suppose thats not so bad, i had visions of some millionaire paying to get a drive and wiping people out in his first race :)

  5. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    that is a good one :-)

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