The following is a team-by-team update of their drivers and potential drivers for the 2009 season. This year isnt anywhere as exciting as last year but with Fernando Alonso on the move again we could see a flurry of last minute activity.
So far the standard announcements expected after Monza still havent come about with the exception of Ferrari’s announcement of Kimi Rakkonen’s contract extension to the end of the 2010 season. Read on for a team by team breakdown of the possible movements of drivers for next season.
Its unlikely that we will see any change in the Ferrari lineup with both drivers holding contracts for 2009 and Felipe Massa’s contract running to the 2010 season. While these could be broken i cant see either of these drivers leaving or retiring. ** Update ** Kimi Raikkonen’s contract has been extended till the end of the 2010 season.
The McLaren lineup has been confirmed for next year, so no changed expected here.
Rumours are that Robert Kubica has penned a single year contract for the 2009 season, but Nick Heidfelds place is far from certain with all the noises coming from the BMW camp lately. He does not have a contract in place so replacing him is possible but with no proper experienced drivers on the market his position whilst looking rather precarious is probably quite solid.
The Renault story is still quite uncertain and with the possibility of Fernando Alonso leaving the team at the end of this year and Nelson Piquet tragically underperforming Renault could look to have two new drivers in place for next year. Renault have two GP2 drivers as testers, though its possible they will retain Nelsinho as two rookie drivers next year could be risky especially if they do come out with a competitive car.
Fernando Alonso/Lucas Di Grassi
Nelson Piquet Jr/Romain Grosjean
Red Bull Racing
No surprises here, Webber has been retained and the highly rated Vettel will be joining him.
There is unlikely to be change at Toyota for next year, because although they have been more competitive lately, there are not many drivers on the market who could compete with Trulli ability to qualify up the timesheets and with question marks over next years overtaking possibilities this pairing is likely to remain the same. There are whispers of offers to Fernando Alonso but it is unlikely to happen.
Jarno Trulli/Fernando Alonso
Honda is likely to retain Jenson Button but with very loud overtures to Fernando Alonso Rubens might be on his way out of the team and even out of the sport.
Rubens Barichello/Fernando Alonso
Nico Rosberg has been very public with his displeasure of the performance of the Williams recently but he is guaranteed for next year alongside Nakajima who has surprised many with his performances this year. Rosberg needs to put in some good performances next year or the shine is bound to wear off and he might regret his decision to stay at Williams for 2009.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
There is at least one confirmed position and with Sebastien Bourdais underperforming it could be two. With several GP2 drivers in the running for both seats, with some even bringing along sponsorship Bourdais could be on the way out. Expect Bruno Senna to be a shoe-in for 2009.
Sebastien Bourdais/Bruno Senna
The team have an option on Giancarlo Fisichella and right now its tough to say whether will take it. They have Vitantonio Luizzi waiting in the wings and now with some experience and maturity behind is likely to be a much stronger force than the ageing Fisico. Adrian Sutil is has been all but confirmed but look out for an announcement is about a months time.
Giancarlo Fisichella/Vitantonio Luizzi