Jules Bianchi’s confirmation that he’ll be remaining at the Marussia team for 2014 means the driver line-up is gradually taking shape for next year. Let’s have a look at who’ll be where, and the rumours for the other seats.
Red Bull Racing Renault
Sebastian Vettel – Germany; Daniel Ricciardo – Australia
Mark Webber’s retirement from F1 left a big gap in the top team in F1, and after weeks of rumours, Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo was chosen to partner three times champion Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso – Spain; Kimi Raikkonen – Finland
Felipe Massa finally left the team he joined in 2006 to be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen, who previously raced for the Scuderia between 2007 & 2009. Fernando Alonso remains with the team for a fifth season.
Lewis Hamilton – Great Britain; Nico Rosberg – Germany
No surprises as Mercedes have both drivers under contract and both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have had impressive 2013s.
Romain Grosjean – France; TBA
Kimi Raikkonen’s departure leaves a big whole in the team, though Romain Grosjean is beginning to show the form I knew he had in him. Who his teammate will be is up in the air right now, though Felipe Massa & Nico Hulkenberg are the bookies favourites.
Jenson Button – Great Britain*; TBA
Jenson Button should remain in the team for another season, as should Sergio Perez, but the Mexican is under pressure to perform after a relatively disappointing season in what I should say is a rather disappointing McLaren.
Force India Mercedes
Vijay Mallya has said he’s in no rush to commit to drivers for next year, which is standard for Force India. Would not surprise me to see an unchanged line-up of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil however.
Sergey Sirotkin – Russia; TBA
In a team struggling for money, teenager Sergey Sirotkin looks likely to make the leap up to F1 with Russian backing. As for the other driver, who knows. Nico Hulkenberg & Esteban Gutierrez are their this year, one, other or neither could remain.
Toro Rosso Renault
Jean-Eric Vergne – France*; Antonio Felix da Costa – Portugal
If Jean-Eric Vergne’s qualifying was better he would be a Red Bull driver now, but alas he’ll be a Toro Rosso driver for another season. Antonio Felix da Costa is the big favourite to replace the outgoing Daniel Ricciardo.
A change from Renault to Mercedes engines should hopefully boost Williams. Pastor Maldonado should remain, Valtteri Bottas likewise, but it all depends on finances for this legendary team.
Jules Bianchi – France; Max Chilton – Great Britain
The team want both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton to remain for a second season, and while Jules has just been confirmed, it shouldn’t be far away before Max is too. Should be interesting with a decent engine at last.
Charles Pic & Giedo van der Garde currently race for Caterham, whilst Heikki Kovalainen has been linked with a return. It should be two from those three in my opinion, unless someone comes in at the last minute with big money.
Drivers with * all but confirmed; Drivers in italics Most likely to be there.