With no motorsport action over the last weekend (although there was on two wheels, so congratulations to Marc Marquez o becoming the youngest ever MotoGP World Champion), we thought we’d take a look at which drivers might be moving where in Formula One for 2014.
There has already been a few confirmed moves in the paddock, but with many driver out of contract and fighting desperately to keep their seat for next season, and more and more up and coming young guns looking to take their place, contract negotiations must surely be in full swing now.
Here’s how the F1 2014 grid could look…
No surprise that four-time F1 world champ Sebastian Vettel will stay where he is at Red Bull. Even with the rules changing dramatically for next season, you have to think the German still has the best chance around to make it a five-time haul.
His team mate from this year, Mark Webber, has already confirmed he is quitting the sport and will drive the newly developed Porsche LMP1 car at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship next year.
The Prancing Horse will retain Fernando Alonso for 2014, who drove valiantly in an inferior car throughout this year. Hopefully the Italian manufacturer can deliver a car that will see him consistently fighting Vettel for race wins next season.
His Brazilian counterpart at Ferrari won’t be there, however. Felipe Massa is out of contract for next season, with the vacancy being filled by Kimi Raikkonnen, who will move across from Lotus.
As we mentioned, Kimi will move from Lotus – having not been paid for his work this year, he probably won’t be too sorry to leave, either. The Finnish driver will miss the remainder of the season due to surgery on an existing back injury.
His French teammate Romain Grosjean will remain at the Enstone based outfit – with a few podiums towards the end of this season, Gorsjean has shaken off the tag of ‘crasher’ and put together some impressive performances. One to watch next year.
It’ll be status quo at Mercedes in 2014. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have picked up wins this year and will continue to race the Silver Arrows next season.
However, with technical mastermind Ross Brawn confirmed to be leaving Mercedes, will it Affect the team’s performance next year?
By McLaren’s own admissions, 2013 has not bee the best of years for the Woking concern. However, we’re confident the fortunes of our local team will pick up over the next 12 months.
Button is still in contract, so will once again lead the team into battle, however, Mexican Sergio Perez is not. Even having outscored Button in many races, it appears McLaren could be lining up his replacement – young Kevin Magnussen, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 title this year.
The familiar Force India pairing of Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil is yet to be confirmed for 2014. After many DNFs and quite a few dismal performances by the Scot, his future in the top class is uncertain.
As is his German teammate’s. Sutil was brought back into the Force India fold for this year, but again, some poor results have put a question mark of his future. An announcement could be made some time in December.
F1 rookie Esteban Gutierrez has had a solid if not spectacular first season in Formula One for Sauber. Solid finishes – often outscoring other new drivers to F1 – has to put him in the frame for a drive again next year, even if it’s not with the Sauber team.
Nico Hulkenberg will not be retained by Sauber for next year, with rumours suggesting he’ll bag the vacant spot at Lotus now Raikkonnen is off to Ferrari. We’ll wait and see…
Torro Rosso will lose one of its Red Bull-trained drivers as Daniel Ricciardo moves to Torro Rosso’s sister team Red Bull. One Australian will replace another at Red Bull, which should be good, as Ricciardo has shown some decent pace towards the end of the season.
His teammate, Jean-Eric Vergne, will stay at the team for 2014 and will be partnered by 19-year-old Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat.
It’s unsure if Williams will opt to keep both Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas for next year. If the British team doesn’t it could leave open two seats for the likes of di Resta and Massa – the latter of which has already confirmed he is in talks with the team.
Maldonado has had a dismal season, finishing in the top 10 (10th) only once so far in 2013.
Again, neither of the two drivers currently racing for Caterham are confirmed for 2014. Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde have not exactly set the back of the grid on fire with their pace, which has meant Marussia has been able to catch up with the green cars.
There’s another twist, too. In a bid to improve their finishes, Caterham could recruit Heikki Kovalainnen back to the team to help score a few more points and finish further up the table.
Only Jules Bianchi is certain to be staying at Marussia F1 for next season, after some decent points finishes so far this year – a wise move by the team.
His British co-driver Max Chilton is less certain to be sticking around for 2014, however. In his debut year Chilton has found it tough, but fingers crossed he finds a seat somewhere as the more Brits in F1 2014 the better in our eyes.