Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Which drivers will make their last F1 start next week?

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Rubens Barrichello, WIlliams, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Rubens Barrichello, WIlliams, Abu Dhabi, 2011

It’s a sad feature of F1 that sometimes drivers’ careers end before we realise it.

They turn up at the season finale then depart never to return as someone else takes over their place for next year.

Heading into the final race of 2011 there are a few likely candidates for drivers whose time in F1 may be up.

Rubens Barrichello

Barrichello has been in this situation before. Three years ago he approached the final race – like this year, his home Grand Prix at Interlagos – unsure if his Honda contract would be renewed.

By a strange sequence of events the dissolution of the team ultimately paved the way for him to hold onto his place in Formula 1, as the remnants of Honda metamorphosed into Brawn.

This year his place at Williams is under threat after a sometimes lacklustre season, even when taking into account the obvious deficiencies of the FW33.

There are persistent rumours the team is courting Kimi Raikkonen for an F1 return. And even if that fails to materialise, the driver situation at Force India could send the likes of Adrian Sutil in the Grove team’s direction.

Pastor Maldonado’s place in the line-up has looked secure thanks to his substantial backing from Venezuelan state petroleum company PDVSA. The legitimacy of this deal has recently been called into question in his home country, but it remains to be seen if this is a credible threat to Maldonado’s place in F1.

Next week’s race will be Barrichello’s 326th. He already holds all the records for career longevity. But there are signs he may fall short of a 20th season in the top flight.

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Adrian Sutil, Force India, Abu Dhabi, 2011

The relative performances of Sutil and team mate Paul di Resta this year has been the subject of intense debate on F1 Fanatic, not least of which last weekend.

Sutil had a poor start to the year but has clearly improved as he’s got used to the Pirelli tyres. He is 34-23 up on di Resta in the points standings.

But has Sutil, with 89 starts to his name, conclusively proved his worth over di Resta, who’s in his first season of F1?

This is the question Vijay Mallya is expected to answer soon, and in doing so judge whether to swap Sutil for Nico Hulkenberg. His compatriot impressed in his first season of F1 and only lost his seat at Williams for sponsorship reasons.

A Di Resta-Hulkenberg line-up at the team next year would be short on F1 experience. But di Resta’s performance this year suggests that may not be too great a problem.

Money may ultimately play a deciding role here. The financial problems of Mallya’s other business interests have been well-documented, and he sold part of his share in Force India earlier last month for that reason.

Whoever can bring money to the team may tip the balance, and that could work in Sutil’s favour. Even if it doesn’t, an opportunity at Williams may secure his place in F1.

Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, Renault, Suzuka, 2011
Bruno Senna, Renault, Suzuka, 2011

Like Barrichello, another Brazilian driver whose home race could be his last.

Senna has a fairly weak claim to a place in F1 at the moment, given that he’s the replacement for one driver who was a substitute for another driver.

In his seven races since taking Nick Heidfeld’s place he’s tended to match Petrov in qualifying (which is rather better than his predecessor did) but not performed as well in the races. Weighed against that we have the deteriorating performance of the R31 and Senna’s reliability problems – such as KERS failures in the last two races.

Robert Kubica looks increasingly unlikely to return at the start of next year, leaving GP2 champion Romain Grosjean as the greatest threat to Senna in the team.

On paper, Vitaly Petrov has nothing to worry about – his current contract expires at the end of next season. His recent public criticism of the team was embarrassing but hardly a sack-able offence.

That leaves Senna in a vulnerable position but the sponsorship he helped bring to the team earlier this year could stand in his favour. He’s popular within the team and if he were to get a place next year at the expense of the under-contract Petrov, it would be a significant vote of confidence in his ability.

Jerome D’Ambrosio

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Abu Dhabi, 2011

There are some who believe Charles Pic already has a deal to replace D’Ambrosio at Virgin next year, when the team becomes Marussia.

D’Ambrosio has arguably performed better as Timo Glock’s team mate than Lucas di Grassi did last year, but that may not be enough to keep his place at the cash-strapped team.

Vitantonio Liuzzi

Who knows who’ll turn up at the wheel of an HRT next year. Liuzzi brings experience and continuity to the team but this is another seat where income is likely to overrule talent.

The Toro Rosso driver logjam

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit, 2011
Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Toro Rosso have four drivers in the hunt for two seats. It’s conceivable that either, neither or both of their current pilots could lose out.

Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have been closely-matched in their second full season together. Alguerusari has started to pull ahead in the points standings of late, albeit aided by three car failures in four races for Buemi.

With Daniel Ricciardo, currently seconded to HRT, and Jean-Eric Vergne both making their way up the Red Bull Driver Development ladder, something’s got to give in time for the start of next season.

Your say

Which of these drivers will lose their F1 seats after the Brazilian Grand Prix?

  • Rubens Barrichello (22%)
  • Jerome D'Ambrosio (18%)
  • Bruno Senna (14%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (13%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (12%)
  • Adrian Sutil (9%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (4%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (3%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (3%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (2%)
  • Paul di Resta (1%)

Total Voters: 351

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See which drivers are already confirmed for 2012 here: 2012 F1 drivers and teams

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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170 comments on “Which drivers will make their last F1 start next week?”

  1. Anyway, I think it will definitely be Barrichello’s last. Unfortunately, I think it will also be D’Ambrosio and Buemi’s last races.

    Also, I think it will be Trulli’s last as well.

    1. I’m sure he’s signed for Lotus (Caterham…) next year…

      1. Sure, but contracts can be bought out, and if there are names like Sutil or Senna on the market…

    2. @ed24f1

      Trulli has a contract for next year (doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t turn out to be right, though!)

      Jarno Trulli extends Lotus contract for 2012

      1. Yes, I know Trulli has signed for another year, but there have already been some whispers about him asking for too much money, and even though he’s done better than Chandhok, his performances haven’t been brilliant lately.

        1. Trulli brings good technical feedback. I think that’s why he still has a place in the team, and why he will stay as a Caterham driver next year. Tony Fernandes has no need to replace him with a pay driver, and has the sense to keep him primarily as a development driver, especially as he has has worked with Mike Gascoyne for a number of years.

          Come the end of next season, he’ll likely be gone, but I think he’s safe for next year.

          1. @noelinho Really? Where did you hear that from? Trulli is a good qualifier, but I have never heard anything about him being a good car development driver

    3. Sadly, I think Barrichello, Liuzzi and Buemi won’t be in F1 next year. I also think D’Ambrosio and Senna won’t be here.

      1. Liuzzi supposedly has a contract for next year.

        1. He supposedly had a contract with Force India this year …

    4. I agree with you about those, including Trulli @ed24f1.

      1. @BasCB We were finally proven right, maybe Trulli can be a late addition to this poll? :P

        1. Justice served at last then @ed241!

          1. @ed24f1
            sorry had a typo there, drat wireless keyboard!

  2. Buemi has dissappointed me throughout the season. I don’t see him driving in F1 next year.

    1. But in the last two races he was around or in the top 10 when his car gave up. Partly due to Torro Rosso’s improving pace, but he still did a good job there. But I do think it won’t be enough with so many other drivers in contention for that seat.

    2. I think Alguersuari is the weaker of the two to be honest. Buemi has had far worst luck than Alg. Secondly, a good driver shouldn’t take half a year to get used to a car especially when you are giving away precious points that will make a difference at the end of the year.

      1. I second that, between those two, Buemi is the more complete driver for sure.

        1. If is he so complete, why he didn t equall or better his top qualifying and race results from 2009? Alguersuari already equalled them… And btw. Buemi was lucky in the first half of the season and in the second half of 2010… So everything is fair…

        2. Simply because Alg is matching Buemi i’ve got to say Buemi will go.
          Ulitmately the toro rosso team is a development team for red bull drivers, Buemi after several seasons there has not shown potential like Vettel in that time therefore should get the boot and bring in ricciardo. If Alg isn’t bettering him halfway through the season bring in vergne.

          At least thats the way I’d run it…

      2. This should obviously settle the argument:

        1. IF the link would like to appear, that is…

        2. Indeed. Algusuari is a better driver than DJ. I don’t rate him as a driver for the record…

  3. I would say that Algusuari has earned his place in F1 next year. As he admitted on the BBC show last week, he has truely come alive since Valencia. He’s figured out the car, figured out the tyres and shown he deserves a place. I would say Buemi has done a solid job too, and it would be shame if he lost his racing seat, however he could be given a test driver opportunity with Red Bull.

    I would say Barrichello has had it. I reckon after the race, Williams will announce Raikkonen, would be unfair to announce it before the end of the season. Barrichello would lose motivation and determination if this was the case. It’s a shame that Barrichello hasnt ended things on his terms. He should have said that’s it rather than being told his services are no long required, but when a driver starts getting just one year extensions to his contract, the writing is on the wall – which is why I believe Mark Webber will leave F1 after next year.

    D’Ambrosio has probably had it. The car hasnt been inspiring, neither has his race performances. Coupled with the fact he appeared to ahve some money issues (around the time of the Belgium GP I think?), we can safely say that is all.

    Liuzzi may just survive the guillotine. Just.

    Senna may have a slender chance. Has done a fair job in a car which is frankly a fire hazard! However, given the quagmire at Renault with too many drivers for just two cars, he may be reduced to a testing role once more.

    1. as has been noted elsewhere and often, the one year extensions Mark has been signing have been at his own request.

      Having said that, unless he really improves his games it’s doubtful RB will keep him beyond next year (and Mark may not want to stay).

    2. I think the opposite. If Williams have decided that Barichello isn’t going to race for them next season, it should be announced before the race so he gets a final send off.

      It would be a shame for his career to end quietly after the season.

      1. I agree. It would be the right thing to do out of respect for Barrichello.

    3. Williams have claimed that they will have announced their line-up before the race.

      1. If this is his last race it’ll be a very emotional one for him.

    4. I reckon after the race, Williams will announce Raikkonen, would be unfair to announce it before the end of the season. Barrichello would lose motivation and determination if this was the case.

      I believe Barrichello already knows his fate, whichever way that might be. He just can’t say until the team make if official.

  4. I see Virgin juggling their 2nd driver about for a few years yet until they see someone really beat Glock (why they’d do that I’m not sure if he’s the lead driver??) so I see D’Ambrosio going.

    It’d be very refreshing to see Sutil in another car, actually. It’d put the argument about whether he’s any good or not to rest and at the minute his career is going wherever Force India is going – upwards, but perhaps too steadily for him to shock anyone.

    It’s going to be pretty sad seeing Barrichello go…especially ending on a year where his car has been so slow and unreliable. Unfortunately ******** Maldonado seems to be staying. His money will hopefully benefit whatever driver he is paired with though.

    As for Toro Rosso, I really, really hope Buemi stays. He’s been terribly unlucky as of late when he’s been on for good finishes and although Alguersuari is emerging to be a solid, points scoring driver, the team should look at the progress this year and keep the drivers they know and love and carry on the trend in 2012.

  5. Seeing as I you can only make one choice, I’d say d’Ambrosio is the safest bet to loose his seat next year, despite doing nothing wrong!

    1. Also, what about Karthikeyan!

      1. Strictly speaking, he’s already lost his seat for this year!

    2. “lose”, not “loose”.

      1. The perils of typing out comments while I should be working…

    3. But @geemac, you can even check all the boxes if you feel like it! I think its hard to tell who will be driving for HRT next year, although I wouldn’t be supprised to see Narain appear at the team for at least some races next year again.

      1. So long as those funds keep coming through from Tata, you could be right.

        1. Only it seems they just signed Pedro De La Rosa at HRT for next season! That defenitely puts Liuzzi out, I guess. Maybe they could now try an all spanish team with PDLR and Clos?

          Not to mention Brazillian rumours that Rubens has actually claimed a stake at a Renault seat for next year to mix it up even further!

  6. I think you’re forgetting Jarno Trulli – there are a few rumours that he’ll be paid off for next year.

    Personally I think it would be a great shame to get rid of Barrichello from F1. I believe that Raikkonen is a better choice for Williams – but that Barrichello himself is a driver who is still performing to a very high level. I’d like to see him take the aforementioned seat at Lotus in place of Trulli.

    D’Ambrosio is a driver who’s largely gone under my radar because I have no interest in the Virgin team. For me, he won’t be missed.

    Liuzzi will bow out as one of the more disappointing drivers. Another Jan Magnussen – so much potential, so little delivery.

    1. @sw6569 I’m not forgetting, I didn’t include him because he has a contract and at present I don’t think there’s any serious threat to his seat. If Lotus aren’t going to put Karun Chandhok in for one race I can’t see them doing it for a full season.

      1. He did race in Germany, if memory serves me right.

        1. Yes, but it was rather telling that he didn’t race again at his home GP.

          1. Much though I like Chandhok, I don’t think there are many people in the paddock who rate him as an F1 driver.

            Also, Karun intimated at the Indian Grand Prix that he was looking for a seat elsewhere for next season, so he is clearly under the impression that he will not have a chance at a race seat next year.

    2. @sw6569 I agree about Barrichello, he may have declined a bit, but nothing like some other older drivers. In fact his achievement in remaining competitive is fairly remarkable, I think, and at a better level than Schumacher (though he did remain in the sport, a huge advantage obviously).

      One I’d like to see back in F1: Hulkenberg. (Another: Raikonnen!) One who doesn’t deserve his place: Maldonado. One who really should be counting himself lucky no questions are being asked: Webber.

      Bruno Senna should be given another season to prove himself, I think.

      1. Totally agree re: Webber mate!

      2. I believe this season, Schumacher has improved enough to be considered better than Barrichello again.

        I agree about Webber.

    3. If they were going to pay trulli off next year. Why on earth did they renew his contract recently? by doing so they ensure they will have to pay out x million insted of just not renewing his contract and saying bye bye at the end of the year. no way jose

  7. I voted for Senna. He just doesn’t wow me the way most of the other drivers do. He had a good qualifying session in Belgium and points in Italy … and after that, he’s been almost completely anonymous, usually being out-qualified and/or out-raced by Vitaly Petrov. I think he’s been trading on his name and his early success a little too much, though I don’t think he’s doing is consciously.

    I also think Buemi has had it. Aside from leading the race in Canada last year and his wheels popping off in China, I can’t name a thing he’s done. He might find some salvation in a team like Hispania, but he’ll spend the rest of his career being a barometer for young talent – and as soon as one of them out-performs him on a regular basis, his ticket will be punched.

    1. Brutal! But fair I think.

      1. Well, I didn’t want to dance around it. Senna rarely makes much progress. I know some of the responsibility for this lies with the team, because I agree with Vitaly Petrov, but just compare both Renaults in India and Abu Dhabi – in India, Petrov started on the hard and finished on the soft, while Senna did the opposite. Petrov finished ahead of him. Then, in Abu Dhabi, Petrov started on the soft while Senna used the hard. Petrov finished ahead of him again. Even though Senna got a drive-through, he was still miles behind before the infraction. Petrov has put the R31 into Q3 on every occasion where Q3 has been possible this season (and in the case of India, he set a time that was technically good enough for Q3, though he was eleventh because of the rules on identical times). Heidfeld and Senna have not.

        1. @prisoner-monkeys Don’t forget that Senna came in very late compared to Petrov (to a race seat) and he would have had to sacrifice several practice sessions for the sole purpose of just finding a good baseline setup for his driving needs; and on top of that, to really get used to driving the car.

          This particular comment isn’t disagreeing with what your saying; but it doesn’t tell the full picture IMO.

          1. @raymondu999 – that’s no excuse. It might have held up for a race or two, but Senna has now done half a dozen races with the team.

    2. Completely unfair toward Buemi. What he did was mop the floor with Jaime in qualifying and despite having much more technical troubles than Jaime he’s still close in points to him and in races they both finished he leads 6-5. If Buemi needs to go then Jaime needs to be booted out! (I don’t think so, by the way, I think both of them are doing a credible job. But if you slam Buemi then you need to be as hard on Jaime or even harder).

  8. It looks like that’s it for D’Ambrosio’s career and it’s a bit of a shame. He’s very likeable and he did a solid job compared to an experienced team-mate. I think he deserved another year to show if he’s good or not, it’s hard to judge after just one…

    I hope the likes of Barrichello, Trulli, Liuzzi and so on leave. There’s a huge amount of talented drivers that deserve an f1 debut and these are taking the seats.

    1. exactly what i had been thinking

    2. I think it’s time new drivers stop going to virgin it seems to ensure the immediate death of their career.

      At least d’ambrosio will have a handbreak turn in an f1 car in the pit lane during a race to look back on with pride.

    3. @Enigma Couldn’t agree more about D’Ambrosio. He’s a rather solid season.

    4. Indeed a solid season for D’Ambrosio.
      He made very little mistakes and done some very good races.
      Obviously only the people in the team saw what he can do.
      He did have to upper hand on Kamui in GP2 as his teammate (most of the time).
      Would be a shame if couldn’t prove himself again, but I doubt he will be around next year.
      Maybe try GP2 again or FR3.5/autoGp and get a top drive.

  9. I’m confused as to whether i just like seeing the Senna name back in F1 or whether he’s actually any good. He seems very perceptive and intelligent, but whether that will translate into raw speed is something that can only be answered in a better car i think.

    Either way I’d bin the likes of Maldonado and Petrov in a flash in order to keep Senna in the sport. he’s a likeable fellow.

    1. I’m exactly the same. I hold his relative lack of general racing experience as a sign that he can get on form given the chance.

      1. I’ve said it before i’ll say it again he really deserves a full season in a proper team with a full pre season test program. He has not had a single one of these things so far in f1, if it happens next year which i hope it does thats the time to judge and judge hard.

        At the moment the likes of petrov have about 8 months of experience with the car+tyres+DRS+exhaust blown diffuser and KERS which bruno has never used before, as do all the other drivers on the grid. His first race at spa this season even without the first corner incident he was just trying to work out how to make the tyres last the race.

  10. That will be so ironical and unfortunate if Sutil do not get a seat in 2012. A driver knocking top 10 on driver’s standing in ultra competitive mid-field is highly commendable and worth deserve some accolades. Not sure how other’s think, but it is actually unfortunate to see him in this situation and be a part of this list.

    1. I agree with you: people (read: the BBC) always say that Di Resta’s doing such a good job, but in fact he is trailing Sutil by quite some margin. I hope Hulk will replace him next year, as he is one of the few drivers from past years with some real talent up his sleerve (not just an expensive watch).

    2. Yeah I’m not sure how I feel about that. I think Sutil’s done enough to get at least another year at Force India but in saying that I think Hulkenberg deserves a seat next year. His rookie season at William’s was pretty good and he improved throughout the season (6 of his 7 points scoring finishes came in the second half of the season).

      I remember going to the Australian round of the A1GP back in 2007 and Hulkenberg dominated both races, beating some pretty experienced drivers in equal machinery (he also beat Buemi in both races).

      They both deserve a drive but 3 doesn’t go into 2 and di Resta has certainly earned another go. I guess Hulkenberg learned last year that just deserving it doesn’t mean much in F1.

      1. Sutil is one of the best drivers in the field. I really mean it. Give him a really good car and he will produce. He’s got the talent and showed it often enough.

      2. Exactly what I think @Dave – all 3 deserve seats. I think Sutil at Williams would freshen up both parties, fun as a fully-motivated Kimi would be.

        I feel sorry for Rubens, but I think his time is over. Incidentally I think of all the drivers, Trulli should really be for the chop the most….

    3. I know what you mean @vickyy, Sutil does not seem to be the driver with hoards of fans, but he did have a great haul of points after the first few lacklustre races so he should be a solid choice.
      But I just cannot see him staying at FI and Williams would probably keep Rubens instead of going with another solid and experienced driver like Sutil in case they can’t agree with Kimi and feel its to early to try someone like Bottas.

    4. The problem is not points vickyy but potential adrian has been in f1 for 5 years and has never done anything that has made the critics say well that’s a world champ in making. By this time his skill will have plateaued the team will know what he is capable of.

      Along comes paul in his first year and he was regularly out qualifying sutil it was almost looking as one sided as heikki vs trulli at the start of the year and thats what’s important. You can work on race craft and mind management as a driver but if you don’t have the speed then you wont succeed. Paul has the potential to be a faster driver and we already know that the hulk is a super super driver. It’s only natural that people are putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 4.

      1. For your first point, not being a champions material, how many are there on the grid. It again comes down to machinery, all top 6 are or on the verge of being champion (I am specifically referring to Webber and Massa). So I am not sure how different Sutil (or any other mid-field driver)would have been in the same league if provided with same machinery.
        Second point,no second thought, Paul has undisputed talent, but somehow his hype has eclipsed some other rookie-beat-veteran battles e.g. Perez and Kobayashi.
        On top of that, IMHO Adrian is a safe bet as far as earning points is concerned, he made highest number of overtakes in 2010 ( not many know it) so that should have earned him a reasonably aggressive driver.
        And as BasCB suggested, he do not have a huge fan base and thats why I am not surprised to see a significant chunk of votes against him in the poll.

        1. @vickyy I personally recall, for example, a great drive by Sutil in Monaco, and a fast dive by Kimi to go into the back of him. Sutil did show great things in the first years, but also crashed too often – now he has changed and people call him solid but unexciting.

          Maybe it just shows why Whitmarsh keeps saying HAM shouldn’t change the way he drives. Not that I’d loose a nights sleep over Sutil going away, but it seems a bit, well unfair (as F1 often is, look at Buemi).

      2. @TheBrav3 The key word in your response to Vicky is “was”. Now is what we’re interested in and just take a look at Mr. Collantine’s 2011 Sutil form guide.

        I say Sutil has delivered and for those who say he’s a type of low rent Heidfeld I say rubbish. Rubbish because he’s never even had a car that had the potential to get podiums.

        Sutil AND di Resta have put FI where they are (ahead of the other mid fielders). This “adrian has been in f1 for 5 years and has never done anything” business is getting old fast. Put him in Massa’s Ferrari and I’d say he’d at least manage 4th if not the odd podium.

        1. Agreed about Sutil. I think he is one of the “best of the rest” drivers.

      3. Currently is Sutil leading Di Resta in qualifying 10:8… And it was 6:2 for the Scot before! So Adrian can still improve during a season… I don t believe “the potential stuff”, because if might happen, but also not… I believe what I see now, in the present and Sutil has done well… The same goes for Di Resta, but he is not ahead of Adrian yet…

  11. Di Resta and Sutil should go.

    Sutil is a lot like Heidfeld, but probably worse. Nothing special about the guy. Very replaceable.

    Resta: Being a rookie is no excuse, as we have all seen how quick the Champs were in their first years. Think of Lewis, Kimi, Shumi etc. He’s losing out to a driver who (before di resta arrived) was rated extremely poorly. He has failed to feature, and if it were not for his nationality and the constant artificial hype generated by the BBC, he would be just another failed driver who is dropped the following year.

    1. With all due respect, such opinions cracks me up, with no foundation whatsoever.

    2. In 2001, Kimi Raikkonen scored 9 of Sauber’s 21 points (42%), against Nick Heidfeld
      So far, Paul di Resta has scored 23 of Force India’s 57 points (40%), against Adrian Sutil, and that despite having somewhat inferior race strategies in the last few races when FIndia have gone with split tyre choices.

      Doesn’t seem to be that much between their respective debut seasons if you ask me.

      1. That’s not the best comparison, Sutil is now well into his Formula One career. Heidfeld had done one season in an noncompetitive Prost before 2001.

        1. That makes DiResta’s season even more impressive

          1. Not really… There are so many variables in that comparison it would be silly to take anything from it.

            I mean, we couldn’t really compare the young drivers two weeks ago. Let alone two drivers in different teams in different eras with two different teams mates over the span of a full year.

    3. You gotta be kidding @infi! Sutil has been rated poorly?? Have you really been watching F1?

  12. I said it many times and can repeat it, Sutil should be not present on that list as a driver who must fear for his seat… That is an absolute nonsense… He has definitely done enough to secure a seat in Formula One… The same goes for Alguersuari, who is a top scorer from midfield drivers since his first points in Canada…
    I wouldn t mind, if Maldonado, Trulli, Senna and Liuzzi loose their places as the didn t impress me this year at all…
    Looking just at track performances, I would give Ricciardo, Buemi and maybe even D Ambrosio another chance…

    1. It’ll be interesting to see where Sutil gets a seat for next year though!

  13. I think the more-challenging question is is not “Who will be replaced for 2012?”, but rather “Will the replacement be better for the team?”

    Jerome D’Ambrosio is a prime example of this. Virgin/Marussia have been linked to two drivers who I think are ready to make the transition to Formula 1 in Charles Pic and Robert Wickens; there is nothing more they can learn in the feeder series. Now, let’s say – for argument’s sake – that the lap times at the Young Driver Tests are representative of their abilities (I’m aware there is no guarantee that they are; I just cannot think of a more-pertinent example). If they switch d’Ambrosio out for Robert Wickens, I think they’ll be trading up. But on the other hand, I think Charles Pic will be a step backwards.

    So, I think we really have to look at who is up for termination, and who is being drafted in to replace them.

    1. Be careful to take the right time for Wickens – didn’t he do a time for Marussia and a time for Genii-Lotus as well?

      1. So maybe the inside knowledge of Genii-Lotus helps him then ;-)

        1. Eh? No. I meant an actual physical mistake of taking the wrong time.

  14. Btw. there are some rumours that Vergne could partner Alguersuari at Toro Rosso in 2012… And it looks quite realistic that Ricciardo will get a drive in Caterham along with Heikki as a part of technical cooperation between Caterham and RB …

    1. Technical cooperation? Is there any? As I understand it Caterham is only a customer no?

    2. Really? Never head this bit so far. I doubt Tony will take him in just because of a deal. He wont’ go that low, just like how he wasn’t ‘forced’ to race Chandok in India.

      I think Trulli should leave. Raikkonen to replace him!

    3. I think that Ricciardo will replace Buemi at Toro Rosso and that Vergne could get a seat in one of the weaker teams as Ricciardo did this year. Red Bull are building up either Ricciardo,Vergne or maybe even Alguersuari if he has a spectacular year in 2012, to replace Mark Webber at the end of his drive at Red Bull. We have to wait and see if Ricciardo has proved himself to be the first candidate for the Toro Rosso seat after his short stint in F1.

      1. Completely agree with you there Tom, and was waiting for this to be mentioned.

        It seems to me that RedBull are aggressively feeding their drivers into Formula 1 to decide who will partner and challenge their number one driver, Sebastian Vettel, in the 2013 Season to replace Mark Webber. Mark Webber not scoring a single win this season compared to his team mates 11 wins, and in an interview during the 2009 season Mark quoted along the lines of he ‘didn’t want to stick around and be uncompetitive for too long like some other drivers’ possibly making reference to Jarno Trulli.
        Mark also quotes this year “I look at Seb’s times and I think that their just inhumanly possible”, hinting of his retirement at the end of next year.
        Who will replace Mark for the new rules 2013 season? The RedBull Driver, of the four, that shows the most promise next season. I don’t believe that Redbull will outsource there drivers, like obtaining Kimi Raikkonen, as there investment in the young driver program is too large.

        I have thought to myself that RedBull just might pay for Daniel to replace Maldonado at Williams, or both Daniel and Vergne will partner up at HRT to become another stepping stone team for RedBull. I am sceptical that RedBull will drop either Jaime or Buemi at Torro Rosso just because of the investment they represent but then neither of them have showed any world championship worthy talent like Vettel did whilst at Torro Rosso, consistently getting into the points, with notable efforts at Monza and Brazil and to a certain extent, Japan before he made a rookie mistake and crashed into Mark under safety car conditions.

  15. I want to go with a wildcard and say that Pedro De La Rosa will make his final F1 start in Brazil. I think one of the other Sauber drivers will become ill and Pedro will step in for his last race. Call it a hunch.

    1. Wow. Just wow.

      If this would happen Guiterez (I cant spell his surname…) would be on hand to step in. THe reason he couldnt earlier, and de la Rosa had to be borrowed from Mclaren was just due to Guiterez being busy with another racing series at the time. I dont believe he is billed to race this weekend.

      1. And the fact that Peter Sauber said that Gutierrez was not ready for F1. He might be the third driver in the team, but Sauber wouldn’t had used him in Canada if he’d been there. That’s what he said.

        1. I agree, the reason Gutierrez is 3rd driver is because of Claro´s Carlos Slim sponsorship. He is not ready for F1.

          Then again I don´t see Pedro de la Rosa starting a race again. The guy sadly never got a chance.

    2. IRONY! if pedro does start in brazil it now wont be his last lol!

  16. Drivers on this list who should remain in f1 2012:
    Adrian Sutil
    Paul di Resta
    Jaime Alguersuari
    Vitaly Petrov
    Daniel Ricciardo

    and those who should not
    Rubens Barrichello – too old
    Bruno Senna – not F1 standard
    Sebastien Buemi – not done enough to warrant a seat at Red Bull
    Jerome d’Ambrosio – not F1 standard

    1. Can we please ban the use of ‘too old’ as a reason for anything. Talk about form, or lack of motivation, or performance drop off, but age by itself is not a reason!

      1. I agree, if I driver’s not good enough, fine, but just saying they’re “too old” is as redundant as saying someone is “too young” – what matters is their ability.

        1. And besides, if Barrichello is too old, you’re missing Michael Schumacher from the list. Drivers don’t lose their speed just because they are too old. They lose it mainly because they lose their motivation. Reflexes slow down, but motivation costs far more lap time.

      2. Barrichello was talented but nowadays the likes of Maldonado can beat him. Like Trulli, he simply lacks the ability, so I apologize for saying he his too old. I think he has had a great career but he should know when to stop

        1. But Maldonado isn’t beating him?

  17. Anyway I’ll be surprised if Rubens secure a seat next year.

  18. I think Barrichello is most likely to go. He’s been a round for a quite a long time and its time for him to give the young and new drivers a chance. It’s a shame that the team cannot confirm whether he is leaving so the other drivers can give him a fitting goodbye.

  19. @keithcollantine
    I’m a little confused. When voting for who will lose their seat. do you mean their current seat or their seat in any F1 car next year?

    1. Losing their seat entirely – leaving Formula 1.

      1. Well I voted wrong then lol. I read the article which mentioned in places how some drivers might lose their seat but find another one, and I had that in mind when voting.

  20. some still believe Trulli might be not make it to 2012 despite already have contract extension…

    Senna, Buemi and Barrichello are the drivers that I believe will not make it to 2012.

    Even tho Petrov’s seat seem secured; with Lotus name dispute now over; maybe Group Lotus sponsorship money will finally flowing in without further delay and they can afford to dump Petrov after all.

    1. @silencer – So, the team would just give up on the $15 million that Petrov brings? Sure, strictly speaking, they might not need it … but they could certainly put it to good use. And who would they get to replace him? Senna and Grosjean? That’s perhaps the least-experienced line-up on the grid; between the two of them, they have done just a season and a half in three years. Or perhaps Timo Glock – but if so, where is the money to buy out his contract going to come from?

      Whichever way you look at it, Vitaly Petrov is one of the best driver choices Renault could hope for. He knows the team, he can score points, and he brings in money. Any driver they considered to replace him might be able to do one of those things – but certainly not all three.

      1. If the rumours are true, Glock can go when he wants without any hussle if a better team approaches him. That is a clause in his contract.

  21. I think it could be also the last race for Jarno Trulli. He’s in F1 since 1997, and failed to perform weel against Kovalainen. He’s old, and he’s no longer a challenge for his teammate. Maybe Caterham would want to replace him with a better driver…

    1. Raikkonen? I know it’s a long shot…but if Tony can persuade him with their vision, anything is possible.

  22. drivers (in the right teams) that should be in 2012

    RBR : Vettel-Webber
    Mclaren : Button-Alonso
    Ferrari : Alonso-Raikkonen (this would be an unbelivable line-up)
    Merc. : Schumi-Rosberg
    Lotus (Renault 2011)/(given Kubica is not comming back) : Massa-Heidfeld
    Williams : Barrichello(for one last season)-Hulkenberg
    Force India : Sutil-Di Resta
    Torro Rosso : Alguersuari-Ricciardo
    Sauber : Kobayashi-Perez
    Caterham (Lotus 2011) : Kovalainen-Petrov
    Virgin : Glock-Charles Pic
    Hrt : J.E. Vergne-Buemi

    1. You’ve got Alonso doing double-duty there …

      1. He’s just THAT good… you know? :P

        1. And he’s dropped Hamilton! :O
          But i have wondered recently, how many crashes and silly mistakes would Lewis have to have before Martin Whitmarsh starts to think about somebody else..Fortunately with Lewis he could crash out of 2 or 3 races in a row, then have the ability to dominate and win the next one.

          1. @rob-wilson Yeah he’ll be dropped after Brazil :P

      2. i ment button-hamilton ….my mistake

  23. For me it would be hugely sad to see Rubens go. No other driver lives F1 like he does.

    Just think, He and Schumacher are the last connection we have to the era that saw Senna, Prost and the like. It’s amazing to think that Rubens has raced so many greats. Only four other drivers have stood on the podium more than him (68).

    I just hope the next race goes well for him. He deserves it more than anything.

  24. I can’t help thinking that is Rubens that will leave F1. The financial situation at Williams asks for a driver that gets sponsers interested in the team.

    I don’t know why, but I feel sorry for him. I would like to see him get to his 20th season. And he deserves a better car than the FW33 that Williams has produced this year. I don’t even think that this year’s car deserves the FW name.

    1. and next year (when probably rubens is gone) williams would likely produce a quite competitve car with the reanult engines and with raikkonen on the team everyone is going to think that it was rubens fault that the team didn’t go well this year

  25. it seems to me that lotus renault desperately need an experienced driver for next year as it seems kubica isn’t going to make it

    personally I can’t see a better bet than reubens , maybe not a race winner but as the team needs to get back on track after their failed experiment this year a one year contract to help them re-develop could work well , especially if he could bring some money

  26. I hope HRT keep there current livery, Ithink Senna should stay and I wonder how long Branson is going to put up with his brand running around as a loser brand at the back of pack.

    1. I dont think there will be any Virgin logos on the cars next year, the team will be called Marrussia Racing or GP

      1. True, I was unaware as to what the future held for Virgin.

  27. It would be an utter travesty if Sutil doesnt have a seat for 2012.

    Many people moan about how drivers should be loyal to their teams but it seems ok for teams to treat their drivers without as much of the same level in loyalties.

    I think mallya is fast becoming another boulier….with his arrogance & lack of decisions and allowing things to drag on. It makes no sense for Force India to drag out this process….for the sake of the whole team and their drivers.
    He doesnt really seem to care much of his drivers – loyalty goes both ways.

    Sutil, Diresta & Hulkenberg all deserve a drive for 2012.

    One driver in particular should be thrown out of F1 = Maldonado
    -How he is quickly forgiven for his disgusting, dangerous & unsportsman-like purposeful shunt in Spa on Hamilton is beyond me – he shouldve been banned.

    F1 is losing its mojo & quickly becoming a sad sport for a number of reasons including where the importance of money overrides the importance of talent.

    1. On that basis, Hamilton should be thrown out as well for provoking the incident with Maldonado in the first place and Alonso should be thrown out for Spygate and Crashgate. Would you want that? No. Hell, every driver has done something stupid in their career. There’s no need for a witch-hunt against Maldonado.

  28. I voted for Senna, D’ambrosio, Buemi to lose they’re Formula 1 drives after Brazil.
    I don’t think they’ll be as much change in next years driver line-up as people think.
    I think Williams will stick with the same drivers and give Rubens a 20th and final year. As much as i would love to see Kimi back, it seems like more of a hope than a reality.
    I also think that, if they could, Toro Rosso would keep both drivers also. But with the backlog of young talent queuing up they have to make a tough decision – Buemi out, Vergne in.
    With Renault, i know it’s nice to see the Senna name, but in this business you have got to impress right off the bat, not take a couple of seasons to mature, i think i would be more forgiving if Bruno was say 21, but he’s 27 or 28 right? I would replace him with Grosjean.
    For Force India It’s also tough, if they let Adrian go i have no idea where he will end up, if anywhere, but surely he doesn’t deserve to be left out of the sport completely.
    For Caterham, god only knows why they gave Jarno another contract, he has been in my opionion the worst driver on the grid in 2011 power steering or no power steering he just hasn’t got it anymore.
    With Marrussia, not much to say about Jerome and that says it all really..hasn’t really shown that spark that i was hoping for.

    Well, i think that just about covers my view on things anyway.

  29. Its really more about the cars being bad than the drivers. Next year at this time most likely the bad cars will again be the bad cars and the new drivers of those cars will become foder for this type of discussion.

    Thanks to RB and his commitment to F1. Still a very good driver who looks to become a victim of a team who is an absolute mess. He has shown during his career that when in a proper race car he is as good as the best and was near to the drivers championship several times. Besides that he is such a decent guy and represents the sport with such dignity and respect.

    Seems like the other names on the list of short tenure are probably pretty much right on. Again the failings of the cars themselves look to make those drivers seeking employment elsewhere. Thanks to each of them who had to deal with cars that were simply “Belegrados”

  30. For some teams, especially HRT, the driver selection may not depend on cash rather than talent. So a driver who no longer deserves a seat may get one if they come with generous sponsorship. Looking at you, Mr Maldonado.

  31. I see Virgin juggling their 2nd driver about for a few years yet until they see someone really beat Glock (why they’d do that I’m not sure if he’s the lead driver??) so I see D’Ambrosio going.

    It’d be very refreshing to see Sutil in another car, actually. It’d put the argument about whether he’s any good or not to rest and at the minute his career is going wherever Force India is going – upwards, but perhaps too steadily for him to shock anyone.

    It’s going to be pretty sad seeing Barrichello go…especially ending on a year where his car has been so slow and unreliable. Unfortunately Maldonado seems to be staying. His money will hopefully benefit whatever driver he is paired with though.

    As for Toro Rosso, I really, really hope Buemi stays. He’s been terribly unlucky as of late when he’s been on for good finishes and although Alguersuari is emerging to be a solid, points scoring driver, the team should look at the progress this year and keep the drivers they know and love and carry on the trend in 2012.

  32. Barichello should have announced his retirement earlier, rather than wait forthe door to shut on him.
    Granted he brings a lot of experience to a team, but what are his long term objectives, and do they tally with that of his team.

    Unlike Schumacher, whose team has a 3year plan to win the championship, Williams’ current plan is to move forward in the constructors championship. It will take a lot more than a hope and a prayer before Barichello wins another race.
    Obviously then, he isn’t driving to win a championship or to be discovered. So what is he driving for?

    His place could be taken up by one of the numerous talented but younger drivers, who are eager to try new ideas and take more risk.
    It is time to move on.

  33. I’m pretty certain that picture of Barrichello at the top isn’t from Abu Dhabi… I don’t remember the run-offs being that shade of green.. Can’t think which track it would be though…

    1. Actually, just thought… Could it be Canada?

      1. @Mustalainen I suppose I could be wrong, I just couldn’t remember any green runoffs at Abu Dhabi…

  34. Ideally, I think Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Schumacher, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Perez, Glock, Kovalainen, Buemi, Alguersauri, Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Sutil, D’Ambrosio, Senna, Petrov, Ricciardo, Maldonado, Raikkonen and Grosjean have done enough of a job to warrant a place in F1. That’s not mentioning Kubica or any of the promising young talent such as Pic, Vergne, Wickens, Bird, Bianchi etc…

    However, I highly doubt these will be the 24 drivers at the wheel next year. The likes of Barrichello, Trulli, Heidfeld, Liuzzi need to give it up. Why carry on in F1 for one more year when you aren’t going to achieve anything? Barrichello and Trulli have won races and won’t win again next year. Heidfeld has had multiple podiums but after being matched by Petrov will never find himself into a competitive seat again, while Liuzzi finds himself in the same position lower down the grid.

    I hope next season we see:
    Red Bull – Vettel, Webber
    Ferrari – Alonso, Massa
    Mclaren – Hamilton, Button
    Mercedes – Schumacher, Rosberg
    Renault – Petrov, Senna
    Sauber – Kobayashi, Perez
    Williams – Raikkonen, Maldonado
    Force India – Hulkenberg, di Resta
    Toro Rosso – Alguersauri, Ricciardo
    Lotus – Kovalainen, Trulli
    HRT – Sutil, Grosjean
    Virgin – Glock, Pic

    Although hopefully Sutil can move to Lotus and replace Trulli, who will continue to be a second off his team-mate’s pace all season and let another up and coming driver move in at HRT.

    1. Huh? You say Trulli should give up, but you name him in your preferred lineup for Caterham?

      1. Yes sorry, I’ve included drivers who already have contracts for next year and filled the gaps with who I’d like to see.. I should have been more specific. I have always liked Trulli, but you can’t be almost a second off the pace of your team-mate almost all season and keep your place in F1 when the likes of Sutil, Hulkenberg, Buemi and Grosjean could be out of a seat next season.

  35. Alguersuari makes me jealous I must admit: at his age driving F1 and being DJ / producer. But as – amateur – musician myself, I cannot imagine that hè has that 110% focus needed for F1 next to his music. So, I would sack him, were I teamboss.

    1. @verstappen if his musical interest really compromises his F1 focus, doesn’t that make it the more impressive that he’s beating Buemi this year? On top of his young age and lesser experience? Even before Buemi’s recent run of bad luck this was the case.

      1. @Electrolite I’m certainly impressed with him.

        However, In these comments, I also see people making the case for Buemi and against Alguersuari, so it’s not as clear cut as – say – Alonso vs Massa.

        And from that point of view, you want you driver to give everything and not be preoccupied with something else.

        We’ve seen with Hamilton how important your mental state is and everything other then F1 is ballast. It’s as simple as that. And we’re not talking about a mere hobby, but about another career, with gigs, produciing new tracks etc.

        So as impressive as it might be, this sport requires 110% and I can’t imagine him giving that.

        (and if he turns out to be both world champion F1 and world’s best DJ… now there’s being impressed for me)

  36. I would hope for:

    Red Bull – Vettel & Webber
    Ferrari – Alonso & Massa
    Mclaren – Hamilton & Button
    Mercedes – Schumacher & Rosberg
    Renault – Raikkonen & Grosjean
    Sauber – Kobayashi & Perez
    Williams – Maldonado & Wickens
    Force India – Hulkenberg & di Resta
    Toro Rosso – Alguersauri & Buemi
    Caterham – Kovalainen & Ricciardo
    HRT – Sutil & Vergne
    Virgin – Glock & Pic

  37. the 2012 grid from my point of view

    Red Bull: Vettel and Webber
    McLaren: Hamilton and Button
    Ferrari: Alonso and Massa
    Mercedes: Schumacher and Rosberg
    Renault: Sutil and Petrov
    Force India: Di Resta and Hulkenberg
    Sauber: KAMUI!!! and Perez
    Toro Rosso: Alguersuari and Ricciardo
    Williams: Raikkonen and Maldonado
    Lotus / Caterham: Kovalainen and Trulli
    HRT: Liuzzi and Vergne
    Virgin: Glock and Wickens

    1. Nice pairings! :)

  38. soundscape (@)
    21st November 2011, 1:29

    Buemi will almost certainly be gone in my mind.

    I also think Williams will lose either Barrichello or Maldonado, but I don’t know which one, so I voted for both.

  39. I don’t think Barrichello will go further. Sutil may end up somewhere, Senna will need a lot of luck to stay in Renault.Should be end of the road for both D’Ambrosio & Liuzzi. Will be interesting to see what happens in the Torro Rosso line up but I hope Jaime Alguersuari get another chance wih Riccardo while Jean-Eric Vergne take the HRT seat.

  40. Perhaps a better poll would be –

    Who should go at season’s end ?

  41. I think Ferrari should replace Massa with Jules Bianchi… Whomever the 2nd Ferrari driver will be Alonso’s whipping boy anyway. What better way to get Bianchi up to speed with F1? And, hopefully Alonso can see that he is there to help mentor Bianchi to F1 for the next 3-5 years before retirement is on the cards.

  42. I think Barrichello, D’Ambrosio and Liuzzi will all be out of F1 after Brazil.

    Senna I’d put at a 50/50 shot of him coming back. If he loses his race seat he’ll probably stay at Renault GP/Lotus as a reserve.

    I find Sutil hard to read. I can’t decide if his issue is that he’s done worse than expected or that di Resta’s exceeded expectations. I think if he gets dropped from the race seat he’ll land elsewhere.

    I think Alguersuari and Buemi have both done well enough to deserve to stay on, but I can’t imagine both of them still being at Toro Rosso in 2013. Red Bull simply has too many drivers in the pipeline to keep them on. Though if Buemi gets dropped due to vehicular unreliability, I’m going to be quite upset (and I don’t even particularly like Buemi as a driver). He deserves better than that.

    Ricciardo may stay on at HRT if Red Bull are still willing to throw money that way.

    I must say: I will almost undoubtedly cry if Barrichello doesn’t come back. His career mirrors the time I’ve spent watching Formula One, and it’s at the point that I can’t imagine a grid without him. I know he’s not spectacular to watch, but I’ve been impressed with his ability to remain competitive (as the situation allows) for so long, and I would really like to see him leave on his own terms.

  43. It’s nice to return from holidays and find a couple of cool unread articles on F1F. This is a topic that was on my mind already before this article was published.

    I agree with the majority about which drivers will most likely have to give up their seats. But, in my opinion, the list of the drivers who will go is not the same as the list of those who should go. For sure, we have 24 excellent drivers on the grid but if some have to give way to youngsters then probably these should be the ones:

    1) Vitaly Petrov – It’s great to see a Russian driver on the grid but Petrov’s performance in his 2nd season hasn’t really impressed me. I’m also not sure if he is a good team player, his criticism towards Renault might have been fair but I doubt whether Petrov himself can help the team move forward.
    2) Bruno Senna – His results both in HRT and Renault just haven’t convinced me.
    3) Jarno Trulli – His performance level has been declining over the last two years. And I think Trulli probably finds it hard to motivate himself to fight for 17th places and he also understands that he most probably won’t stay in F1 long enough to reap the harvest of Lotus’ work.
    4) Vitantonio Liuzzi

  44. I think there will be fewer changes than most are predicting.

    Helmut Marko has said there is a strong possibility that Toro Rosso’s line-up will stay the same for next season. If that happens, Daniel Ricciardo will probably continue at HRT, and if Red Bull really wanted to, they could pay for Jean-Eric Vergne to drive alongside him. That would effectively give them two feeder teams, and would leave Vitantonio Liuzzi without a drive.

    Virgin’s team principal John Booth was effusive in his praise for Jerôme D’Ambrosio in Abu Dhabi’s Friday press conference, saying he has done a great job all year and that he is likely to be in the frame for a driver next year. I think he’ll stay, alongside Timo Glock.

    Jarno Trulli has a contract for next year, which was only recently signed, and I can’t see him losing his seat, so the Lotus Caterham line-up will stay the same too.

    In fact, the only changes I can see are Nico Hülkenberg coming in for Adrian Sutil, Kimi Räikkönen replacing Rubens Barrichello and Romain Grosjean taking Bruno Senna‘s seat. Of the three displaced drivers, Senna and Barrichello will leave the sport, while Sutil will either drive for Williams if Räikkönen’s comeback doesn’t materialise, or take up a test/reserve driver’s role at team X for one season, with a promise of a drive in 2013. I don’t see why he would want to go to any of the three new teams except perhaps Lotus, who already have their driver line-up confirmed, and there just aren’t any spaces elsewhere. A shame, because he deserves a place more than Maldonado, for example.

    The names in bold are the ones I voted for, who I don’t think will be racing in F1 next season.

  45. I think di Resta’s seat is safe, Sutil better watch his back though

  46. Rejkjavicsdottir
    21st November 2011, 12:28

    Massa. Dead in the water, unless he moves to one of the backmarkers. No way he is driving for SFR again.

  47. I’ve chosen only Rubens and Jerom. Others I don’t know. It doesn’t seem clear cut to me and can turn either way.

  48. Not sure about Barrichello, but I’m certain that Liuzzi and D’Ambrosio wont race in F1 anymore. Both have failed to impress, or there’s someone with more money taking their seats.

  49. Just some stats on the candidates above, to enrich the (already concluded?) debate:
    Based on my own database, with some data from Keith used, I’ll put it down to two variables: mean grade the drivers got from me in this year’s races, and performance one on one between team mates.
    WILLIAMS: Barrichello has had an average grade of 5,67 (#18) this season, against Maldonado’s 5,47 (#22). They are both part of a group of 8 drivers (one third of the grid) below 6,0 (which I consider an average performance). If there was no money issue involved, both seats should be replaced, but Maldonado does deserve another season to now show his true worth. For Barrichello, i do think it is time to call it quits, because although he is now beating Maldonado in all figures, but not by the margin that should be expected. 56% of laps led, 9×8 in qualifying and 7×5 in races is just not good enough.
    Bruno Senna has had a really mediocre season, worse than what Nick Heidfeld was doing with the car. His 5,29 average is the second worse of the grid, an even a worsening Vitaly Petrov, who was much stronger at the beginning of the season, is now beating him rather comfortably. He just hasn’t got what it takes. And neither does Petrov (average 5,56, #20), who had a weak first season and got better, started will into season 2 and got worse. I think Petrov and Senna should leave the team (and some Red Bull alumni or even Adrian Sutil should take the spots).
    Adrian Sutil had a rough start to the season, but has always been seen positively by people who follow F1 from close. He’s got the talent, and he’s showin the consistency of late. He’s getting the job done in races and has just passed Di Resta in laps led (now at 51%) – coming from behind, this is quite impressive. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and some merit should go do Paul. But Nico Hülkenberg does deserve a seat, and I kind of hope that Sutil gets a shot at Renault (soon to be Lotus); but he should not be out! Di Resta has clearly deserved a second season, but will have to prove himself again to earn the third chance. By the way, Sutil has averaged a 6,50 with me (#8), Di Resta a 6,47 (#9), all in all a very strong duo.
    Jerome is a nice guy, but he’ll be lucky to have another try at F1. He sits at 5,08 and last place on my list, impressing in China and Turkey and doing well in Japan and India, but not doing quite enough with the material in most of the other races. He should be out.
    In the Buemi x Alguersuari debate I am a clear fan of the swiss. 13×5 in qualifying, 6×5 in races, 53% of laps led – only the points race is being lost, for unfortunate reasons. Jaime might be able to shine more here and here, but he is not nearly as consistent. Both deserve to be in F1, but Buemi should stay in Toro Rosso. He is my #7 driver in average grade (6,50), Jaime is at 6,22, which is 15th. 9×8 in race weekends shows how close it actually is.
    Daniel Ricciardo has done enough to earn his seat in F1 next year. A 6,30 average puts him at #14 in my list. It does mean that Liuzzi shouldn’t continue in F1, after the strong start to the season. That seemed quite relative to Karthikeyan.
    Ok enough from me.

    1. Thumbs up for the detailed and well thought out post but I think you disregard a very important factor: relative performance of the cars changes throughout the season. This is espesially true regarding the Renault drivers. You cannot really compare the performance of Senna and Heidfeld directly as Renault in the second half of the season is only the 8th fastest team and scored only 6 points as compared to 66 in the first half. This also renders your statement that Petrov “got worse” very questionable. Has Vitaly got worse or the R31 got worse? I think the second option is far more likely.

      1. I do take into account that the car has not moved forward during the season, this is why I don’t compare points. But Vitaly had actual strong performances relative to the car in Australia and China, and was good in the second half of the season in Monza and Suzuka, too. But he has been dreadful in Malaysia and Singapur, and very weak at Monaco, Silverstone & Hungary. All in all, not a good season.
        I might add that there has not been a sharp decline, it was never a really good season for him. Just so you see my point, I gave his India performance a 6,0 (he did what is expected, not more) and a 5,0 in Abu Dhabi (the car wasn’t good, but he wasn’t really in form either).

        1. That’s the point. Most circuits you’ve mentioned regarding Petrov being bad/awful apart from Malaysia where he had a crash, are circuits with lots of slow corners where the R31 is weakest: Monaco/Singapore/Hungary/Abu Dhabi. Did his team-mate have a good race in those GP’s? No. So the blame should fall on the car IMO.

  50. Looks like one piece of the puzzle is in place – de la Rosa just signed a 2-year contract with HRT.

    Guess that means Liuzzi is likely to lose his seat if Red Bull continues to pay to put Ricciardo in the other HRT?

    1. Yes, but I’ve never heard anything regarding Ricciardo staying at HRT in 2012. I think it’s pretty much a given he’ll replace one of the Toro Rosso drivers next season

  51. Liuzzi should be a champion winning points scorer next season in bumper cars at amusement parks.

  52. Britalian Stallion
    21st November 2011, 19:09

    I don’t think we should say “Last F1 start”, I mean Karun Chandhok’s last race in 2010 was Britain for HRT, it wasn’t his last ever, he raced for Team Lotus at Germany this year. I don’t think we should call the 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix a final race for anyone, it’s rather risky to call it that, because who knows? They might be back before long…

    1. Well, just look at Narain as well – that one was really out of left field for me!

  53. I can see Brazil being Rubens last effort, unfortunately. I would have loved to see him lead a competitive team.

    If tyre rumours are to be believed, we won’t be setting much out D’Ambrosio, which is a shame. He’s had a good year.

    They’re the only two in my mine who won’t have a seat next year. I think the STR boys will be fine.

  54. what they need to do at STR is get vettel to do some laps then put Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Éric Vergne, Jaime Alguersuari, Sébastien Buemi and see which of them are close to vettel then give them the seats. i know it won’t happen but it would make things alot easier

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