The Formula One 'Silly Season' is upon us.
It’s that time of year again. The Formula One 'Silly Season' is upon us, although it must be said that it seems to be a 12 month affair these days. Rumours are abound of who may go where, who wants to go where and who may be out of a drive. So let’s have a look and try to predict the 2015 Formula One grid.
It would be a major surprise should there be any change at Mercedes, Red Bull, and Williams. Despite Sebastian Vettel having many problems this year, he is locked in to a long term contract at Red Bull, and you would imagine Renault will raise their game engine wise. Also, any team with that designing genius Adrian Newey involved must be at the sharp end of the grid.
At Mercedes, Hamilton or Rosberg won't be leaving. The only fly in the ointment may be their personal relationship, but that said, they're still going to stay put. The same can be said at Williams . I imagine Bottas is going into the notebook of many team managers but for now, he is unlikely to jump ship.
Massa seems settled in the team and with his great friend Rob Smedley involved again, I feel he will stay put. He is invaluable to any team with the feedback he can give about the cars. Think of Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, and we know that Williams is quite capable of shocking us all.
So we come to Ferrari. What on Earth will Maranello do. The team are a long way away from championship form, which has been the case for a while now. Fernando Alonso is surely the best driver in Formula One and is scoring good points with a poor car. There are constant rumours that he will return to McLaren as he and Ron Dennis appear to be friendly with each other again. The problem is, McLaren are even futher away from a winning car than Ferrari.
They do, however, have Honda power next year, and Honda are believed to want Alonso in one of their machines. The chances are McLaren will get it right before Ferrari do so don’t be surprised if Alonso moves. Kimi? Well, Kimi is a very quick and talented driver. I would be surprised if Ferari let him go again so quickly, so don't expect him to go anywhere. So who drives the second Ferrari ? Jules Bianchi impressed in the Silverstone test, but would they take the chance? If it was me, i would put Nico Hulkenberg in the second car. He has surely proved his worth and earned his chance with a top-tier team.
Jenson Button looks in danger of losing his McLaren drive. That would be sad, especially as he has worked with Honda in the past. Magnussen will surely stay at McLaren and if Alonso goes there, Jenson, sadly will be on the outside looking in. Maybe to replace Hulkenberg at Force India ? Perez will continue his tenure at Force India and ironically, the 2013 McLaren drivers could end up teammates at Force India. Not a bad deal for Force India at all.
Importantly, Jenson would stay with Mercedes power which would be invaluable to the team. The only fly in the ointment, is Grosjean who has said he is leaving his options open. Nobody quite knows the inner workings of Lotus, but they do have Mercedes engines next year. I can foresee Button going to Lotus with Grosjean moving to Force India personally. Then we have Maldonado…..well he brings big sponsorship dollars to Lotus which they need. Maybe he would learn a lot from Button to improve his driving? Lest we forget, he has won a Grand Prix when at Williams.
As for the aforementioned Bianchi, he could find himself at Sauber for a year. He is under Ferrari’s young driver scheme and of course, Sauber have Ferrari power. A move of that sorts could end with the ousting of Guttierez perhaps? Sutil will probably remain a Sauber driver. Torro Rosso will, and should, drop Vergne for Carlos Sainz Jr. Sainz is one of the best single seat talents around, and is owned by Red Bull. Kyvat has done a remarkable job at Toro Rosso and will only continue to impress.
Finally, to the smallest teams in Formula One; Marussia and Caterham. Marussia are improving and could do worse than take Vergne in the team. His experience at Toro Rosso would be invaluable to them. Chilton, I imagine will lose his seat. As for Caterham, we don’t yet know how long the team will exist. Both Marussia and Caterham are sure to take young talent, preferably with some sponsorship. They will scour GP2, GP3, Formula Renault for their drivers. Personally, I would like to see Jolyon Palmer in the second Marussia. There is more talent around than seats sadly.
In 2016, we will have Hass Formula joining the party, in what form we don’t know quite yet, but Ferrari seems to be their number one choice in terms of a technical partnership. We'll have to wait and say what happens there.
So there you have it, the game of Formula musical chairs is in full swing. Doubtless, I will most likely be completely wrong but it will be fascinating to see who goes where nonetheless.
So what do you think, how will the 2014/2015 Formula One 'Silly Seson' shake out?