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Rosberg on move as driver market kicks in
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Rosberg on move as driver market kicks in
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jul 2009   |  2:59 pm GMT  |  23 comments

The politics which have dominated Formula 1 appear to be more under control now and as a result the talk here in the paddock is all about drivers movements for next season.

Rosb

Normally this subject is top of the agenda at this time of year, but teams and journalists have been too tied up dealing with possible breakaways.

One move which seems to be on the cards is Nico Rosberg to BMW in place of Nick Heidfeld. The 24 year old is in his fourth season with Williams and clearly feels it is time to move on. He said yesterday in the press conference that he is happy at the team but that he is reviewing all his options. BMW has had a very poor season, but prior to 2009 they were front runners and Rosberg is gambling that they will throw a lot of effort at building a fast car for 2010. Rosberg and Robert Kubica know each other well as they raced against each other extensively in karts.

One name doing the rounds as a replacement for Rosberg at Williams is Rubens Barrichello. He has revitalised his career this season, running Jenson Button close in the Brawn car and although they might like to keep him for his technical ability, they may need to look for a young driver with sponsorship for next season as the Honda money dries up. Williams is an admirer of Barrichello’s work. Rubens is 37 but still going strong.

It is looking increasingly likely that Fernando Alonso will move to Ferrari at the end of this season, with the announcement expected in November, at the same time as Spanish bank Santander join the team. Alonso would replace of Kimi Raikkonen, although the Finn is holding out for a big payoff, which is believed to be in excess of €25 million, as he has another year on his contract. As Ferrari would have to pay Alonso a similar sum, that would put a sizeable hole in their 2010 budget.

Another driver whose name is being linked with Ferrari by my Italian colleagues is Sebastien Buemi. Not immediately, but as a possible driver for the future.

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23 Comments
  1. Janet says:

    I still don’t follow why you think Kimi would go instead of Massa? Is it pay?

  2. LynnD says:

    Re Drivers: I had always assumed that teams (especially the top ones) had performance clauses in the drivers’ contracts. E.g. if Massa outperforms Kimi by say 30% based on specific metric (qualy, race, fastest lap etc)- disregarding mechanical failures – then the team could replace him on the basis that he didn’t perform well enough to meet his contract. Do the teams have this type of setup? Or is it like the banking system, where you get a bonus of you do well, but there’s no penalty if you have a few bad years? (And we all know how well that has worked out…)

  3. P Byrne says:

    So despite the denials paddock rumour is STILL saying Alonso’s move to Maranello is imminent? Interesting. I hope so. I believe Alonso would be pulling better results out of the ’09 Ferrari than the current duo.

    Buemi for Ferrari though? That’s a shock. As a long-term no. 2 to Alonso?

    I don’t really rate Rosberg, not with the depth of talent we have these days. He’s good, but not ‘Nando/Lewis good I think.

  4. Nick Watterson says:

    Excellent! Some news that doesn’t revolve around the FIA/FOTA spat! Williams could do a lot worse than Rubens for next year, and would certain change the dynamic of a team that currently has the youngest driver line-up. I’m a fan of having an experienced guy in one of the seats. From a development point of view, they have so much to offer. So does this pave the way for the Senna name to be returning to F1…? And an all new line-up for Renault, next year…?

  5. Luis says:

    Great, this is the type of stories I like to hear at this time of the year.

    I am not sure about the Rosberg move. Being team-mate to R. Kubica will be tough, but I am convinced that it is the right move thinking longer term. I was dreaming for Nico going to Renault if the Alonso move is confirmed. James, guys, who do you think would replace Alonso at Renault? I have no clue…because I don’t see Reanult running two rookies, I think the brand needs some presence linked to a strong and well known driver.

    I am pretty sure Rubens will do well for Williams, he may not be winning races but he will help to move the team forward, especially if he is partnering a young talent. I hope Williams manage to keep the Toyota engines even if they get rid of Nakajima.

  6. Jose Arellano says:

    Hey does anybody knows if the STR has the updates RB had in silverstone? or wheen they are going to get them? i reckon if they get them they would be fighting for more decent places…

  7. Blythy says:

    But this begs the question, where will heidfeld go? I really rate heidy, was awesome at silverstone last year.

  8. Spike says:

    Even you James? With the silly rumors about Alonso replacing Kimi for next year? How much are you willing to bet that wont happen? Kimi will stay for 2010 – at least. He once said that he has never broken a contract and is not about to either. And why would Ferrari replace him? He is not underperforming and is so far outqualifying his teammate. Which is supposed to be Massas strong side.

    People who believe this seem rather naive to me. Time will tell. I will remember to come back and gloat.

    1. James Allen says:

      Let’s wait and see shall we?

  9. Martinco5 says:

    “wait and see…”, is there a more overused phrase in racing James?

    Rosberg has to go up against a Kubica, Hamilton, Vettel sometime, he can’t avoid them forever.

    Rubens at Team Willy would be good with a younger driver alongside but who? Senna perhaps, Adam Carroll maybe?. BUT, do they need to keep Nakajima to keep Toyota happy/get a discount on the engines?

    Alonso to Ferrari, the longest running rumour in the entire history of Formula 1, if you keep saying/writing it for long enough,it will happen eventually but why 2010 if it is going to cost so much to buy Kimi out of his contract?

    To Luis: cannot see a front runner going to Renault. He would want a car that is competitive all season, Renault are unable to do that now. Nick Heidfeld might fit the role, Blythy.

  10. Ani says:

    What happens at Mclaren … Heikki stays ?

    ‘lets wait and see ‘ ? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      Judging from the way things have been going lately it’s beginning to look as though his head has been done in. Haug would like Vettel, obviously, but Glock is a name you hear in connection with that seat. I’m not sure. The team like Heikki and would love him to turn it around.

  11. Simon of Melbourne says:

    I dare say James is more informed to comment than anybody here on the state of affairs surrounding Kimi Raikkonen, and wouldn’t post that the Finn was leaving Ferrari unless he had received word from pit lane. For those younguns, you may forget James has been a part of the F1 media for 15 years or so.

  12. Prancer says:

    Well you seem to get most things right James, so I’m already imagining how Alonso will fit in next season :-)
    I think he will obviously be good at driving the team foward.
    And I think Rubens would be an excellent choice for Williams – and unlike perhaps earlier in his career I think now he could handle Frank and Patricks sometimes less than cuddly management style!
    Do you have any idea of the situation regarding Nakajima and the engines James?
    Nice lad, But I doubt he will ever be quick enough.I’ve always thought Adam Carroll would be a perfect fit for Williams.But then again I’m from Northern Ireland!

  13. Brenda says:

    James,

    I am crushed by your statements that kimi is being told to leave… a WDC, very popular among fans and drivers.

    Pray tell, do you know if he intends to remain in F1 (although he has said his last team would be Ferrari) if his contract is really kaput?

    I have nothing against alonso and feel he deserves the seat as well. I am just trying to understand why LDM would want to see kimi go as we can see they have a great relationship aside from bringing the WDC to ferrari in his inaugural year at ferrari.

    I actually feel it would generate much more fanfare and “glamourama” to have 2 WDCs driving for the most prestigious team. I also feel that an alonso-kimi pairing is what fans would love to see. I believe they have great mutual respect for one another (based on the pictures, vidoes and interviews of them together etc). oh well, this will be an unfulfilled fantasy now :(

  14. jw1980 says:

    If Alonso leaves Renault at the end of the season is it fair to say that Renault will leave F1?
    Alonso is deserving of a Ferrari drive but I cannot see how he will get on with Raikkonen.
    Raikkonen is supremely talented although we rarely see it these days. If he starts performing to his highest abilities again he will give Alonso a run for his money and Alonso will not react well to that.

  15. Ray McGrath says:

    Barrichello to Williams? Hmmm… I wonder if his BBC interview this afternoon has put an end to that possibility. Rubens has a bit of previous when it comes to throwing his toys around, and everyone knows Frank Williams doesn’t stand for that kind of behaviour. I really hope I’m wrong, but I think he might be spending more time on the golf course next year.

  16. Jack Tors says:

    Personally I think its time for Barrichello to go…his whining is tiresome…was the same at Ferrari. Heidfeld is the guy with the most to lose in the driver shuffle. In my view this was his year to get his win and prove his worth in a top seat…unofortunately it has not happened. Granted the car has underperformed, but he always seems to have bad luck or a good excuse. Dont get me wrong…ive always pulled for him and rate him highly. But theres many good drivers for a team to choose from…I hope he lands at Renault (dont see any other possibilities…Toyota maybe?) But sadly I see his career ending as Fisi’s has/will….in a lower rung team and what could have been.

  17. hassa says:

    “Let’s wait and see shall we?”

    Uhm, practice what you preach!

    People in online discussions are using this website of yours as a source of confirmation for the news that Alonso will replace Räikkönen at Ferrari. I don’t quite believe you have been waiting to see what will happen… just read your own stories again or perhaps stop giving out advice “Let’s wait and see.”

  18. Bazil says:

    So what does this do to these nonsense Raikkonen rumors?

    “There is nothing new,” the Italian insisted. “Surely everyone remembers last season, when the rumours were the same.”

    “Believe the team and the facts, not rumours,” Domenicali added, when asked why it is so strongly believed in the paddock that Fernando Alonso is set to replace Raikkonen.

    http://en.f1-live.com/f1/en/headlines/news/detail/090715135630.shtml

  19. william says:

    Quote”# Janet
    July 10th, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

    I still don’t follow why you think Kimi would go instead of Massa? Is it pay?

    The simple answer is that Massa knows how play number two to a better driver which he learned during the Schumacher years…

  20. RON says:

    Kimi was always over hyped – he was never a real Michael Schumacher replacement.

    Kimi is more off Michael’s pace then Massa – typically 0.5 sec a lap…

    All of Button and Kimi’s results are a result of FIA interefence, and nothing else – period.

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