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Nine vacancies for Formula 1 drivers on FIA 2012 entry list
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Nine vacancies for Formula 1 drivers on FIA 2012 entry list
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Nov 2011   |  7:20 pm GMT  |  168 comments

The FIA issued an entry list today for the 2012 F1 season with nine driver vacancies from the 24 cars which will line up for the first race in Melbourne.

Kimi Raikkonen is among the unprecedented list of six world champions in the field. Among the names unexpectedly missing from the list are Pastor Maldonado and Vitaly Petrov, both of whom were believed to have contracts to race for Williams and Lotus Renault respectively.

Toro Rosso is keeping its options open with two empty berths as is Sahara Force India, although Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg are expected to fill those seats.

Other points of note are the meritocracy at McLaren, where Jenson Button becomes the lead car #3, due to finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the 2011 championship, while at Mercedes Michael Schumacher retains the lead car #7 despite finishing behind Nico Rosberg.

Jarno Trulli’s name is on the confirmed list despite rumours in Brazil that Dr Helmut Marko and Tony Fernandes were working on a deal for Dan Ricciardo to race alongside Heikki Kovalainen.

Interestingly the Caterham entry is listed as “Team Caterham” without “F1″ in the title. In the first list issued by the FIA the former Virgin Racing was listed as “Marussia Virgin Racing”. However a later list showed them as Marussia F1 Team.

HRT also has “F1″ in its team name.

This is something that has to be worked out with Bernie Ecclestone who controls where the “F1″ can and cannot be used. This was an issue with the team that wanted to call itself USF1, one of the new teams in 2010, which sadly didn’t make it onto the grid.

Meanwhile HRT recently announced Pedro de la Rosa for 2012, but failed to put his name on the entry list.

France is represented on the F1 grid for the first time since Romain Grosjean raced for Renault in 2009 thanks to Marrussia newcomer Charles Pic.

F1 continues to become more international in terms of team ownership with nine nationalities among the 12 teams entered.

2012 F1 Entry list

RED BULL RACING (AUSTRIA)
Red Bull Racing Renault

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber

VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES (GREAT BRITAIN)
McLaren Mercedes

3. Jenson Button
4. Lewis Hamilton

SCUDERIA FERRARI (ITALY)
Ferrari

5. Fernando Alonso
6. Felipe Massa

MERCEDES GP PETRONAS F1 TEAM (GERMANY)
Mercedes

7. Michael Schumacher
8. Nico Rosberg

LOTUS F1 TEAM (GREAT BRITAIN)
Lotus Renault

9. Kimi Raikkonen
10. TBA

SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (INDIA)
Force India Mercedes

11. TBA
12. TBA

SAUBER F1 TEAM (SWITZERLAND)
Sauber Ferrari

14. Kamui Kobayashi
15. Sergio Perez Mendoza

SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (ITALY)
STR Ferrari

16. TBA
17. TBA

AT&T WILLIAMS (GREAT BRITAIN)
Williams Renault

18. TBA
19. TBA

TEAM CATERHAM (MALAYSIA)
Caterham Renault

20. Heikki Kovalainen
21. Jarno Trulli

HRT F1 TEAM (SPAIN)
TBA

22. TBA
23. TBA

MARUSSIA F1 TEAM (RUSSIA)
Marussia Cosworth

24. Timo Glock
25. Charles Pic

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168 Comments
  1. SenseiGT says:

    Schumacher takes the lead number despite being outscored? Is he paying Nico for the privilege? If not, Nico is an extremely nice guy!

    1. Forbula says:

      Schu is superstitious of even numbers. After the last two years, maybe he should try something else…

      1. K says:

        Yes I read somewhere that he says odd numbers are his lucky numbers. After these two years he hasn’t been so lucky, has he?

        If you ask me, that’s plain bullying and mind-games from him, something which he should stop and simply admit defeat and the loser of a two within the Merc camp.

        Sore loser.

      2. Gabriel says:

        That’s BS. He doesn’t like even number because even numbered drivers are always #2 drivers.

        (Unless the team finished 7th or higher in the constructors championship. Then the even numbered driver would be a #1 driver. But Schumy wouldn’t drive for a team like that.)

      3. Jack says:

        Hmmmm the even number is always lower ie ‘the number 2 driver’. Funny how these superstitions come about…

      4. Dan Orsino says:

        Funny, every champion is on an odd number except for Hamilton (4)

      5. David Goss says:

        Not always lower – after the number 13 which is skipped presumably for superstitious reasons, it goes even then odd.

      6. Jack says:

        Well yer but for Schumi’s sake lets hope the Mercedes doesn’t get him such a low number for 2013, though he’d probably give up halfway through 2012 if the car were that bad

    2. iceman says:

      It seems the “#1″ driver in each team gets the red camera mount on top of the engine cover, while the “#2″ gets the yellow one. In Mercedes case, they happen to match the colours of the drivers’ helmets. Might have some small contribution to the decision.

    3. Henry says:

      Look at the colours – the red camera bar matches Schuey’s helmet, the yellow matches Nico’s – its all about co-ordination…!

    4. For sure says:

      Nico, clearly, has a very different opinion to anti-Schumi fans. MS is his teammate, yes, but what matters to him is winning.
      He is not gonna cry “Wahhh Michael got the higher number even tho I out-scored him a bit. Thats not fair, thats not fair.”
      *Roll eyes*

    5. SNB says:

      Big rumour coming out of the UK , Nige and Damon are making a comeback with Mika in 12′

      Why not ????

      All the other old farts have come back

      Ah yes shutting the gate mid straight old style

      Watch out Schuster !

  2. Ayrton Mansell says:

    I think the likes of Montoya and Mansell et al would probably do a beter job than some of the lower order has beens, but granted its easy to talk from the armchair. I hope its not only about money but skills and talent that fill these seats for 2012!!

    1. Rob Pullar says:

      “I hope its not only about money but skills and talent that fill these seats for 2012!!”

      I’m sorry, we are still talking about F1 here, right?!!

      1. Ayrton Mansell says:

        Yes we are arent we? As I cant draw you a picture ill spell it out there are currently some lower order drivers who should not be there and the lIkes of Mansell and Montoya will do a better job and probably earn more points for the team!!

  3. John says:

    you need to add de la rosa to hrt

    1. Tay says:

      HRT didn’t include him on the list.

      1. Dan Orsino says:

        wonder if they’re thinking Sutil or Senna or even Petrov if LR decide they don’t want him.
        That’s the trouble when your options open up after you make a decision instead of before….

  4. mo kahn says:

    If I would be Lotus, then I would retain Petrov for Russian sponsorship, they already have Kimi now to focus they developmental research on. Ferrari’s sensational run was based on the principle that they focused their entire attention on giving Schumacher just the tools he needed to perform… Irvine, Rubens and Massa were on fringes of attention.

    They are used to working with Petrov and Petrov is used to working with Renault. They should concentrate on familiarising Kimi to the team, its personnel, its environment and its culture. It would be a tall ask to maintain their focus of familiarity for two drivers. And ofcourse, Petrov does have Russian Money.

    Senna, I would like to see him go to Williams and finish what his uncle couldn’t that is wining the world title. He is proven to be quick and now needs a team like Williams who is ressurging so he can build the team around him.

    Sutil should stay with Force India, it would be a mistake for Force India to let him go, keeping his recent phenomenal performances, rather Hulk should be loaned to Williams instead, since he more familiar with Williams than Sutil.

    Torro Rosso shouldn’t change their driver line up, I feel they have the second best driver line up only to Mclaren. They both push hard, so they deserve to be there. However, if they decide to bring in Riccardo then Buemi must be replaced, for Jamie has been simply brilliant.

    HRT has signed Pedro, the second driver ought to be Narain. But, then again its the Indian in me that is saying so.

    Having said all the above, I really don’t care who is driving what and who will be winning what… for I am only glad that Kimi is back :)

    1. Matthew says:

      Re: Lotus

      That’s the wrong strategy. Focussing on 1 driver works if you have a world champion level driver with the tools to win a drivers’ workd chamiponship. But Lotus don’t have that.

      Surely 2 drivers in the top 10 (maybe even top 6) would be better than 1? It’s not as if one will take points off the other resulting in losing the WDC…

      The #1 driver strategy only works if you can win the WDC, the money and prestige beyond that is all based on WCC. That’s where Lotus need to focus and that means the best 2 drivers they can get.

    2. thomas says:

      Senna, proven quick, Williams resurgent, keep Sutil because he only came alive once his seat was at risk, Narain!!!!…….

      I want whatever your’re on

    3. Tealeaf says:

      I don’t think the senna name or the Williams team will be winning any title in the near future if ever again.
      Yes it’s interesting Jenson getting the number 3 and Rosberg still number 8 but it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
      If the new ‘radical’ Ferrari is a very good car then I’d put Alonso favourites for the title, he is better than either of the Mclaren drivers and as good as Seb but even more ruthless and consistent.

    4. Thejesh C G says:

      +1

      Kimi’s the best

    5. Emma says:

      Surely if Buemi and Algersuari are the second best driver lineup, they would have been promoted to the main Red Bull team?
      I just can’t agree that they are better than Vettel and Webber. Or Alonso and Massa. Or Schumi and Nico. At the least.

      1. mo kahn says:

        According to me gauging the driver line up is based on both the drivers performing on and beyond the edge and beyond.

        Vettel v/s. Webber the difference is shocking performance wise

        Alonso v/s. Massa you all know the difference

        Schumacer v/s. Nico One does better in qualifying (Nico) while the other is formidable in races (Schumacher)

        So, there you have it :)

    6. lecho says:

      Senna for Williams? I actually like the idea! He’s a decent driver, surely more talented than Petrov and few others on the grid. Fast and pretty reliable, although still needs time to get rid of his silly mistakes costing him penalties. But if Williams will keep Barrichello on 2012 they can bring Bruno alongside him and also some money from his sponsorship to retain the team at current level and start going upwards.

  5. Parisian Bob says:

    No French team, no blue French racing livery, no French champ since the great Prost, yet a French engine powers the current champions.
    France should have reclaimed a place in f1, and what a combination now with Renault and Raikkonen, but a British outfit called Lotus will take the glory instead, quelle epoque!

    James has told us that Alesi and Berger are involved, but what about Prost himself, even in a nominal role?
    Is he still seen at the races?

    1. Trent says:

      Don’t forget – no French Grand Prix either.
      For all the talk of new races, we never hear much about one back in the ‘home’ of Grand Prix racing.

    2. F1_Badger says:

      Prost the 3 time champon :-)

      1. Ash.P says:

        Alain Prost Is A 4 Time World Champion

      2. F1_Badger says:

        Thank you…I was subtly suggesting from my place in Senna’s camp that Prost only really won 3 championships after sennas appalling disqualification by the then French mafia of F1.
        But I hasten to add its playful banter and I hope that having a Frenchman back on the grid will lead to return to the French GP. I miss it!

    3. K says:

      Prost is a failure in any F1 role other than driving, as evident from his Prost F1 team manager days.

    4. coefficient says:

      Malaysian technically. Proton own the Lotus brand entirely.

  6. Corey Henry says:

    James:

    Picking up anything on whether Bruno Senna will land anywhere? Bit of a stretch here, what about Robert Wickens, even in a third dirver role with Marussia?

    Love the blog, check it every day. Keep up the good work.

  7. Richard Mee says:

    How do I apply?

    (ps I BET i’m not the only one who writes this!)

    1. K says:

      First get yourself a few billion dollars and some personnel, plus a factory with several equipment, then befriend BE and tell him you wanna be in lol

      1. mel_drew says:

        If you can get yourself a few billion dollars, you’ll have no trouble befriending Ecclestone!

  8. Juanjo says:

    One of the HRT drivers is Pedro Martinez de la Rosa

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      Read the article mate

  9. tim says:

    James, do you know what might happen with Wickens now that Pic is in the seat at Virgin? Is he free to shop his talents around? Is he rated high enough to do so? I don’t get why Pic got the drive.

  10. Toby Mathews says:

    Phew, thought I’d missed my chance there.

  11. RH says:

    And eight operating out of the UK.

    1. Richard D says:

      But sadly only three of them are flagged as British. I would have thought that, having taken on the Caterham mantle, that team should have been registered as British. However, there is little risk of them needing their national anthem played!

  12. Joe Szpara says:

    Is it at all possible that Kubica could start the 2012 season with Lotus Renault??

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Well technically anything is possible but I would say it’s pretty sure Kubica won’t be starting the 2012 season

      1. Max Smoot says:

        …or even participating in it.

    2. Simon Donald says:

      I would be surprised if he ever comes back. His had massive hand and wrist injury from what has been described in the media. From those kind of injuries, the aim is to get a functional hand with sensation and movement of the fingers. Restoring the kind of manual function and dexterity required for F1 after multiple tendon and nerve repairs would be near to miraculous. Whilst an F1 driver is the most likely person to be able to do it, I don’t have hopes high. Having said all that, all the best to Robert and I would be the happiest person to see him back.

    3. K says:

      Is it at all possible that people can read more?

      It’s been mentioned again and again that Kubica is a free agent from Jan 1 2012 onwards and Boullier isn’t willing to resign unless Kubica can prove he is fit.

      1. Martin says:

        Yes, but cognitive dissonance takes over.

        Downforce levels and tyre wear is one technical example. James gets it right, but I still feel moved to correct those who present stuff fit for creationist “science”.

        Cheers

        Martin

      2. Gareth says:

        K, do you mean resign or re-sign?!?

  13. CTP says:

    good, hopefully this means PDLR is a tester/reserve for HRT and someone with some talent will get the drive.

    1. build says:

      I would suggest Pedro is there for his testing, management, PR and motivation skills.

  14. Trent says:

    I still laugh that in high-tech, and more to the point multi-nationality F1, there is no number 13. After all, #4 is far a far worse omen (representing death) for many Asians that #13 is for westerners!

    1. coefficient says:

      Yes but 13 is widely regarded as an unlucky number and you wouldn’t want to be tempting fate at 220mph would you?

      1. Toby Lerone says:

        I think the point Trent was making is that 13 may well be regarded as unlucky in western culture, but 4 is equally – probably more – unlucky in Asia as it represents death.

        So being overtaken at 220 mph could be considered unlucky, wheras dying is a bit more serious for most people.

    2. Doc says:

      I agree, it’s silly superstition and #13 should be included.
      If no one still wants to fill the so-called unlucky car I’d be glad to :)

  15. Blaize says:

    please let Bruno get the second seat at renualt or Williams. Im not a Senna nut but Bruno really impressed me this year

  16. Alex_D says:

    James – thanks for posting. The grid looks very interesting and honestly the most competitive I have ever seen in my life.
    Hopefully Pirelli will do something they have done in the beginning of the year (challenging teams more) and if they will – the season will be phenomenal…..
    Only if we will not see one team completely dominating the rest – this is what I did not like this year.

  17. danish says:

    James,

    why no 13 is missing from FIA entry list?

    thank

    Danish

    1. James Allen says:

      13 is considered an unlucky number certainly in Anglo Saxon culture, not sure about rest of the world

      1. Sebee says:

        Will F1 skip 2013 season all together also? :-)

      2. Toby Lerone says:

        Not 2013, as 2013 is not an unlucky number. However, I think you’ll find they DID skip a season in the year 13 for that very reason.

      3. mo kahn says:

        Even in India where numerology plays a pivotal role in cultural decision number 13 is considered as auspiciously bad luck… its been so since the dawn of the Indian Civilization which is one of the oldest civilization in world… so there ought to be something wrong with the number :)

      4. Femi Akinz says:

        Not buying it. If you think it, then maybe but if you don’t then nothing bad (linked to 13) will happen.

        In any case, if everyone feels so about it, then I guess it’s best to give it a wide berth.

      5. Chapor says:

        Hmmm… they should theoretically also skip the 13th round of the season and skip it and go straight through from the 12th to the 14th round then… :-)

      6. herowassenna says:

        Not sure about the number 13 in Italy being unlucky, but I do know the number 17 is seen as unlucky since Roman times.

        “In Italian culture, the number 17 is considered unlucky. When viewed as the Roman numeral, XVII, it is then changed anagrammatically to VIXI, which in the Latin language it translates to “I have lived”, the perfect implying “My life is over.” (c.f. “Vixerunt”, Cicero’s famous announcement of an execution.) Renault sold its “R17″ model in Italy as “R177.” See Cesana Pariol in the sport section about the name of curve 17.” Wikipedia.

        I think in modern times, Italians see the 1 as a man and the 7 as the gallows for hanging criminals.

  18. goferet says:

    Other points of note are the meritocracy at McLaren, where Jenson Button becomes the lead car #3
    ————————————————-

    Oooo that’s gotta hurt & yes am really worried with Jens being the lead driver, Whitmarsh is really going to go into overdrive in terms of favourable strategies & whatnot i.e. talking more swipes at the #2 driver.

    Next year is Jens big chance to clinch another title seeing as the #4 car has never won the WDC but which maybe easier said than done for I recall Senna too won his first title at 27, same age as Lewis in 2012.

    Anyway if Jens doesn’t do it next year, then he never will according to me for chances like this come once in a blue moon.

    Ha, interesting to see Schumi strong arm his way at Mercedes again (totally understandable with 7 titles in the bag), he clearly is afraid of even numbers for at least the #8 car has ever won the title but never the #7. So am thinking this must be a safety issue in his case.

    Interesting to see so many drivers’ seats are up in the air surely this can’t mean all those seats are going to get replaced by GP2 drivers, at least the pay drivers should be assured of drives but I would love to see the likes of Truilli & Rubens take a hike into the fog

    1. Tealeaf says:

      Why is it Jenson’s last chance next year? I would say it all depends on the car, I predict Ferrari will have a very strong car next year and may well put Mclaren in the shade, Jenson has done the ‘impossible’ and beat the overrated Hamilton give the guy some credit please, and that 7 titles Schumi’s got is under threat from Vettel, if Vettel makes it 3 in a row then there’s no question who’s the best of this era.

      1. Femi Akinz says:

        In the end , the car makes all the difference in the world. You can’t drive a car beyond its limit to a title. A race win or two – yes, but a title no.

        Hamilton overrated? Lol

      2. herowassenna says:

        I’d argue that point.
        Ferrari from 2000 to 2004, not only had the dominant car but also the best driver of that era.
        All Vettel is proving is that he’s driving the dominant car, but he is not head and shoulders above Hamilton, Alonso etc. He really needs to prove his worth in a car that is not dominating.
        If the Red Bull is equal to the others and he still dominates, then that becomes a different story.

    2. Monktonnik says:

      JB had the No1 car last year as well!

  19. Duke says:

    So Button is the number 1 now.Somehow I don’t think that would bother Lewis,although I still think he should have had a change.Rightly Schumacher should be Number 1,with his amazing history written in stone.He hasn’t anything to prove to anyone..It isn’t his fault that Merc GP have,’t yet come up with a decent car for him,although next year,according to Ross (Autosport 30th Nov)Merc GP will make their own rules next year,as none of the top teams seem to toe the line in anything.
    Good for Ross!!.Schumacher will always be Number 1,but I still feel he may drive his last year of all (2014)back home with Ferrari.

    1. David Moore says:

      I’m sorry but why on earth would Ferrari upset the Alonso applecart with a then 45 year old Schumacher to give him a swansong. He will surely finish next year or 2013 with Mercedes.

    2. K says:

      Sch No.1?

      Childish mind games from him.

    3. coefficient says:

      “Schumacher will always be Number 1,but I still feel he may drive his last year of all (2014)back home with Ferrari.”

      Pah! Sentimental claptrap! This is about as likely to happen as George Osbourne showing empathy for the common man!

    4. herowassenna says:

      Yes, I can see Ferrari re-employing Schumacher after they pushed him out 5 years ago, because they knew that he’d passed his peak!

  20. Darren says:

    James, do you have any insights into why Rubens seems to have fallen out of favour at Williams?

    It seemed to be a mutual love fest there last year.

    1. James Allen says:

      My sense of it is that although the engineers really rate him Adam Parr wants to move on.

      1. SenseiGT says:

        If Adam Parr has any sense at all he will listen to his engineers and keep RB. These days you need an experienced hand AND a young charger.

      2. Andrew Carter says:

        In that case they need a young charger because Maldonardo definitely isnt one.

      3. Monktonnik says:

        I personally think Adam Parr should move on then.

        I’m sure he isn’t personally to blame for their fortunes, but they haven’t had the best time since he has been on board.

  21. t ramp says:

    I need to take all this in. How can the pedro be still on the grid?

  22. Dave B says:

    Ricciardo to Caterham or STR!

    1. AA says:

      I think it would be awfully unfair to not give Ricciardo a drive in STR. I mean, now he has had experience in an F1 car and has shown he can beat Vettel in the same car, he deserves that seat.

      We could be looking at future WDC here (if he ends up in RBR).

      Look at Vettel, he got a seat in STR then went onto RBR, then went onto claim two WDC (so far). What if Marko had stuck Vettel in a back-of-the-grid team (like HRT) instead of STR?

      If Vergne, fresh from GP2 gets a drive in STR, and Dan get’s knocked back into a backmarker seat (or worst, a reserve driver), it would be another Australian driver’s career that has been negatively affected by Dr Marko.

      1. Andrew Carter says:

        When has Ricciardo beaten Vettel in the same car? As I recall this is the first year they’ve raced agaisnt each other, if you can call putting an HRT against a red Bull racing each other.

        And Vergne’s coming from Renault 3.5, not GP2.

      2. Rob Newman says:

        AA is referring to the 2010 Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi. Ricciardo set a time faster than Vettel during the test days but the conditions were different to those on the race weekend. Also, we don’t know the car configurations on those days.

    2. Rob T says:

      Why not Williams…
      They’ll take anyone’s money for the drive, and given they were the only team to move backwards in terms of the championship this year their payment from the FIA is shrinking this year while their main competitors is the same or growing

      1. Dave B says:

        Williams is probably an option, but I thought Caterham had some sort of deal with RBR for gearbox and KERS or something along those lines which will probably influence the deal. JA, could comment/speculate/confirm?

        Having said that, the leaps and bounds in terms of car performance that STR have made this year mean my preference lies with STR. I just dont want to see another Aussie driver hung out to dry!

      2. Ash.P says:

        the payment for 2011 wont come until 2013 so they should be ok for another 12 months

  23. John Butcher says:

    Have Ferrari finished their association with Marlboro now? I know that tobacco advertising ended a while back but I also know that they were Marlboro Scuderia Ferrari at one point.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, Philip Morris still put a lot of cash into the team. It is still officially called “Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro”, although not on the FIA list yesterday, I noticed.

      1. Darron says:

        Ferrari still get buckets of cash from Philip Morris, but they dropped Marlboro from the team name the week of the 2011 British Grand Prix. It was done rather quietly, I only read about it last week when I spotted Marlboro was missing from the Brazilian GP entry list

  24. stuart briggs says:

    Hi james,would there be any chance that renault has a say in the line up at williams,i was thinking for cheaper engines they could influence the choice. just a thought.On a different question and i may have missed this,whats the story behind the williams-qatar deal? I have looked for the story and cant find anything. Help anyone? and again great site and season greetings to all.

  25. Søren Kühle says:

    I find it interesting that Marussia (Virgin) is the only team left with a Cosworth engine.
    James whats the story there?
    On a sidenote: I really hope that Senna retains his seat. I know it’s pobably just wishfull thinking and probably unfair to everybody including Bruno, but seeing his name, the yellowish helmet in that black and gold livery car just feels right.. ;)

    1. James Allen says:

      HRT is listed as TBA on the engine side. They were Cosworth this year, but have a deal for transmission with Williams who have now moved to Renault

      1. Paul H says:

        Didn’t Cosworth say when they returned that they needed a certain minimum number of teams to make it financially viable?

      2. James Allen says:

        Yes, three. But Lotus bought themselves out of the contract to move to Renault for 2011.

  26. Matthew says:

    James -

    I’m posting this here in the hope you’ll pick it up…

    You do the ‘driver of the day’ survey every race, which I think is great.

    Why don’t you award some points according to votes and give us a fans’ choice championship based on that?

    Maybe a bit much to do throughout the season but would be interesting to see the result at the end.

    Happy to tot it up for you if you’re short for time…

    Matt

    1. Matthew says:

      Also could do a comparison between points and cumulative votes, would be interesting to see.

      I have a feeling it would produce a very different table and a good indicator of the fans’ perception of where the drivers are, adjusted against their machinery. I think this is something a lot of fans yearn for, especially in seasons where one car is dominant.

      It might also give an idea of a consensus to help us frame our world-view amongst our peers.

    2. James Allen says:

      Sounds like a good plan

    3. MISTER says:

      I like your thinking

  27. Geoff Smith says:

    I’m disappointed that Mercedes has put Schumacher at 7. I want Schumacher to be serious about his driving. I want him to acknowledge that Rosberg has been the better performer by taking number 8.

    1. lecho says:

      Rosberg was the one who was more consistent scorer of the two, but it was Schumacher’s drives that caught more attention this year.

    2. Max Smoot says:

      …completely agree

  28. Nick T. says:

    With Kimi back, now it’s time for the second best personality and set of attachments behind Kimi to come back: “Resurgent Williams Resigns Juan Pablo Montoya & Lands Qatar National Bank in Shocker!” + “Maldonado Detained by Hague; To Be Replaced With Tony Stewart” lol, that’d be hilarious and entertaining. The heaviest and worst conditioned drivers in F1 history, but a lot of fun to watch.

  29. Paul says:

    James, Do you think there is a link between De La Rosa’s late signing to HRT (although not on the official entry list) and the fact that they do not have an engine supplier named on their entry?
    Could there be a deal to run Mercedes engines using Pedro’s experience of them with McLaren?

    I love the silly season!!

  30. K says:

    James, why is it every year since his comeback, Schumacher retains a higher car number?

    1. James Allen says:

      Because he’s good at getting what he wants

      1. For sure says:

        Brilliant answer, LOVE it.

      2. JohnBt says:

        LOL James, bullseye!

      3. Kris says:

        Now that’s one answer that flatters me lol

    2. Rob Newman says:

      Schumi said he is superstitious and always wants an ‘odd’ number.

    3. Darron says:

      He was initially given No. 4 for 2010, as Rosberg had already been assigned No. 3. But after a word in Ross’ ear about his “superstitions” and agreement with Nico, they were swapped

  31. Sri says:

    How come Kimi has been given a number lower than that of the second driver who presumably would be one who participated last year? Kimi is within single digits even after a 2 year hiatus!

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Kimi’s been signed as the lead driver, so he gets the #9 over #10.

      As a world champion, I cant see him coming back as number 2 to Petrov, or Senna or even Sutil.

    2. RodgerT says:

      The numbers are assigned by the FIA to the teams on criteria that goes something like this:

      The team that the driver who won the previous years drivers championship drives for gets numbers 1 & 2. After that the numbers are given to the teams based on where they finished in the constructors championship the previous year.

      Since Renault was 5th in this years WCC they get numbers 9 & 10, and since Kimi will be the teams #1 driver he gets the lower number.

  32. Tony G says:

    Painful to see the once mighty Williams team struggling to pick up “renta drivers”. So now we have only 4 teams with a decent budget while the rest (incl Renault, sorry Lotus died with Chapman in 1982) are struggling to make ends meet. Hardly cause for optimism, is it?

  33. Allan says:

    If I was RBR i would have gotten rid of Webber already, and replace him with of the STR drivers who no doubt deserve to get promoted into a tier-1 team. Then fill in the vacant spot at STR with Dan Ricciardo. Webber has done absolutely nothing but struggle the whole season even with one of the best car on the grid. All the other journeymen like Barri, Trulli, Glock, PDLR, and perhaps Kov should just move out and make way for the younger guys. They’ve all had their fair chance to shine in a top winning team, yet all of them failed to impress.

    1. Rob Newman says:

      Webber is one of the well respected and best drivers out there. Unfortunately for him, Vettel did a phenomal job this year. None of the Torro Ross drivers proved that they are worhty of a RBR seat for next season. They didn’t do anything exceptional to be honest. Webber will be back to his old form next year – hopefully.

      1. Allan says:

        The STR drivers had performed well enough to justify at least one of them moving up to RBR. Vettel didnt do anything exceptional either when he was at STR, but got his chance to move up and he’s been at the top of his game since. Point being, Mark may very well be one of the best and respected drivers, but if it wasnt for the natural speed of his car he’ll just be mixing it with the middle of the pack boys.

      2. Rob Newman says:

        Didn’t Vettel get the first pole and bring the first win for Torro Rosso beating their own big brother Red Bull? Compared to that, what has any of the other four Torro Ross aspirants have done?

    2. Andrew Carter says:

      When did Glock drive for a winning team?

      1. Allan says:

        My bad…

      2. Glenn says:

        Brazil 2008

    3. Stephen says:

      Kovalainen has been remarkable, this year. A wonderful turn-around, as he was a relatively poor performer at McLaren. If Caterham performs to their on-paper potential, next season, then I feel that Heikki will really get to show off what he can do. It must be so frustrating to out-perform the car in qualifying and then be brought back to reality during the race.

      I’m a big JB fan and glad to see him doing well with McLaren. I just worry about his lack of raw pace at the start of races and his overall qualifying performance.

      I’m absolutely thrilled that Raikkonen is back, but I don’t have high expectations for his first season. I see a number of parallels with Michael’s return in that he’ll probably be in a frustrating car, as well as not having driven in a long while. I do hope he does well though. Six champions slugging it out would be satisfying to watch.

  34. Ajit says:

    Dear James

    Do you know why F1 is restricted to only 13 teams? More teams mean more cars and more money for Bernie?

    Thanks

    Ajit

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      If I remember right it was part of the 1997 changes, along with the £42mil deposit, to keep the no hpers that should never have been on the grid, like Forti Corse, out of the sport after the early 90′s was littered with them.

  35. Vvipkho says:

    Team Caterham name change back to Caterham F1 Team.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not in the list I got from the FIA it isn’t

      1. Femi Akinz says:

        On the McLaren issue, is it normal for teams to allow the contract of a ‘superstar’ driver to enter its last year? Or is there more to it than meets the eye at McLaren with Lewis contract?

      2. TheBestPoint? says:

        I think Lewis was the one not in a hurry earlier this year.
        Not much Mclaren can do about that – except build a better car that is.
        He has made a few comments about signing as reported by some papers but interestingly one broadsheet has him down as stalling _so the media comments were they voluntered by Lewis or drawn out of him?
        I think its a good idea to wait a bit longer at least until testing – Mercedes with Brawn, Haug &Nico is worth keeping an eye on especially if they intend ignoring the RRA like Redbull.

      3. TheBestPoint? says:

        However, in the interest of conspiracies however these are the little titbits i found interesting:

        1. Whitmarsh- when he was urging Williams to sign Raikkonon: is he anticipating a “fast driver” vacancy or trying to ensure a stronger bargaining position?
        2. Lewis reaction to being beaten by his teammate: (the press had him as throwing his toys out of the pram, were there to be any such hint but so far we see nothing of the sort, )the likes of RedBull -Newey and Ferrari who operate driver 1 race teams – can see that any driver histrionics will not be coming from Lewis. Rosberg will fancy his chances better now than earlier when he had no appetite for the fight. Ironically, and assuming he gets his act together and drives better next year – this year may well further enhance his attractiveness to all of the BIG 4. He has constantly said he learnt lessons from his rookie year and knows to put the team first – he has surely proved it.

  36. Matt W says:

    It seems some aspects of the press seem to be sensationalising the “lead” number issue. It isn’t a “lead” number it is purely assigned on the previous championship positions. It has absolutely no bearing on who is favoured in a team (aside from some unprecidented and unique circumstances where qualifying may be cancelled – if that rule is still in place).

    I can’t imagine Rosberg and Hamilton will spend any time worrying about it. Just as Ferrari didn’t spend much time worrying about losing the 27 and 28 when the numbering rules changed in the 90s.

  37. robert says:

    Hello James,

    I know there will be 6 world Champions in the field but there will also be 10 race winners at least, and potentially Rubens might get a drive and make it 11 (unlikely i know).

    In your recollection has there ever been more race winners on the starting grid for a race, or even a higher percentage of the total?

    1. Dave Aston says:

      Bending the rules, I know, as some hadn’t yet won a race, but the 25 car grid at the 1985 Australian GP featured 14 who had or would win a Grand Prix; Rosberg, Laffitte, Berger, Senna, Alboreto, Lauda, Patrese, Boutsen, Prost, Tambay, Jones, Piquet, Mansell, and de Angelis! Not a bad group…

    2. Dave Aston says:

      Again, some hadn’t won one yet, but… 16 out of 25 at the 1978 US GP – Reutemann, Jones, Scheckter, Jabouille, Fittipaldi, Tambay, Hunt, Arnoux, Pironi, Laffitte, Regazzoni, Rosberg, Villeneuve, Watson, Andretti, Lauda…

      1. robert says:

        There not bad lists.

        Out of interest who was the last person to win their first GP (if you see what i mean)?

        Was Vettel or Webber? or have i missed someone.

      2. Dave Aston says:

        Webber. Question is, who’s there that will win one in the future? Kobayashi, Perez, Rosberg, di Resta?

      3. Dave Aston says:

        PS, out of the six world champs on the grid next year, they have 14 championships all up. Michael has seven, the rest have seven between them…

      4. Stu says:

        Webber I’d have thought.

      5. robert says:

        Sorry to harp on, but who do you all think will be the next person to win their first race?

        Rosberg has to be favourite, but whoever gets there hands on the Red Bull after Webber might be a better shout.

  38. Ohm says:

    Hi James,

    I’ve heard before that a team cannot have ‘F1′ on its own in its name but why is it odd that Team Caterham is lacking ‘F1′ in its name? Is there another rule or something?

    1. Darron says:

      Its supposed to be that if a team want’s F1 in its name then it must be followed by Team, like for Sauber F1 Team, HRT F1 Team, etc

      Funny one is when Renault changed to Lotus Renault GP this year, they did it as they wanted to be Lotus Renault F1, but were told they had to have Team at the end, so they went for Lotus Renault GP

      Now they’ve changed to Lotus F1 Team, when you’d have thought it would be Lotus GP!

      1. Ohm says:

        Lol yea..but I’m still not clear, is there a rule that says if you have ‘Team’ then you have to have ‘F1′? I know if you have ‘F1′ then you need to have ‘Team’ but didn’t know it was the other way around too…?!

  39. Craig @ Manila says:

    Looks like this article has prompted a flurry of “Hi James” questions so I’ll add another one just to give you something else to do (!).

    Is there any rule in place regarding how many drivers a given team can utilise in a seat during the course of a season?

    I’m thinking that it would make financial sense for any team that needs to use pay-drivers to use a different one for every race for the first half of the season and then the best of that lot for the second half. In the other seat, they would use someone like PDLR to develop the car and hopefully keep the thing finishing each race.

    The team would possibly be able to reap more income from the scheme and then pick the best of the lot for the remainder of the races and then into the next season.

    I can’t recall any team that has “pushed the boundaries” that far. Would it be allowed by F1 do you think ?

    1. Darron says:

      There used to be one that the first numbered car could only have one change, and the second numbered car could have unlimited changes, don’t know if that still applies

      It was in place in 2001, can remember with Jordan, Frenzten was 11, Trulli 12. when Frentzen was sacked was replaced with Zonta in Car 11. Then Alesi was brought in but as 11 had had one change, they changed Trulli from 12 to 11, and gave Alesi 12.

      Quite how that didn’t mean 11 had had two changes, I don’t know. Think Jordan took advantages of the many loop holes with F1 rules!

    2. Stu says:

      I heard you were allowed 4 drivers in a season but not 100% sure of that. Circa HRT in 2010 with Senna, Chandok, Yamamoto and Klein.

  40. Turbo says:

    Wish Montoya made a comeback into F1

  41. Luke DLP says:

    Hi James,
    Despite Kovalainen being named at Lotus/Proton is there any danger of him getting a decent drive in the next year or two.. say with Renault?
    Am I the only one who thinks he deserves and could really contribute to a mid-level team?! Also for you personally are you still involved with Ten Australia? I understand the whole ONE HD thing fell apart completely but I’ve really appreciated the input from yourself and to a lesser extent TC and really hope both of you stick around to give us in the antipodes some knowledgeable F1 input.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes I do pres work for Network 10 and they have F1 rights for quite a few years to come. Really enjoy it! Thanks

  42. Lynn says:

    James, your tweet mention about some more announcement from Renault-Lotus. Any updates? Thanks.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not currently. Watching and waiting..

    2. AA says:

      Rumours about a female reserve driver for Lotus-Renault is starting to surface.

      Also, maybe we should look at the list of everyone on gardening leave…..

  43. Mr G says:

    My insider in Italy is confirming these possible options
    Di Resta and Hulk at Force India
    Trulli third driver at Caterham with one of the Reb Bull / Toro Rosso drivers with Heikki, possible Ricciardo
    Williams might retain Maldonaldo with a possible Petrov if he is okay to leave Lotus Renault that will have Sutil.
    But Sutil could go as well at Toro Rosso, he is brining with him a couple of good sponsor.
    If Ricciardo goes to Caterham, Toro Rosso will confirm one of their driver, Alguesari, and give a seat to Vergne.
    Hrt will have De la Rosa and maybe Buemi if Barrichello is retiring.

    Or maybe we will only know when teasm will announce the list.

  44. Andrew Carter says:

    It disappoints me to see so many teams listed as coming from all over the world when they are British. I dont care where the money comes from, RBR, Caterham, Mercedes, Force India and Marussia are British teams, not Austrian, Malaysian, German, Indian or Russian.

  45. James D says:

    James, is there a realistic chance Maldonado will be dropped by Williams?

    1. James Allen says:

      Depends on the Venezuelan oil company money. That situation is under review in Venezuela, as the news bulletins have recently described

  46. F1 Fanatic says:

    James any clues on Petrov’s situation with Renault?

  47. Arnie S says:

    Application:
    Hmmm. Nine places to apply. Which one would suit me the best….. BTW James, where can I get an application form :)

  48. Kit says:

    Any remote news that Nick Heidfeld is being head-hunted , especially by mid-rung or lower teams?

    Or even Christian Klien?

  49. F1 Fan says:

    Yes, 9 drivers and most are capable of joining Raikkonen at LRGP. However, let us help Lotus F1 Team pick Raikkonen’s team-mate for 2012 – interesting link here – http://bit.ly/sWrRdY – One thinks that Sutil can go to LRGP too? What do you guys think?

  50. Cee says:

    James if Kovalainen and Trulli are driving for Caterham what’s up with the Ricciardo links? Does Trulli have a clause in his contract?

    Also isn’t De La Rosa driving for HRT?

  51. Jason C says:

    I know Ecclestone asserts that he has the ‘F1′ trademark, but has he ever successfully defended it? He was defeated in court a few years ago over a similar trademark that used ‘F1′.

    Just occurred to me, reading the post…

  52. Allan says:

    Great to see 6 champions on the grid next year, but pity that we wont be seeing all 6 fighting wheel to wheel at every race at the front and for the title. Kimi will sadly be middle of the pack just like Shumi. And unless Ferrari and Mclaren can up their game to match RBR, we’ll see another runaway Vettel champion again in 2012….which got a little boring for me as i like to see titles being fought for right till the end.

  53. Speed Racer says:

    The BIGGER picture is!!!!
    Raikkonen to RBR in 2013,
    Kovalainen to Lotus in 2013,
    Ricciardo to Toro Rosso in 2012
    Ricciardo to RBR in 2013
    Vettel to Ferrari in 2013
    Jean-Eric vergne to Toro Rosso in 2013
    Kubica íf healthy’to Lotus 2013,
    Sutil in Mercedes in 2013,
    Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013,
    Webber to McLaren in 2013,
    Massa Gone, Beumi Gone, Rubens Gone…..

    1. Schmorbraten says:

      Maybe you’d better lay off the speed a little …

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