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)
3. Jenson Button
4. Lewis Hamilton
SCUDERIA FERRARI (ITALY)
5. Fernando Alonso
6. Felipe Massa
MERCEDES GP PETRONAS F1 TEAM (GERMANY)
7. Michael Schumacher
8. Nico Rosberg
LOTUS F1 TEAM (GREAT BRITAIN)
9. Kimi Raikkonen
SAHARA FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (INDIA)
Force India Mercedes
SAUBER F1 TEAM (SWITZERLAND)
14. Kamui Kobayashi
15. Sergio Perez Mendoza
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (ITALY)
AT&T WILLIAMS (GREAT BRITAIN)
TEAM CATERHAM (MALAYSIA)
20. Heikki Kovalainen
21. Jarno Trulli
HRT F1 TEAM (SPAIN)
MARUSSIA F1 TEAM (RUSSIA)
24. Timo Glock
25. Charles Pic