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Nine vacancies for Formula 1 drivers on FIA 2012 entry list
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 Renault

1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Mark Webber

McLaren Mercedes

3. Jenson Button
4. Lewis Hamilton


5. Fernando Alonso
6. Felipe Massa


7. Michael Schumacher
8. Nico Rosberg

Lotus Renault

9. Kimi Raikkonen
10. TBA

Force India Mercedes

11. TBA
12. TBA

Sauber Ferrari

14. Kamui Kobayashi
15. Sergio Perez Mendoza

STR Ferrari

16. TBA
17. TBA

Williams Renault

18. TBA
19. TBA

Caterham Renault

20. Heikki Kovalainen
21. Jarno Trulli


22. TBA
23. TBA

Marussia Cosworth

24. Timo Glock
25. Charles Pic

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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…..


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


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.


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…


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?


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 – – One thinks that Sutil can go to LRGP too? What do you guys think?


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

Or even Christian Klien?



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


James any clues on Petrov’s situation with Renault?


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


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


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.


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.


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


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…..


Not currently. Watching and waiting..


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.


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


Wish Montoya made a comeback into F1


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 ?


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.


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!


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?


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!


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…?!


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?


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…


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.


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.


Webber I’d have thought.


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…


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


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…


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.


Team Caterham name change back to Caterham F1 Team.


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


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?


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.


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.


Dear James

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




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.


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.


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.


When did Glock drive for a winning team?


Brazil 2008


My bad…


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.


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.


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?


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?


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!


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.


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.


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


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


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


Because he’s good at getting what he wants


Now that’s one answer that flatters me lol


LOL James, bullseye!


Brilliant answer, LOVE it.


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!!

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