If you were team boss, who would stay and go?


I have asked myself this question today and cannot find a completely coherent response, so I've decided to lay it out in writing, and also I will find it interesting to see what others think. Just to clarify, these are the drivers that I would like to stay if both drivers were willing to stay.

Stay: Sebastian Vettel Go: Mark Webber
Possible in: Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen

Sebastian Vettel, after what I thought personally was a pretty tardy effort at sewing up the title last year, has been in much better form this year, dominating Webber convincingly en route to what surely will be his second championship. As for Webber, he's had a fair crack at the whip now. I thought he leapt forward in 2010 from 2009, and for much of last season thought that Spain 2010 was his 'Mansell moment' (Like Nige's Brands Hatch win in 1985), but this year he seems demoralised and unable to escape the status of second fiddle within the team. Ricciardo has had a decent start to life in F1, and maybe has sealed his place somewhere in the future, but is 2012 too early to throw him in at the sharp end? Lewis Hamilton would be a fantastic signing, if possible, and would be my first choice (Although I accept that I'd look a right fool if the two rubbed each other up the wrong way, and not in the 'Eton' way!). Raikkonen would be a great signing again, but two years out, and Kimi's lack of enthusiasm for the ultra PR and media driven world of F1 might be counter-productive.

Stay: Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button

I think that Hamilton and Button represents the best partnership on the grid, a prtnership which has brought McLaren 9 wins when the most that could have been expected is surely just Hamilton's Canadian Grand Prix win last year (and not to say that Hamilton's performance wasn't good then). The pairing have generally scored more points than should have been expected in their time together, and their styles seem to compliment each other so well, Hamilton, the raw out-and-out speedster, and Button, the smooth thinker. With their relationship having survived even a contact in Canada, the two seem to be like Senna and Prost without the animosity. (I wouldn't say that overall the two drivers have matched Senna and Prost, obviously). If I was Martin Whitmarsh, I'd be desperately trying to hold on to them.


Stay: Fernando Alonso Go: Felipe Massa
Possible In: Sergio Perez, Kamui Kobayashi, Jules Bianchi, Jenson Button, Mark Webber

Fernando Alonso just seems to suit red, and seems to have gained that sparkle back that had been lacking after the McLaren debacle, and been stuck in those dreadful liveried Renaults. Fernando is obviously the right driver for Ferrari. If I were a team boss (and I'd probably be terrible!) then I would not employ the blatant tactics that are there to favour Fernando at all costs, and as such Felipe Massa could have no place in my team as he has become too subservient to be considered a title contender (Ferrari do need two of these as a top team). Yes, Felipe may not have got a fair chance with Fernando around, but he hasn't exactly put in performances to make Ferrari think. The two Sauber drivers could easily be manouvered out of their Sauber deals I'm sure, if Ferrari offered some sweetners to the engine deal, and may fit nicely within the team. Bianchi has been integrated within the Ferrari team for a while now, so he could step in as a solid No. 2 with a view to being team No. 1, but as with Ricciardo, is it too much too soon? Jenson Button was rumoured to be considered by Ferrari, and it would be a good tactical deal as I think that the loss of Button would weaken McLaren, and just as he has fitted in well with the ultra-competitive Hamilton, he maybe able to partner Alonso without Fernando's temper volcano erupting. Mark Webber was rumoured throughout 2010, but after discarding a deadened No.2 in Massa, why would I want to sign another demoralised driver?

Stay: Nico Rosberg Go: Michael Schumacher
Possible in: Paul di Resta, Anthony Davidson, Sebastian Vettel

Nico Rosberg's form has tailed off this year, and if I were Mercedes team boss, I'd realise that I needed to give him something that would bring his mojo back, as drivers won't be queuing up to join the Silver Arrows after two mediocre years. Nico, I think, has the talent to lead this team (At the start of this year, I would have ranked him above Vettel) but he needs Mercedes to use all their cash and resources to deliver something (Perhaps we can't expect as much as we do knowing that much of the staff were employed back in the BAR days). Someone put something bad in Michael's dinner when he made the decision to return, it was always going to, and has, be a crushing disappointment. Mercedes need someone younger, and able to handle the F1 cars of the 2010's to take them forward. Paul di Resta worked well with Mercedes in DTM, and he could well fit in nicely with Rosberg to take Mercedes forward. Its an absolute shambles that Anthony Davidson is reduced to commentator for F1 on the radio, and although its nearly four years since his last outing, someone must surely give Ant a chance, he is the Mercedes reserve driver after all... Would Sebastian Vettel be tempted, after winning back to back championships, to take on the challenge of lifting a faded giant back to the top of F1? This story rings a bell... Maybe unlikely that Vettel will join, but a romantic challenge for a German and a stackload of cash could just tip the balance- Hell, Ayrton Senna (quite) seriously considered joining Jordan in 1993.

Stay: None Go: Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld
Possible in: Robert Kubica, Romain Grosjean, Bruno Senna, Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber, Nico Hulkenberg

The Renault drivers have had a strange year. Petrov seemed to overperform in Australia, but underdeliver for much of the rest of the year, and Heidfeld seems to have been only hitting the bottom end of the 'What the car can achieve' scale apart from his superb drive in Malaysia. Heidfeld hasn't got what it takes to lead a team at the front, and if Renault want to return there (Remember WDC and WCC 2005 and 2006) they need at least one exceptional driver. Petrov is not that driver either, and although he isn't the crash happy soul he was in 2010 (I think he got his drive for 2011 based on his Alonso-baiting at Abu Dhabi), he isn't justifying a spot in a team like Renault. Robert Kubica would be a perfect replacement (Please let him comeback as good as ever!) as he dragged a less than competitive Renault to places it should never have been in 2010, but that arm may not have healed well enough, and if it has, has Robert's mind? Romain Grosjean got a rough deal in 2009, and was unable to show his full potential (As well as having the GP2 title ripped from his fingers), he could deserve a second chance. Bruno Senna was considered for the Renault drive when Kubica was confirmed to be seriously injured, but he didn't seem to be as inspirational as his uncle at HRT, in fact, he looked pretty poor at times. Nevertheless, maybe the Senna name would tip me over the edge and he was less than a second slower than Petrov in his first outing in an F1 car for some time in practice in Hungary. Raikkonen would be a great coup if you could get that title winning form out of him. Fernando Alonso fell into the Renault drive after a fall from grace in 2008, and other drivers like Massa and Webber could use Renault to cushion their fall from the top and to try and bounce back. Hulkenberg could have counted himself unlucky to be without a drive this year after a good end to 2010. With two seats up for grabs, Hulkenberg must surely be a top contender.

Stay: Kamui Kobaysahi and Sergio Perez

Sauber have made the right decision, in my opinion, to keep on their two drivers for another year. Kobayashi, although he's not got his qualifying up to where it could be and has had a quiet spell since Canada, has impressed me with the way he fights his own corner, and the confidence he seems to have in himself in the car that he can mix it with whoever he wants. Perez had a wonderful start, one of the best rookie GP performances ever back in Australia, and he started to impress again when F1 got back to Europe, especially after a crash at Monaco that really could have hurt more than just his health.

Stay: Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta

Although Sutil has seemed to drift quite a bit this season, and di Resta, after a good start got clumsy for a bit, I would be happy to resign the two for 2012 if I could. Sutil got his act together after Canada, and convinced me that he did indeed have the quality he showed in 2010, whilst di Resta's performance in Hungary confirmed that he had done well after 4 years out of single seater racing. Nico Hulkenberg is breathing down their necks, but I would advise him to look elsewhere for a race seat.

Stay: None Go: Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado
Possible in: Nico Hulkenberg, Mark Webber, Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna

I just feel that Williams has allowed itself to slip into mediocrity, whilst refusing to admit it by telling us that next year will be better. With new engines, and changes to the management, Williams should complete its clearout by discarding two drivers. Maldonado has been better than expected, but a pay driver who is just 'ok' isn't the driver to lead Williams back to glory. For Barrichello, it can no longer be wise to keep going. From a team perspective, Rubens has nothing left to give, his uber-competitiveness smothered by Ferrari and killed by failing to take out the title at Brawn. His experience could be useful elsewhere, but not in the cockpit. Nico Hulkenberg is owed something by Williams for being unceremoniously dumped for a pay driver this year, would a reunion with Williams work? Mark Webber has the experience, but has he got the fire in his belly? This is question could be directed at Heidfeld. Senna and Williams, would it be too much for us all to bear?

Stay: Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari

Ok, I know that Toro Rosso is where Red Bull put their rising stars in to see how they get on, but if this were any other team in that midfield, say Sauber or Force India, you'd ask, what have they done to deserve the boot? Jaime had a less than fantastic start, but he hit a purple patch at the right time, forcing Ricciardo to take his services to HRT, and Buemi has delivered perfomances throughout the year that I'd regard as more than adequate. Frankly, some of the decision making over drivers is clearly clouded by the fact that this is seen as Red Bull junior. I think both drivers have merited a place in the team next year- Red Bull might see it differently.

Stay: Heikki Kovalainen Go: Jarno Trulli
Possible in: Karun Chandhok, Davide Valsecchi, Jules Bianchi, Takuma Sato

If I were team boss in the 'sort of Lotus' team, I'd do everything to keep Heikki Kovalainen on board, a man that, despite the deficiencies of his Lotus, is clearly 100% committed to driving, and is producing the goods. Trulli has his head and half his heart in his vineyards, and his power steering moaning would hack me off. He has given nothing in 2011, and at this stage in his career, will have little desire to give much more to a cause which he will not reap any benefits from. Karun Chandhok would have been seen as very much Trulli's replacement until his poor showing in Germany. This opened up the floor to Lotus' GP2 runner Davide Valsecchi, but Jules Bianchi, who has been racing for ART, who have assistance from Lotus, could also be a target. Takuma Sato is a long shot, he drives for Lotus over in America, but really, a return to F1? That's one with long odds.

Stay: Timo Glock and Jerome d'Ambrosio

I'm glad that Virgin have cried enough with their pure CFD effort. This means that Timo Glock, a man of enough experience, can really help the team develop. d'Ambrosio hasn't been too great recently, but earlier on he was giving Glock headaches on performance, and has shown more potential than di Grassi ever did. With a stable partnership developing the car, Virgin can get stronger

Stay: Daniel Ricciardo Go: Vitantonio Liuzzi
Possible in: Javi Villa, Lucas di Grassi, Pedro de la Rosa, Dani Clos, Jean Eric Vergne, Sakon Yamamoto (Again!)

Whilst it is clear that Liuzzi has helped to drag HRT in to competition with Virgin, you have to think that there is little point for HRT to have a driver that is in the last chance saloon- most of his drive and passion must have surely been drained when he didn't test his inadequate back-of-the pack car and the fact that Force India dumped him a tad harshly. It would be nice if HRT could retain Ricciardo, but he is destined for greater things (Possibly a Red Bull?) so it would be difficult for HRT to retain him, although I'd give it the best shot I could if I were Team Boss. Javi Villa, a Spanish WTCC runner, is 'confident' of driving for HRT this season. With new Spanish investors, Dani Clos could be an interesting youngster to invest in- he's the kind of guy that would give HRT some fizz and bounce. Pedro de la Rosa was in the last chance saloon long ago, and has long since left it, but somehow keeps a toehold in F1. di Grassi could be an interesting signing also, determined to prove his worth after being dropped by Virgin. Vergne is Red Bull's next product, and is the current leader of the Formula Renault 3.5 series. If Red Bull are hooking up to develop drivers with HRT, this could be the place for Vergne to start. Just when you think you've killed him off, Sakon returns. Even if I was team boss, could I really stop Sakon from wreaking pay driver havoc on Formula 1 again!
Ok - I'll keep it breif and short - these line up's are possible but I know I'm pushing it on some cases

Red Bull:


(2 of the 3 best drivers on the grid - marketing would be huge - you'd see both of them all over billboards all over the world drinking Red Bull - ok it'd go wrong when one beats the other but by that point Red Bull wouldn't care)



(Alonso has a young rookie for company to teach him the ways of the sport - lets hope for his sake Sergio doesn;t get too many ideas. Ferrari need to snap Perez up now if they want him or someone else will)



(Keke wouldn't object to Nico partnering Jenson - not to start with anyway. On paper looks like a weakened Mclaren line up but I think they'd push each other forward)



(Schumi has a 3 year contract and will be there next year - Merc will bring in Nico to be groomed to greatness - or shown how to lose a nose cone)



(Don't think Kubica will be back and Grosjean looks a shoe in for GP2 so think he'll be back - team on the decline)



(After Ferrari bought out Perez's contract they offer Bianchi from their acadamy - also a good back up if Perez turns out to be the next Ivan Cappeli)

Force India:

Di Resta

(After missing out on the Merc drive Di Resta is told to buckle down and actually beat Sutil this year and then they might consider him to replace Schumi)

Toro Rosso:


(The moose beats Alguersauri and gets kept - Ricciardio promoted to Toro Rosso after impressing at HRT)



(Williams go for an all Brazilian line up and everyone is so nice about everyone else that people vomit. Massa trounces Rubens but they stay friends and swap 'Ferrari treated me badly stories')



(Trulli goes off to make wine and Valsecchi is promoted from test driver after finishing 3rd in GP2)



(Virgin nearly decide to take Gary Parrfett but then can't be bothered and give the pudding man another year)



(The all new 'we're proper Spanish now' Hispania team unveil their red and gold colour scheme and 2 Spanish drivers. Alguersauri is picked up from Toro Rosso and Dani Clos brought in from GP2. They actually do some pre-season testing. Where? Spain of course)
My choices:

RED BULL RACING Stay: Sebastian Vettel, Go: Mark Webber In: Buemi/Alguersuari
McLAREN Stay: Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Options: Rosberg, di Resta
FERRARI Stay: Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Options: Chanoch Nissany for all they care so long as Alonso stays.
MERCEDES Stay: Nico Rosberg, Go: Michael Schumacher In: di Resta/Sutil
THE BLACK CAR Stay (sort of): Robert Kubica (if fit) instead of Petrov
Else: Stay: Vitaly Petrov, Go: Nick Heidfeld, In: Webber if poss/Kovalainen
WILLIAMS Stay: Maldonado if he's got any money, Go: Barrichello In: Sutil/Hulkenburg/Kovalainen
FORCE INDIA Stay: Any of the three Sutil/di Resta/Hulkenburg
SAUBER Stay: Kamui Kobayashi, Sergio PĂ©rez Options: GP2 winner, GP3 Winner
TORO ROSSO Stay: Best of Buemi or Alguersuari IF Webber does not leave Red Bull, In: Ricciardo
Go: Buemi and Alguersuari IF Webber leaves Red Bull, In: The next schmuck
THE GREEN CAR: Stay: Kovalainen, Out: Trulli, In: Glock or whoever Red Bull want to loan
VIRGIN Stay: Glock Second Car: d'Ambrosio or whoever McLaren want there
HISPANIA Stay: Liuzzi, Ricciardo if Red Bull don't mind Out: Karthikeyan, In: Stephen Hawking for all they care so long as they've got a huge pile of money they'll give Christian Kolles the key to.
I wouldn't mind seeing the veterans make way for some young chargers.

That means Webber, Heidfeld, Trulli, Barrichello, and Schumacher would be signing up for DTM duty.

In reality though, only Trulli is in danger of getting the boot. Give the seat to Alexander Rossi I say!
I don't think I can improve of Rasputin's list. There will be know change at Mclaren and RBR this year which means little change elsewhere but that is one fascinating line up for 2013 (with the exception of the fact that by then Schumi will have called it a day as well)
Red Bull- Stay Vettel, Go Webber Replacement- Moose/Spains No. 2 (Jaime)

Mclaren- Stay- Hammy and Button

Ferrari- Stay- Alonso Go Massa Rep- Rosberg

Mercedes- Stay- Schumi Go Nico (not on preformance interest from Ferrari) Rep- Massa or Hulkenberg or Rubinho (for old times sake!)

Renault- Stay Kubica Go Petrov Rep- Heidfeld, Grosjean Senna

Williams- Stay- Rubens Go Maldonado Rep- Heikki Kovalinen or Liuzzi

Force India- Stay- Sutil and Di Resta

Sauber- Stay- Kamui and Sergio

Toro Rosso- Stay- Moose Go Part Time Jaime, 50-50 season with Ricciardo

Lotus- Stay- Heikki Go Part time Trulli 50-50 season with Chandhok or Glock

Virgin- Stay- Tim O'Glock Go D'Ambrosio Rep- Di Grassi

HRT- Stay- Liuzzi Go- Karthikeyan Rep- Ricciardo and Jaime Half season again

Kubica / Massa


Alonso / Bianchi or Perez


Hulkenburg / Moldonado


Ricciardo / Kovalainen


I would love to see Rosberg or Kovalainen at Ferrari or one of the top tier teams, but for obvious reasons Mercedes will not release Rosberg and similarly with Heikki I can't see Lotus getting rid of him no matter how much money is thrown in.
Stay: Vettel, Webber
I See no real need to change here. Webber perhaps getting some unfair flak, he always seems to. Could do with a win or two though and to obey Team Instructions!.

Stay: Button, Hamilton.
Again no need to change if it aint broke why fix it?

Stay: Alonso
Go: Massa
Possible Ins: Webber, Perez,
I Think Massa has stagnated at Ferrari, Not really performing too well for two wseasons and I Think the Alonso massa situation has damaged his confidence. Webber has experience, Is Dogged and can pick up good points for the team. Perez would be a good number two, and be able to groom him into a potential World Champion, although only 1 seasons experience is something that counts against him.


Stay: Nico Rosberg
Possible go: Schumacher
Possible in: Paul Di Resta, Hulkenburg, Sutil
Im really not sure about anything here. Lookig at Teams ambitions, not sure if Rosberg is WCC material, He is fast on his day but does he have the guts for it. Not sure if Schumacher is actually past it. But he is 42 and thats not good for building a team long term. Di Resta has done ok if too many accidents has been a Merc man in other Series. Hulkenburg and Sutil satifies the German National Team approach they seem to like.

Return: Robert Kubica (if fit of course)
Stay: Hiedfeld,
If Kubica cannot return: Massa, Rosberg, Webber
Go: Petrov
A tricky One because of Kubica situation. If he cannot retun Then I think Renault need ambition and try can get someone with wins under there belt, expereince of being upfront. The 2nd seat? Its a tough one. Not sure about how Hiefeld and Petrov are doing, Think id prefer the one with 10 years expereince to support a lead driver.


Stay: Kobyashi, Perez
I would like a driver with a few more years under the blet in one seat, but don't think i could sacrifice the pace of the guys alreay there.

Force India

Stay: Sutil, Di Resta
Both done Ok, Not convinced of Sutil consisancy in both speed and keeping it on trak. Di Resta should be better with a years expereince under his belt. Hulkenberg definate in if ethier go anywhere.

Go: Barrichello, Maldonado
Possible Ins: Timo Glock,Massa, Petrov, Hiedfeld, Hulkenberg, d'Ambrosio, Vergne, Wickens, Rossi.
With the changes in techincal direction, need drivers who will be around for a while yet to build for the future, so that discounts Barrichello. Not convinced by Maldonado. I would go with one more experienced driver and a younger possibly rookie one.

Torro Rosso
Havent the foggyist
Hard to say when 1, tis a junior team to another F1 team. 2, Im against them and believe you should only be able to own 1 team in Forumla 1.
Also Im a bit iffy about Jaime Algersurari and Buemi.

Stay: Kovalienen
Go: Trulli
Possible in: Davide Valsecchi, Chandahok
Trulli is past it, Karun has possibly blown it. Id give the test driver a chance Valsecchi, seems to be doing the best atm.


Stay: D'Ambrosio
Possible Go: Glock
Possible in: Paffett, Senna, Wickens, Aleshin
Not sure how motivated Glock is, with McLaren tie up, Paffet might good for feedback, devloping a car. Senna, cold hard cash. Wickens seems a decent young driver doing well in FRenault3.5 thats already on there books.


Go: Luizzi
Possible Ins: De La Rosa, Maldarndo
De Lar Rosa is nearing 40s now, but apeases the spanish theme and might get some spanish sponsors intrested. Pastor Brings Money and might be competitive.
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