The Knock On Effect


No passing through my dirty air please
Since the start of the 2010 season F1’s competitive race seats have been in a situation of lock down with every driver having his team, not likely to move and no space for someone new to come in. With the news last week of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Mercedes suddenly the whole jigsaw has been broken apart and whilst we know where some pieces fit it has left some gaps to be discussed over the next few years.

For me one thing the Lewis Hamilton has triggered is that we will see Kimi Raikkonen in a Red Bull in 2014. Kimi has long been associated with the brand and is the kind of sportstar Red Bull love to push. On top of that he’s shown this year he’s lost none of his F1 skills. Whether you believe Seb Vettel is off to Ferrari or not in 2014 we all know that Mark Webbers contract will be up at the end of 2013 and at the age of 37 its not likely Red Bull will renew it with a driver like Kimi on the market. If Vettel does go to Ferrari in 2014 that would leave another space at the team but I don’t think they would opt for Webber and Kimi in the same team. I think Vettel’s move to Ferrari is the whole reason we saw the strange move of shoving Vergne and Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso’s this season in order to see if one of them had the potential to come in for 2014. Right now I would have to say no which you could think leaves another Red Bull seat which in actual fact I’m really struggling to fill in my head.

So if we assume Kimi’s off there then that leaves a space open at the Enstone based team (sorry still can’t bring myself to call them Lotus) and whilst they not be viewed as the most front running of teams they have shown time and time again they can’t be under-estimated and certainly seem to be on the up again. So who fills in for Kimi there? Well I really think that depends on Romain Grosjean. If Grosjean cuts out the accidents and starts turning pace into results there is a really chance Enstone will stick with him as the lead driver and a real opportunity for him to mix it up with the big boys if they build the right car. If this happens then I think Enstone will be likely to go with a young potential to back him up for 2014. Step forward James Caledo, in the Eric Boullier stable, and whilst showing shades of Maldonado (a book title if ever I heard one) has certainly shown potential of being quick and would be a great opportunity for him to establish himself in F1. Of course if Grosjean doesn’t show so well and Caledo spends the 2013 GP2 season crashing into everyone on the grid then Enstone could revert to the old plat safe and as we’d have Fellipe Massa, Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg all on the drivers market I would expect for them to plump for at least one of them in the car.

Of course I am assuming that Fellipe Massa is staying at Ferrari for 2013. It seems like a conclusion to me as they didn’t opt for Perez and I think Alonso is perfectly happy with him as a team-mate for now. Lets go with the fact that the Nico Hulkenberg rumours are true though and that Massa is out the door – also lets ignore the Vettel to Ferrari rumours. Hulkenberg arrives at Ferrari and 2 things could happen – he’ll either fall into line and be Fernando’s wing man meaning he’ll be pretty safe in the seat until 2017 or he’ll ruffle some feathers and maybe last a couple of years. As long as he shows speed then this could be perfect for him to be first in line as Mclaren’s replacement for Jenson Button. Button’s contract with all options will last 4 years but if the Perez/Button combo doesn’t work the way it should then he could be out the door quicker than that. For me that leaves Hulkenberg (whether he goes to Ferrari or not) and Di Resta as the prime choices for his replacement. Although it will be interesting to see what happens if Button has a poor 2013 and Rosberg is looking to leave Merc at the end of that year in which case how about Jenson finally ends up back at Williams? Where Perez is concerned I believe he well stay out the 3 years at Mclaren hopefully because of his skill but mainly because of Telex!

So after all this conjecture where do I really think it will leave us? Well I believe that the Vettel rumours are true and that Vettel will be at Ferrari in 2014. I think Mclaren will give Button and Perez another year and I also think Rosberg will leave Merc when his contracts up with his tail between his legs. I think Enstone will back Grosjean and Red Bull will have to plump for one of their youngsters – I’m going with Ricciardo for the Australian link.

So in 2014:

Alonso/Vettel = Ferrari

Hamilton/Di Resta = Mercedes

Button/Perez = Mclaren

Raikkonen/Ricciardo = Red Bull

Grosjean/Caledo = Enstone

Rosberg/Maldonado = Williams

Whilst I know this is all debate and my predictions skills are not rated highly on here but anybody got any thoughts? Anyone see anyone else jumping up the ranks?
Don't think we can predict the 2014 lineups yet. 2013 will see some spanners in the works...

How good is Rosberg? How good is Bottas? Who looks good for 2014 regs? Who will get a chance with Sauber, and will Kovalainen and Caterham part?
I heard a rumour that there will be a Finnish driver at Williams next year, so that could be Bottas or Kovalainen.

My guess is Bottas simply because he's the current test/reserve driver. However, I have no idea how much he can bring to the team in terms of sponsorship and funds.
Obviously its all conjecture but all I'm saying is that the Hamilton move opens up the potetnial for things to move round. In 2010 it didn't matter how good a driver was all the top seats were locked up. Same last year really. Lewis moving now leaves - as you say - gaps and questions that might get answered.

I still think the top teams plan way ahead though and most of them won't sign anyone on the back of one good season. I know we've had Perez to Mclaren yes but I think that was more a move because they didn't have any other options. I think most of the top teams will already be thinking about 2014 and which way to go.
My guess is Bottas simply because he's the current test/reserve driver. However, I have no idea how much he can bring to the team in terms of sponsorship and funds.

Not a lot according to this BBC article (that I commented on over int he Williams thread) however I'm thinking if Williams put a few articles out there about how high they rate him it might attract some in...............oh look they have done!
I'm with TBY... too early to say but Alonso / Vettel seems a safe assumption; no change at McLaren and Mercedes (don't see Williams going for Rosberg again on cost grounds and too big a step back - if he does go it would be to Sauber or Lotus).
Williams will look for some stability and cash so probably Maldo and Bottas; Pastor reminds me of Mansell and Jones; has the right personality for Williams.
I suspect Lotus will try and hold onto Kimi and that Kimi will be too old for Red Bull.
Red Bull will be key to the driver market in 2014.
I suspect Lotus will try and hold onto Kimi and that Kimi will be too old for Red Bull.

Kimi will be 34 at the start of the 2014 season which is 2 years younger than Mark Webber is now and only a year and a half older than when they signed Webber. Kimi has a long history with the Red Bull brand and with Webber and Vettel leaving I think they'd jump at the chance at getting a known quantity and a big name in the car.
Fair point, Rasputin, but it just doesn't fell likely... my problem is that I don't really see who will fit in with Red Bull based on what we see this year. If they do go for Kimi I don't see it being a long term move for the team; more a stop gap measure.

Don't get me wrong, I do rate Kimi highly and have been both pleasantly surprised and very impressed that he has come back as strongly as he has this year; but it is a comeback and for me, even the best ones (Lauda), always feel like drivers chasing former glories.
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