F1 comings and goings in the drivers market.

The 2011 F1 season is over and done with, now it’s time to sort out the drivers market. As I write this there are only two possible spots available with Williams and HRT while there are eight drivers looking for a drive. Bruno Senna, Vitaly Petrov, Rubens Barrichello, Jaime Alguersuari, Sebastien Buemi, Adrian Sutil, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Vitantonio Liuzzi are without a contract!

The biggest driver change is 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen replacing Bruno Senna with the first of three Frenchmen, Romain Grosjean replacing Vitaly Petrov at Lotus (former Renault team). Raikkonen has been out of the sport for three years after leaving F1 for WRC at the end of 2008 but has been linked with a number of teams over the last two years including Williams F1.

Squadro Toro Rosso has dispensed with the services of both their 2011 drivers, Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi will be replaced by Australian Daniel Ricciardo and the second Frenchman on the grid, Jean-Eric Vergne. Many have been surprised by this move as both drivers did well in 2011, I seriously doubt that the incoming drivers will achieve better results unless STR can come up with a better car! Both Alguersuari and Buemi had multiple points finishes in the 2011 season!

Paul di Resta has been retained by Force India while 2011 team mate Adrian Sutil has been replaced by 2011 reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg in what many consider to be one of the most exciting driver pairing on the grid. Hulkenberg has proven to be a great asset during his time at Williams in 2010, he was unlucky to have to sit out 2011 after being released by Sir Frank Williams.

McLaren’s 2011 reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa takes the seat vacated by Daniel Ricciardo at HRT while the second seat at the Spanish outfit is still up for grabs. And the final change is at Marussia (formerly Virgin), where the third Frenchman Charles Pic replaces Jerome D’Ambrosio.

There’s no change in the top four teams, Red Bull have both Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber under contract, McLaren have Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button under contract. Ferrari have Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa under contract, despite all the rumours about Massa being dropped for 2012. Mercedes have retained the services of Nico Rosberg while Michael Schumacher still has a year to run on his contract! Caterham (former Team Lotus) have retained Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen and Sauber has retained the services of Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez. Williams have retained Pastor Maldonado while the second seat is still vacant!

Bottom line is that there is two drives available and eight drivers vying for those drives, it should be an interesting couple of months. Adrian Sutil is hotly tipped for the Williams drive but with talents like Senna, Alguersuari and Buemi available, that situation might have changed. And I suspect that the second seat at HRT will be a pay driver, Narain Karthikeyan or Sakon Yamamoto?

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