Thread: Driver 2019 F1 Silly Season
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Old 11 Jan 2018, 05:19 (Ref:3791903)   #1
Skam85
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2019 F1 Silly Season

So pending Williams' announcement on their second driver, the grid is now all but settled for 2018. With that, one eye turns to 2019 where some moves among the bigger teams may actually happen. Ferrari and Red Bull have been stable over the past few seasons, whereas Merc have made just the one change due to Nico Rosberg's surprise retirement. So what will we see in 2019?

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton - out of contract at the end of this season, but is highly likely to re-sign in the coming few months.

Valtteri Bottas - earned a well-deserved extension for 2018, and will need to prove to Mercedes that he is their man for the future. Could get a stay of execution should Hamilton 'pull a Rosberg' at the end of the year, something Lewis has hinted at.

Next in line: Esteban Ocon seems the most likely to earn a promotion, while Daniel Ricciardo will assess his options as the season progresses. George Russel is also on their books, but is likely to follow Ocon's path and develop at a smaller team.

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel - contracted until the end of 2020 and isn't going anywhere.

Kimi Raikkonen - for the past few seasons it seems the coming campaign will be his last. Showed some decent speed in 2017 and Vettel is happy with him as he doesn't beat him a whole lot, so may yet continue into 2019.

Next in line: A lot depends on how Charles Leclerc goes in the Sauber. Ferrari may opt to give him two years to develop before promoting him to the senior team in 2020. Daniel Ricciardo also in the frame, but having been beaten by him before, Vettel may not be too keen on this idea.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo - out of contract at the end of the season and has publicly stated he will assess his options. May end up staying, but a lot will depend on the 'equal treatment' status in the team, and the expected continual improvement of Max.

Max Verstappen - has re-signed with the team until the end of 2020 and is there for the long haul.

Next in line: Should Ricciardo leave, RBR have handily held onto Carlos Sainz, who would be more than capable in a Red Bull. Whether he will want to be Max's teammate again may come into play. RBR young driver stable is getting thin, with Pierre Gasly an outside chance should Sainz baulk at a RBR seat.

Force India

Sergio Perez - is a strong member of the team and unless a top-line drive becomes available, looks to be set at Force India.

Esteban Ocon - on a 'multi-year' deal, coming into the second season, but remains property of Mercedes, who may feel he is ready should Bottas fail to meet expectations, or if Lewis suddenly retires.

Next in line: Force India has become an attractive proposition, so a quick driver will appeal to them if a seat comes up - they have signed up 22-year-old F2 pilot Nicholas Latifi as a reserve, and he appears to be on the radar for a seat in the coming years. George Russell may also follow Ocon's path via FI.

Williams

Lance Stroll - will stay with the team until Mr Stroll Snr decides to pull his funding, or if he shows a sudden turn of speed that entices a top team.

TBA - looks to be Sirotkin's seat to lose.

Next in line: At this stage of William's history, unfortunately it seems to be money that is the deciding factor, with the quick Pascal Wehrlein missing out on a drive with the team.

Renault

Nico Hulkenberg - seems to have made a good career choice with the team, and will be there for a few years yet. Appears to have missed his shot at a top line drive, but Renault may end up returning to glory years yet.

Carlos Sainz - on loan from the Red Bull stable, and will only move if Dan Ricciardo jumps ship.

Next in line: Renault looks to be a team on the rise, and should not have many problems attracting top-line drivers, should one of their two already capable drivers leave the team. As long as Fernando Alonso is active, there's always a chance he returns home (again).

Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly - after a few races at the end of 2017, Gasly faces a tough initiation to F1 with STR and will be hoping Honda produce an engine that shows his talents.

Brendon Hartley - a surprise, but hard-fought F1 debut came in 2017, and he showed enough to earn a drive for 2018. Very much in the same boat as Gasly.

Next in line: The Red Bull stable is thin, and they will be eager for Gasly and Hartley to put in strong performances in 2018 while they rebuild their young driver stocks.

Haas

Romain Grosjean - contracted for this year and has been with the team since their inception, but will be under pressure to perform in 2018.

Kevin Magnussen - coming into his second season with the team, he will need to continue to improve but appears safe.

Next in line: Ferrari will be eager to shoehorn Antonio Giovinazzi into a drive, and may put some pressure on Haas to promote the Italian, having missed out on a drive with Sauber. An American driver does not appear to be on the radar for the USA team.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso - having re-signed for another year, so much depends on the Renault engine. Alonso is one of the best drivers in the sport, and will want to be battling at the pointy end if he is to continue into 2019.

Stoffel Vandoorne - appears safe at McLaren, as long as his performances continue their upward trend of 2017.

Next in line: Lando Norris is the obvious choice here, should Alonso leave. Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez both outside chances, but neither would be interested should Alonso leave based on lack of performance.

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson - earned a stay of execution and will be hoping to score some points in a more competitive Sauber. Has seen off Nasr and Wehrlein, thanks to monetary backing and competitive showings.

Charles Leclerc - Ferrari's next best thing, and if he can easily see off Ericsson, may be in contention to replace Kimi in 2019. Otherwise, a two-year apprenticeship is on the cards.

Next in line: Much like Williams, money will come into play here, but with a larger involvement from Ferrari, expect to see more Ferrari juniors in line for this drive.


TL;DR, bring on the racing!
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