We are six races into this fascinating Formula 1 season.
We have seen drivers surprise and other drivers disappoint.
It’s nice to focus on drivers who’ve done well but I will analyze which drivers already have to fear for their seat next season.
In the top three teams (Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari) everyone is safe. They are all delivering as expected. The only remark would be Kimi Raikkonen. He has struggled with his car, and had some bad luck, but he is steadily improving, so if he wants to continue next year, he will.
Also at Williams and Force India things are going well. Their drivers perform well so I see no reason why any driver of those teams would have to fear for their seat.
McLaren have another though year. In Melbourne both drivers were on the podium but since then the performance has been just as last year.
Magnussen and Button are performing well but I think Jenson will announce the end of his carreer this season or next season. He has achieved everything he wanted to in Formula 1 so another year fighting for 6th and 7th places won’t make Jenson very happy.
At Toro Rosso there is already a clear sign what will happen next year. Rookie Daniil Kvyat is doing a great job, and thing have to go really wrong direction if he won’t be retained for another year, so he’s safe. Jean-Eric Vergne will very likely loose his seat. He is in his third year at Toro Rosso, no other driver has driver four years at Toro Rosso, and he hasn’t set the world on fire with his performances. He is a good driver but not the World Champion material where Red Bull is looking for. His only chance to be on the grid next year will be with some financial support maybe at a team like Caterham or Sauber, but also that chance looks small.
Lotus have had a miserable start to the 2014 season, but things are improving. Grosjean doesn’t have to worry for his seat. He kept his great form he had at the end of last season and he is developing as a future top driver. Pastor Maldonado on the other hand is a whole different story. Yes he has got some raw speed, but since his fantastic win at Spain in 2012 he only made the headlines with silly mistakes and crashes. If he hadn’t such a big amount of money from PDVSA he wouldn’t be in the Lotus. Accidentally there were some rumours last week that Venezuela will stop financial support to racing drivers. That would mean the money from PDVSA would disappear. Let’s wait and see…
Everyone at Marussia will still have a hangover from Monaco, but fact is that this team is making good progress this season. Bianchi will almost certainly move to a bigger team next season, so he won’t have to worry for his future in F1. But Max Chilton is a different story. He is a very reliable driver who has still finished every F1 race of his carreer, a great record, but you won’t make it in F1 with only driving reliably. He clearly misses the raw speed. Yes Marrussia desperately need his money, but even with money you can’t be a top driver in Formula 1. I think this will be the last year in F1 for Chilton.
Saubers form this season is dreadfull. They clearly slid to the back of the pack. Just ahead of the Caterham/ Marussia battle, but also just behind the midfield teams. And on top of that, Marussia overtook them in the constructors championship because both Guttierez and Sutil failed to take the huge chance to score points at Monaco. You can say the bad form of Sauber is all down to the car, allright it is a pretty bad car, but clearly the drivers haven’t made any good impression this year. Especially Adrian Sutil is likely to loose his seat next year. Yes he brings some financial support, but for an experienced driver like Sutil he has performed dissapointing. If things don’t change very soon, he will loose his seat for sure. Esteban Gutierrez has had a difficult rookie season, but he made some good progress during the end of last season and was given another shot this year, with a little financial support from his home country. But it doesn’t look like Guttierez will ever become a top driver. If he doesn’t perform this season, he will also loose his seat, financial support or not.
Things at Caterham go from bad to worse. Marussia had a faster car and is on top of the Caterham/Marussia fight, and even their biggest chance to finally score points has been taken away from them, instead Marussia scored points, so now it is almost impossible to catch them this season. The last weeks there were rumours that Tony Fernandez will sell Caterham, and who can blame him. He spent a lot of money on a team that hasn’t shown any sign of improvement yet. So not only the drivers but the whole team personell will have to fear for their jobs, because there is a big chance that Caterham won’t be on the grid next season. If they will be on the grid it is highly unlikely that they will retain both drivers. Kamui Kobayashi is a good driver, but we also know he got some financial support from his home country, if that money is spent he will have a difficult task, if not impossible to be on the grid in 2015. Marcus Ericsson is has done resonably well in his first races, but nothing more than that. He is just a pay-driver and the question will be if next year his sponsors are also prepared to pay a huge amount of money to drive a the back of the field in F1.
As you can see, I expect to see about seven drivers not making the grid in 2015. Together with Forza Rossa as possible new team in 2015 we could see some new and exciting young talents arrive in Formula 1 next season, or are the one’s with the biggest bag of money going to get the seats next year? We’ll see. First let’s enjoy this great season.
Thanks for reading my first post on my Blog.
I hope you enjoyed it.
If you have comments please share them, and if you want, please follow me on Twitter: @julien_f1