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2012 Silly Season


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It's the time of the year again: What is next year's F1 grid going to look like? Personally I don't think it's going to change much save for backmarker teams hiring new pay drivers. While you can never fully rule out a surprise move by one of the top drivers it's (imho) unlikely to happen. So here's the 2012 grid as it stands now (taken from the Autosport forums):

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal through ?14, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (re-signed for ?12)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Jenson Button (contracted through ?13 with option for ?14)

4. Lewis Hamilton (contracted through ?12)

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted through ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted through ?12)

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team

Mercedes F1 W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted through ?12)

8. Nico Rosberg (on a multi-year deal beyond ?13)

Lotus F1 Team

Lotus 129 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from ?Renault ? Renault?)

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Kimi R?ikk?nen (contracted through '13)

10. Romain Grosjean (confirmed for '12; managed by Eric Boullier/GenII)

Sahara Force India F1 Team (team partly sold to Sahara India Pariwar group)

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

11. Paul di Resta (confirmed)

12. Nico H?lkenberg (confirmed)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

14. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

15. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Scuderia Toro Rosso (new sponsor CEPSA and it?s parent company rumoured to buy into the team)

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

16. Daniel Ricciardo (confirmed; Red Bull junior driver)

17. Jean-?ric Vergne (confirmed; Red Bull junior driver)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Mike Coughlan

18. Rubens Barrichello (current driver, looking for a 20th (!) F1 season)

Adrian Sutil (moves on from Spyker/Midland/Force India after 5 (!) season, and brings Medion/Lenovo money; it appears to be Williams or nothing for Sutil)

Vitaly Petrov (contracted to Lotus/Renault through ?12; may opt for Williams because of Kubica's possible return)

Giedo van der Garde (brings a bag of McGregor money)

19. Pastor Maldonado (confirmed)

Caterham F1 Team (team and chassis name changed from ?Team Lotus?)

Caterham CT01 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from ?Lotus ? Renault?)

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Heikki Kovalainen (confirmed by Fernandes via Twitter on September 11th)

21. Jarno Trulli (confirmed for ?12)

HRT F1 Team

HRT F112 ? Cosworth CA2012 (allegedly interested in a supply of Renault engines)

Team Principal: Luis P?rez-Sala ; Technical Director: Jacky Eeckelaert

22. Pedro de la Rosa (confirmed for ?12)

23. Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver; states he has a long-term contract)

Narain Karthikeyan (?11 race driver)

Giedo van der Garde (rumoured, through Alejandro Agag... and a bag of McGregor money)

J?r?me d'Ambrosio (rumoured; brings sponsorship)

Jaime Alguersuari (rumoured; does not have (sizeable) sponsorship though)

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia MR-03 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (contract through ?14)

Vitaly Petrov (rumoured in Russian media; was contracted to Lotus/Renault through ?12; deal cancelled)

25. Charles Pic (confirmed)

Speculate away.

Edited by Mephistopheles
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I still can't get over the move to Sky :'(

As much as the Hamilton to Red Bull rumours are good for the media, I very much doubt we'll see him move away from McLaren. It's his team, he's been with them like forever and I think he's got a cushy number there. I also very much doubt seeing Button moving away from McLaren. I would like to see Barrichello get a better drive as he is wasted at Williams and the lack of progress they are making is rather surprising for a team of their stature. I think we'll also see Schumacher for 1 more season next year. He's not really done that bad over the last 2 years but for poor reliability of the car.

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Mark Webber extends Red Bull Racing deal through 2012 season

Mark Webber will remain with Red Bull Racing for 2012 after signing a one-year extension to his contract.

The 35-year-old Australian has been with the team since 2007, having also driven for it during its Jaguar days in '03 and '04. All six of Webber's grand prix wins, his nine pole positions and 25 of his 26 podium finishes have come with Red Bull.

There had been speculation that he might consider changing teams or retiring after this year, particularly following suggestions of favouritism towards his team-mate Sebastian Vettel during last year's title battle and again at this season's British Grand Prix. But Webber said remaining at RBR was an obvious choice to make.

"I want to continue racing at the top in Formula 1 so it's a no-brainer to remain at Red Bull Racing for another year," he said. "My motivation to achieve the best results possible both for myself and the team is still very high.

"Over the past five years, we have worked hard and proved that we can design and build a competitive and championship-winning car, and I'm looking forward to putting the car and myself on the limit again each and every race weekend in 2012."

Team boss Christian Horner added that Red Bull had no doubts about retaining Webber either.

"When we sat down and started talking about 2012, it was immediately obvious that Mark and the team wanted to continue our successful relationship," said Horner.

"This meant agreeing an extension for 2012 was very straightforward. Mark knows the team well, having been with us since 2007, and his motivation, fitness and commitment is as high as it has ever been.

"The pairing of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel is a very strong one, they push each other hard and we are extremely happy the pairing will remain unchanged for a fourth season."

Webber is currently second in the 2011 championship, 85 points behind Vettel.

Source: Autosport

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Damn, if Webber had gone this year, next year would be so much more interesting (not that I'll be watching much of it with the new Sky deal). One of the STR guys would have moved up to RBR and Ricciardo could get a decent mid-pack car... Or possibly even jump straight into the #2 RBR seat.

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Interesting to see in the press that Alonso would welcome Vettel to Ferrari - can't see that happening myself, seeing as Red Bull will most likely have helped SV win his second title.

I'm a big McLaren fan - and it's good to see them finally come alive and be competitive with Red Bull and Ferrari. I just wish the margins were closer from the beginning of the season. As much as I love F1, it is becoming obvious that SV is going to lift this year's title with every passing race -- he's simply walking away with it. I don't rate SV that much - I think he's a good driver when there's nothing out in front of him, but hey, who isn't? Clean air and nothing to really get tangled with. He's proven he "can't do much" when he's stuck in traffic further down the grid.

Hamilton's title fight is dead IMHO. I don't even think Webber can catch SV now. What has impressed me most this season is Button's ability - he has been amazing. So I look forward to next season. I can't see much change with the bigger teams, but Di Resta should set himself up with a contract at Merc.

Incidentally, I bought a couple of McLaren shirts from the F1 store. They arrived promptly within a few days in Spain as arranged, however one of the shirts was damaged. I called yesterday to get it sorted and spoke to a Joe from kitbag.com. He was brilliant and asked me to email a photo of the problem which I promptly did. Our phone call was disconnected while doing so, so Joe even called me back. Within minutes, he had arranged a replacement shirt to be sent out to Spain without the need of having to send the defective one back - which probably would've cost as their returns policy mandates that defective goods should be returned by courier (DHL or similar). Truly, a top service!!! So if you like your F1 gear, have a look here.

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Alonso would never allow someone who could compete against him in the same car, he wants a no2 driver we all saw how he reacted to Hamilton at McLaren when they wouldn't make Hamilton the no2 driver.

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Jarno Trulli to stay at Lotus for 2012 after contract extension

Jarno Trulli will remain at Team Lotus for 2012, after the Hingham-based outfit announced on Sunday that the Italian had extended his contract.

The Italian joined Team Lotus for its inaugural campaign in 2010 and has played a major role in helping develop the outfit over the past two seasons.

Speaking about his new deal, Trulli said: "I am very pleased that we have been able to confirm today that my contract with Team Lotus has been extended into 2012. The challenge I first accepted when I joined the team is becoming more exciting every day, and I am very proud that I can keep helping the team take steps forward for at least another year."

Team principal Tony Fernandes, who made a big push during the formation of his outfit in going for experienced drivers like Trulli, said: "We are all delighted that we have been able to reach an agreement to keep Jarno on board for at least one more year with our team.

"He has shown in qualifying in Monza just how much pace he has and how he can wring every last drop of performance out of his car and since day one with us he has brought a level of professionalism, insight and raw speed to our team that has helped accelerate our development on and off track.

"Today's announcement will give us the benefit of his experience and knowledge into 2012, another very important year in the growth of our team."

Source: Autosport

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  • 1 month later...

Added Kimi Räikkönen to the list in the first post in the light of rumours about him replacing Barichello at Williams.

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Added Kimi Räikkönen to the list in the first post in the light of rumours about him replacing Barichello at Williams.

Well this could be interesting, I hadn't heard that he may possibly return, but will he make any good progress in Williams' current car?

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Well this could be interesting, I hadn't heard that he may possibly return, but will he make any good progress in Williams' current car?

No. With lack of recent experience, particularly with racing with KERS and DRS and Pirelli rubber, and a rubbish car, Kimi's comeback will be a total failure. That said, it can't be any worse than their current form... Though getting rid of the Cosworth engine and going with Renault next year is a good step.

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Formula 1 chiefs approve name changes for Lotus, Renault and Virgin

Formula 1 chiefs have approved the name change requests that were put forward at today's F1 Commission meeting in Geneva - bringing an end to the long-running row over the Lotus moniker.

Following a lengthy meeting in Geneva on Thursday, sources confirmed that Team Lotus, Renault and Virgin Racing all received the necessary support to be allowed to change their titles for the start of next season.

It means from 2012, Team Lotus will become known as Caterham, Renault will switch to Lotus and Virgin Racing will switch to Marussia.

The changes still need to go through the FIA's World Motor Sport Council before becoming official, but this is believed to be a formality - especially because FIA president Jean Todt is a member of the F1 Commission.

There is not expected to be any public statements about the matter from any of the teams involved until after the WMSC meeting - which takes place on 7 December.

The decision to approve the name changes means that confusion over the Lotus name in F1 will be brought to an end, following a long-running dispute between Team Lotus and the road car company Group Lotus.

In a bid to clean up the matter after lengthy court proceedings, an agreement was reached which means that the Enstone-based Renault team will now be the only outfit running the Lotus name.

Team Lotus will make full use of the Caterham brand, less than one year after the outfit's owner Tony Fernandes bought the sportscar manufacturer.

Source: Autosport

This leaves us with the following grid for 2012:

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '15, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (contract extended for 2012)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until ?14)

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12, but often rumoured to leave/be replaced)

Nico H?lkenberg (rumoured)

Jenson Button (rumoured, despite firm ?12 McLaren deal)

Nico Rosberg (rumoured)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12, but sometimes rumoured to retire (again))

8. Nico Rosberg (thought to be on a multi-year deal, but not confirmed for '12)

Paul di Resta (already in the Mercedes fold)

Nico H?lkenberg (Force India test driver)

Lotus

Lotus T1xx ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Robert Kubica (contracted until '12; doubt remain regarding his full fitness as long as he hasn't driven the car)

Nick Heidfeld (replaced Kubica during 2011 season)

Romain Grosjean (admitted by Eric Boullier to be frame should Kubica not be fit to race; also: managed by Renault owner GenII)

10. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Force India F1 Team

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

14. Adrian Sutil (current driver; may he stay on for a sixth (!) season?)

Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; may move up to a race seat)

15. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, under pressure to perform)

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver, under pressure to perform)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared for either STR or RBR)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Sam Michael

18. Kimi R?ikk?nen (rumoured to get Barichello's seat)

Rubens Barrichello (current driver; more than likely without a seat in 2012)

Romain Grosjean (in frame with three teams, said GenII manager Eric Boullier)

19. Pastor Maldodano (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Caterham

Caterham ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Jarno Trulli (contract extended for 2012)

21. Heikki Kovalainen (current driver)

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Hispania F112 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Geoff Willis

22. Narain Karthikeyan (current driver)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

23.Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver)

Marussia Racing

Marussia xx-01 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (confirmed; contract for '12-'14)

25. J?r?me d?Ambrosio (current driver)

Romain Grosjean (in frame with three teams, said GenII manager Eric Boullier)

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FIA formally confirms that Renault, Lotus and Virgin can change names

The FIA has officially confirmed that Renault, Team Lotus and Virgin will be allowed to change their chassis names for 2012.

Agreement was reached during Thursday's meeting of the Formula One Commission, and has now been formally announced by the governing body.

The decision means the end of the Lotus name spat, as the ex-works Renault team fully renames after its title sponsor Group Lotus, and Tony Fernandes' outfit switches from its current Team Lotus branding to Caterham, having bought the British sportscar constructor earlier this year.

Virgin Racing also switches identity to become Marussia, the Russian car-maker having become a major backer of the squad last year.

Source: Autosport

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Nico Rosberg signs fresh deal with Mercedes GP for 2013 and beyond

Nico Rosberg has committed his future to Mercedes GP after signing a contract extension that will keep him at the team until at least the end of 2013.

The German, who originally joined the outfit at the start of last year, has been linked with a future move to Ferrari over recent months but has elected to remain at his current employers for now.

In a statement issued by his team on Thursday, it was not made clear how long his contract was, but said it would 'include the 2013 season and beyond' - which is likely to mean that he has options for the 2014 campaign.

Rosberg said: "I am very excited to have extended my contract with the Mercedes GP Petronas team. To win in a Silver Arrow will be one of the highlights of my life so far, and I greatly enjoy helping to lead our team in our quest to become the best in Formula 1.

"I have every confidence that the team will provide me with a winning car, and that we will be able to contribute to the fantastic racing heritage of the Silver Arrows. I look forward to great times in the years ahead with the Mercedes-Benz family."

Team principal Ross Brawn added: "We are delighted to have extended our contract with Nico as we know that he is a driver who can win races and championships. Nico has performed exceptionally well for our Silver Arrows team over the past two seasons, achieving results at the very limit of the technical capabilities of our current car.

"He has an excellent work ethic and, together with Michael, this gives us a driver pairing who consistently push the team to improve and progress. As we continue to strengthen our team for the future, we look forward to providing Nico with a car which will enable him to compete right at the front of the field and achieve his deserved first win in Formula 1."

Rosberg's new deal means that Mercedes GP will race with an unchanged driver line-up next year, as Michael Schumacher already has a firm contact for 2012.

There has been mounting speculation that Schumacher?s ever-improving form since his return to F1, allied to progress being made at Mercedes GP, will result in the seven-time world champion also extending his contract for another year until the end of 2013.

Source: Autosport

New 2012 grid:

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '15, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (contract extended for 2012)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until ?14)

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12)

8. Nico Rosberg (contracted until '13 and beyond)

Lotus

Lotus T129 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Robert Kubica (contracted until '12; doubt remain regarding his full fitness as long as he hasn't driven the car)

Nick Heidfeld (replaced Kubica during 2011 season)

Romain Grosjean (admitted by Eric Boullier to be frame should Kubica not be fit to race; also: managed by Renault owner GenII)

10. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Force India F1 Team

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

Adrian Sutil (current driver; likely to lose his seat)

14. Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; very likely move up to a race seat)

15. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, under pressure to perform)

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver, under pressure to perform)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared for either STR or RBR)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Sam Michael

18. Kimi R?ikk?nen (rumoured to get Barichello's seat)

Rubens Barrichello (current driver; more than likely without a seat in 2012)

Romain Grosjean (in frame with three teams, said GenII manager Eric Boullier)

19. Pastor Maldodano (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Team Caterham

Caterham ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Jarno Trulli (contract extended for 2012)

21. Heikki Kovalainen (current driver)

Hispania Racing F1 Team

Hispania F112 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Geoff Willis

22. Narain Karthikeyan (current driver)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

23.Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver)

Marussia Racing

Marussia xx-01 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (confirmed; contract for '12-'14)

25. J?r?me d?Ambrosio (current driver)

Romain Grosjean (in frame with three teams, said GenII manager Eric Boullier)

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Shame Team Lotus lost the spat...kinda knew it was going to happen...still Caterham is a good choice to move forward with.

Nico should do well there, Mercedes GP have potential to fight it out with the top 3, and have done to some extent this year.

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New list with rumoured drivers limited to current events:

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '14, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (re-signed for '12)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until '13 with option for '14)

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12, but often rumoured to leave/be replaced)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12, but sometimes rumoured to retire (again))

8. Nico Rosberg (on a multi-year deal beyond '13)

Lotus Renault GP (chassis name change announced; nothing about 'Team Lotus' moniker, though)

Lotus 129 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Renault ? Renault')

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

10. Romain Grosjean (all but announced himself at the team; admitted by Eric Boullier to be frame; managed by Renault owner GenII)

Robert Kubica (has no contract for '12, but Boullier "has had assurances from team boss Eric Boullier that there is a seat for him, if he is able to perform at the same level as before"; possibly rejoins team mid-season)

Bruno Senna (replaced Kubica during the latter part of the 2011 season)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Sahara Force India F1 Team (team partly sold to Sahara India Pariwar group)

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

14. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

15. Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; oft rumoured to move up to a race seat; all but confirmed himself on the BBC's F1 Forum)

Adrian Sutil (current driver; may he stay on for a sixth (!) season?)

Scuderia Toro Rosso (new sponsor CEPSA and it's parent company rumoured to buy into the team)

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver; rumoured to be staying on)

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, rumoured to be dumped for either Vergne or Ricciardo)

Jean-?ric Vergne (STR's Friday test driver; allegedly gets the nod over Ricciardo)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared at HRT)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Mike Coughlan

18. Kimi R?ikk?nen (negotiations going on; allegedly team's #1 choice; said to be looking for equity in the team)

Rubens Barrichello (current driver; may be forced to look elsewhere; team's #2 choice)

Adrian Sutil (moves on from Spyker/Midland/Force India after five (!) season, and brings Medion/Lenovo money; allegedly team's #3 choice; it appears to be Williams or nothing for Sutil)

19. Pastor Maldonado (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Caterham F1 Team (team and chassis name changed from 'Team Lotus'; AirAsia title sponsorship expected)

Caterham C1 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Lotus ? Renault')

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Heikki Kovalainen (confirmed by Fernandes via Twitter on September 11th)

21. Jarno Trulli (confirmed for '12)

HRT F1 Team

HRT F112 ? Cosworth CA2012 (allegedly interested in a supply of Renault engines)

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Jacky Eeckelaert

22.Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver; states he has a long-term contract)

23. Narain Karthikeyan ('11 race driver)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (rumoured, through Alejandro Agag... and a bag of McGregor money)

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia MR-03 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (contract until '14)

25. Charles Pic (rumoured to have already signed for '12 with an option for '13)

J?r?me d?Ambrosio (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (stated he's talking to 3 teams; brings a bag of McGregor money)

Robert Wickens (current third driver; rumoured; tests with team in Abu Dhabi)

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Pedro de la Rosa will drive for HRT F1 Team in 2012

Madrid, 21st November 2011

HRT F1 Team continues to take important strides towards the consolidation of its solid project for 2012. After the recent technical announcements and with the new headquarters established in Spain, HRT takes a further step forward by announcing that Pedro de la Rosa will be a driver for the team next season. Reaching an agreement with the driver from Barcelona was a long desired target and a fundamental pillar for HRT F1 Team in its renewed project, which began in July after Thesan Capital acquired the team.

Pedro de la Rosa will join the team next January and will do so for two years. The alliance was possible thanks to the interest of all the parties involved; although in the end it was the support of his current team, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, which enabled the deal to come through.

Born on the 24th of February 1971 in Barcelona, Pedro de la Rosa has been a pioneer in Spanish motorsports and has built up a prestigious reputation worldwide through his results in Formula 1 over the years. He is, without a doubt, an important acquisition for HRT F1 Team for the 2012 campaign.

Source: HRT press release

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '14, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (re-signed for '12)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until '13 with option for '14)

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12, but often rumoured to leave/be replaced)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12, but sometimes rumoured to retire (again))

8. Nico Rosberg (on a multi-year deal beyond '13)

Lotus Renault GP (chassis name change announced; nothing about 'Team Lotus' moniker, though)

Lotus 129 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Renault ? Renault')

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

10. Romain Grosjean (all but announced himself at the team; admitted by Eric Boullier to be frame; managed by Renault owner GenII)

Robert Kubica (has no contract for '12, but Boullier "has had assurances from team boss Eric Boullier that there is a seat for him, if he is able to perform at the same level as before"; possibly rejoins team mid-season)

Bruno Senna (replaced Kubica during the latter part of the 2011 season)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Sahara Force India F1 Team (team partly sold to Sahara India Pariwar group)

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

14. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

15. Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; oft rumoured to move up to a race seat; all but confirmed himself on the BBC's F1 Forum)

Adrian Sutil (current driver; may he stay on for a sixth (!) season?)

Scuderia Toro Rosso (new sponsor CEPSA and it's parent company rumoured to buy into the team)

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver; rumoured to be staying on)

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, rumoured to be dumped for either Vergne or Ricciardo)

Jean-?ric Vergne (STR's Friday test driver; allegedly gets the nod over Ricciardo)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared at HRT)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Mike Coughlan

18. Kimi R?ikk?nen (negotiations going on; allegedly team's #1 choice; said to be looking for equity in the team)

Rubens Barrichello (current driver; may be forced to look elsewhere; team's #2 choice)

Adrian Sutil (moves on from Spyker/Midland/Force India after five (!) season, and brings Medion/Lenovo money; allegedly team's #3 choice; it appears to be Williams or nothing for Sutil)

19. Pastor Maldonado (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Caterham F1 Team (team and chassis name changed from 'Team Lotus'; AirAsia title sponsorship expected)

Caterham C1 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Lotus ? Renault')

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Heikki Kovalainen (confirmed by Fernandes via Twitter on September 11th)

21. Jarno Trulli (confirmed for '12)

HRT F1 Team

HRT F112 ? Cosworth CA2012 (allegedly interested in a supply of Renault engines)

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Jacky Eeckelaert

22. Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver; states he has a long-term contract)

23. Pedro de la Rosa (contracted for '12)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (rumoured, through Alejandro Agag... and a bag of McGregor money)

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia MR-03 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (contract until '14)

25. Charles Pic (rumoured to have already signed for '12 with an option for '13)

J?r?me d?Ambrosio (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (stated he's talking to 3 teams; brings a bag of McGregor money)

Robert Wickens (current third driver; rumoured; tests with team in Abu Dhabi)

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Charles Pic will race for Marussia F1 team in 2012

Charles Pic will race for the Marussia team in the 2012 Formula 1 season, Virgin Racing confirmed on Sunday.

The Frenchman was strongly linked to the drive after having run with the team during the young driver test in Abu Dhabi earlier this month.

Pic, who has spent the last two years racing in GP2, will replace Jerome D'Ambrosio at the team, which will be renamed Marussia next year.

He will race alongside Timo Glock.

"I'm very happy to be making the step up to Formula 1 with Marussia Virgin Racing," said Pic. "As a driver you always feel you are ready for the next opportunity but in Abu Dhabi last week it was a tough test.

"The team gave me some fantastic opportunities to learn new things but I also knew that I had to impress them and show them I was ready to do a good job.

"I was pleased with my performance, and obviously the team were too, so a very good start but this is just the beginning and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me to reward this chance.

"I like the team a lot; we worked well together in the test and I feel very comfortable. They want to do things the right way and I can see that there is a lot of determination to succeed, so it is very special for me to be part of that. I'm looking forward to working hard in every area over the winter to ensure I am ready for the start of testing and my first Grand Prix."

Team boss John Booth added: "I'm very pleased to welcome Charles to Marussia Virgin Racing as Timo's team-mate for 2012. We naturally keep a close eye on the junior formulae and Charles is certainly someone we have been watching over the past few years.

"The real barometer however was our Young Driver Test in Abu Dhabi last week, where we put him through a series of tough tests to thoroughly evaluate his potential. This was his first time in a Formula 1 car so it should have been quite daunting, however Charles was extremely focused on what needed to be done and absolutely rose to the challenge. He continued to improve in every area but his race simulation work particularly caught our eye.

"Winter testing will be upon us before we know it, so it is actually a relatively short space of time ahead with a lot for Charles to get used to, but he is an extremely determined young guy and he worked very well with the team last week. He has an extremely mature head on young shoulders, so I have no doubt that he will be working very hard over the winter to prepare for his debut season."

Booth was also thankful to D'Ambrosio, who made his grand prix debut with the team this year.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jerome D'Ambrosio for his hard work and important contribution to our team over the past 12 months or more. He has an exciting future to look forward to I'm sure and we wish him every success."

Source: Autosport

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '14, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (re-signed for '12)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until '13 with option for '14)

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12, but often rumoured to leave/be replaced)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12, but sometimes rumoured to retire (again))

8. Nico Rosberg (on a multi-year deal beyond '13)

Lotus Renault GP (chassis name change announced; nothing about 'Team Lotus' moniker, though)

Lotus 129 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Renault ? Renault')

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

10. Romain Grosjean (all but announced himself at the team; admitted by Eric Boullier to be frame; managed by Renault owner GenII)

Robert Kubica (has no contract for '12, but Boullier "has had assurances from team boss Eric Boullier that there is a seat for him, if he is able to perform at the same level as before"; possibly rejoins team mid-season)

Bruno Senna (replaced Kubica during the latter part of the 2011 season)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Sahara Force India F1 Team (team partly sold to Sahara India Pariwar group)

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

14. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

15. Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; oft rumoured to move up to a race seat; all but confirmed himself on the BBC's F1 Forum)

Adrian Sutil (current driver; may he stay on for a sixth (!) season?)

Scuderia Toro Rosso (new sponsor CEPSA and it's parent company rumoured to buy into the team)

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver; rumoured to be staying on)

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, rumoured to be dumped for either Vergne or Ricciardo)

Jean-?ric Vergne (STR's Friday test driver; allegedly gets the nod over Ricciardo)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared at HRT)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Mike Coughlan

18. Kimi R?ikk?nen (negotiations going on; allegedly team's #1 choice; said to be looking for equity in the team)

Rubens Barrichello (current driver; may be forced to look elsewhere; team's #2 choice)

Adrian Sutil (moves on from Spyker/Midland/Force India after five (!) season, and brings Medion/Lenovo money; allegedly team's #3 choice; it appears to be Williams or nothing for Sutil)

19. Pastor Maldonado (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Caterham F1 Team (team and chassis name changed from 'Team Lotus'; AirAsia title sponsorship expected)

Caterham C1 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Lotus ? Renault')

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Heikki Kovalainen (confirmed by Fernandes via Twitter on September 11th)

21. Jarno Trulli (confirmed for '12)

HRT F1 Team

HRT F112 ? Cosworth CA2012 (allegedly interested in a supply of Renault engines)

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Jacky Eeckelaert

22. Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver; states he has a long-term contract)

23. Pedro de la Rosa (contracted for '12)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (rumoured, through Alejandro Agag... and a bag of McGregor money)

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia MR-03 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (contract until '14)

25. Charles Pic (contracted for '12)

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Renault confirms Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 in 2012

Renault has confirmed Kimi Raikkonen will return to Formula 1 racing next year, after having secured a deal to compete with the squad.

Raikkonen, who had left Formula 1 at the end of the 2009 season, had been in talks with the Williams team about a possible return next year, but the deal feel through and he was immediately linked with Renault, which will be called Lotus from 2012.

Raikkonen, 32, moved from Formula 1 to the World Rally Championship, where he spent the last two seasons while also competing in one race of the NASCAR Truck series and one Nationwide event.

The Finn won the Formula 1 world championship in 2007 with Ferrari, having scored a total of 18 wins since he made his grand prix debut in 2001.

Renault was forced to search for another driver after Robert Kubica confirmed last week that he would not be ready to start the 2012 season following his dramatic accident in February.

Raikkonen has signed a two-year deal with the team.

"I'm delighted to be coming back to Formula 1 after a two-year break, and I'm grateful to Lotus Renault GP for offering me this opportunity," said Raikkonen. "My time in the World Rally Championship has been a useful stage in my career as a driver, but I can't deny the fact that my hunger for F1 has recently become overwhelming.

"It was an easy choice to return with Lotus Renault GP as I have been impressed by the scope of the team's ambition. Now I'm looking forward to playing an important role in pushing the team to the very front of the grid."

Team owner Gerard Lopez added: "All year long, we kept saying that our team was at the start of a brand new cycle. Backstage we've been working hard to build the foundations of a successful structure and to ensure that we would soon be able to fight at the highest level.

"Kimi's decision to come back to Formula 1 with us is the first step of several announcements which should turn us into an even more serious contender in the future. Of course, we are all looking forward to working with a world champion. On behalf of our staff, I'd like to welcome Kimi to Enstone, a setting that has always been known for its human approach to Formula 1."

Source: Autosport

Red Bull Racing

Red Bull Racing RB8 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Christian Horner; Technical Director: Adrian Newey

1. Sebastian Vettel (on a long-term deal until '14, perhaps with options)

2. Mark Webber (re-signed for '12)

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

McLaren MP4-27 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Martin Whitmarsh ; Technical Director: Paddy Lowe, Neil Oatley

3. Lewis Hamilton (contracted until ?12)

4. Jenson Button (contracted until '13 with option for '14)

Scuderia Ferrari

Ferrari F2012 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Stefano Domenicali ; Technical Director: Pat Fry

5. Fernando Alonso (contracted until ?16)

6. Felipe Massa (contracted until ?12, but often rumoured to leave/be replaced)

Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team

Mercedes MGP W03 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Ross Brawn ; Technical Director: Bob Bell

7. Michael Schumacher (contracted until ?12)

8. Nico Rosberg (on a multi-year deal beyond '13)

Lotus Renault GP (chassis name change announced; nothing about 'Team Lotus' moniker, though)

Lotus 129 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Renault ? Renault')

Team Principal: Eric Boullier ; Technical Director: James Allison

9. Vitaly Petrov (contracted until '12)

10. Kimi R?ikk?nen (contracted until '13)

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber C31 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Peter Sauber ; Technical Director: James Key

11. Kamui Kobayashi (confirmed)

12. Sergio P?rez (confirmed; on a multi-year contract)

Sahara Force India F1 Team (team partly sold to Sahara India Pariwar group)

Force India VJM05 ? Mercedes FO108Z

Team Principal: Vijay Mallya ; Technical Director: Mark Smith

14. Paul di Resta (current driver; likely to stay on)

15. Nico H?lkenberg (current third driver; oft rumoured to move up to a race seat; all but confirmed himself on the BBC's F1 Forum)

Adrian Sutil (current driver; may he stay on for a sixth (!) season?)

Scuderia Toro Rosso (new sponsor CEPSA and it's parent company rumoured to buy into the team)

Toro Rosso STR7 ? Ferrari 056

Team Principal: Franz Tost ; Technical Director: Giorgio Ascanelli

17. Jaime Alguersuari (current driver; rumoured to be staying on)

16. S?bastien Buemi (current driver, rumoured to be dumped for either Vergne or Ricciardo)

Jean-?ric Vergne (STR's Friday test driver; allegedly gets the nod over Ricciardo)

Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull test driver being prepared at HRT)

AT&T Williams

Williams FW34 ? Renault RS27-2012

Team Principal: Adam Parr ; Technical Director: Mike Coughlan

18. Rubens Barrichello (current driver; may be forced to look elsewhere; team's #2 choice)

Adrian Sutil (moves on from Spyker/Midland/Force India after five (!) season, and brings Medion/Lenovo money; allegedly team's #3 choice; it appears to be Williams or nothing for Sutil)

19. Pastor Maldonado (current driver not doing too bad; comes with PDVSA money)

Caterham F1 Team (team and chassis name changed from 'Team Lotus'; AirAsia title sponsorship expected)

Caterham C1 ? Renault RS27-2012 (changed from 'Lotus ? Renault')

Team Principal: Tony Fernandes ; Technical Director: Mike Gascoyne

20. Heikki Kovalainen (confirmed by Fernandes via Twitter on September 11th)

21. Jarno Trulli (confirmed for '12)

HRT F1 Team

HRT F112 ? Cosworth CA2012 (allegedly interested in a supply of Renault engines)

Team Principal: Collin Kolles ; Technical Director: Jacky Eeckelaert

22. Pedro de la Rosa (contracted for '12)

23. Vitantonio Liuzzi (current driver; states he has a long-term contract)

Daniel Ricciardo (current driver)

Giedo van der Garde (rumoured, through Alejandro Agag... and a bag of McGregor money)

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia MR-03 ? Cosworth CA2012

Team Principal: John Booth ; Technical Director: Pat Symonds

24. Timo Glock (contract until '14)

25. Charles Pic (contracted for '12)

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Most over rated driver in modern times, IMO.

They might regret that signing sometime soon.

We'll see, won't we? It definitely is a risk signing a driver who's been out of F1 for 2 years and isn't exactly known to be a good development driver.

As an aside, we now have six world champions on the grid for 2012: Vettel, Hamilton, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, R?ikk?nen. Most WDCs ever in a single season.

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Shaping up to be an interesting season...I hope Rubens get a drive, be a shame for him to disappear without a proper goodbye.

Paul and Nico will be an interesting combo at FI, I really hope they can get some good development done and start properly challenging Renault and Mercedes

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