Formula One: Transfer Rumours Surfacing Ahead Of 2011 Season

Alistair HunterContributor IOctober 7, 2010

Where will Vitaly Petrov be next season?
Where will Vitaly Petrov be next season?Paul Gilham/Getty Images

With four races to go, news is slowly filtering through about how next season's drivers will line up in the Formula One world championship.

Red Bull's driver lineup seems secure. Sebastien Vettel and Mark Webber both have contracts for 2011, although there are rumours flying around that if Webber wins the championship in 2010 he will leave, elevating Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi into the team.

McLaren's lineup also seems set in stone for next season. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton should stay and work well together, and hopefully one of them will win another title, although Button's time for that is slowly fading away.

Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, and Felipe Massa fight out the battle for supremacy within the team, and completely forget that they might have to win a world championship as well. I wonder how long it will take for more cracks to appear in this happy family.

Mercedes have possibly taken the biggest gamble in keeping Schumacher for next season. There is no way he can win either, as he can either have a bad car and fight in the midfield, or the team can have the best car—and Schumacher will be beaten by his teammate Nico Rosberg, who I'm sure will be looking forward to it.

Renault have the rather good Polish driver Robert Kubica signed for 2011, but the other seat hasn't been confirmed yet. After a rumour that a brand of Russian vodka will appear on the cars for the last four races, Petrov may have more of a chance. However, they will probably go for someone else.

Force India have signed Vitantonio Liuzzi for next season, and hopefully he will improve. The second seat is likely to go to test driver Paul di Resta, but it does seem like a good idea to have Indian driver Karun Chandhok for a wonderful Indian partnership.

Williams are set to retain Rubens Barrichello for 2011. Despite his good performances, there are rumours that Nico Hulkenberg will not feature in their lineup for next season, with the latest reports suggesting Pastor Maldonado to take his place. However, I think Hulkenberg should stay.

Sauber have already decided on their team, as Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi is going to stay. The other seat will be occupied by Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who is currently second in the 2010 GP2 series. Although he is probably talented, the move may be to do with funding and sponsorship from Mexico that is likely to follow.

Scuderia Toro Rosso have confirmed that Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari will drive for the team in 2011. They are likely to stay in the team, probably because of the rather attractive incentive of staying within the Red Bull family, making them more likely to secure a drive for Red Bull in the future.

Lotus Racing are changing their name to Team Lotus, their engine to Renault and their gearboxes will be produced by Red Bull. Despite the team not confirming the drivers for next year, they are likely to stay the same, simply for the experience provided by Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli.

Virgin Racing have confirmed that Timo Glock will stay in the team for next season, but have so far not confirmed the other seat, currently held by Lucas di Grassi. While I can understand that they might not want the Brazillian driver next year, I think that it would be good if he stays, because he seems to be a good driver.

The final team on the grid next season is Hispania. Admittedly, predicting their lineup for next season is rather complicated when its difficult to predict their lineup for the next race! I actually have no idea, so I'm going to go with Bruno Senna and Sakon Yamamoto, although I think Karun Chandhok and Christian Klien is actually the best lineup within the team.

Changes are also rumoured to two of the teams I mentioned. Sauber could have a new stream of funding through Sergio Perez's sponsor Telmex, owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Also up in the air is Scuderia Toro Rosso, as owner Dietrich Mateschitz is reported to want to sell Red Bull's second team in Formula One. The reports suggest he will make $120 million from the sale of the Faenza based team, possibly to Durango and Jacques Villeneuve.

This is just the beginning. Of course some teams will not confirm their drivers until a few months before the race, but I think most of the teams will be pretty much sorted by a few weeks after the young drivers test in Abu Dhabi.


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