Well just guess if you dare
Of the drivers with expiring contracts I think it's 100 % chance that Lewis stays at McLaren, especially since they appear to have a faster package then what Red Bull have right now. Button is already in until 2014 I think it was.
Pérez to Ferrari should be a shoe-in after his P2 in Malaysia and the fact that he's already contracted by Ferrari's academy. Will Massa take his place? Possible, but not as certain. Sauber himself admittedly was a huge fan of Massa at the end of his stint there in 2005 and tried to get him to stay on according to Massa himself at the time. Being beaten by Alonso is not like getting thrashed by Yuji Ide, either. If Massa doesn't get the nod there he might try for Williams or even Lotus, provided Grosjean bins it too much. Will Kobayashi stay on? If Pérez goes I'd say yes, if Peter Sauber doesn't decide he wants Massa instead and is required to field Gutiérrez by Slim (if Telmex don't depart to Ferrari along with Pérez). Alonso has four more years left on his highest-paid-in-F1-contract.
Red Bull? Ricciardo appears to be relatively quick and Vergne will probably get 2013 to prove himself, but I'm unsure who's coming from down below to fight with them. If Webber wants to stay I believe the team will let him. Vettel staying on obviously. Can't see him leaving until the day Alonso packs up, when Ferrari might move for him. Mercedes probably need to establish themselves as a credible force before he'd even consider them, regardless whether they're German or not. I guess he's quite well paid already...
Mercedes? Schumacher appears to be motivated, I can easily see him race next year as well. If not, the winner of the Hülkenberg-Di Resta squabble would be a probable replacement. That chain reaction could trigger Jules Bianchi being a Force India driver if Schumacher decides to quit. But I reckon he'll stay on if he continues to beat Rosberg, who of course is already signed up for next year.
As for Lotus I believe that as long as Grosjean will be able to reach the finish line sometimes he'll get a new deal because it's evident he's much faster than what Petrov ever was. Räikkönen has looked good as well and didn't he sign a two-year deal when he came back? No reason for him to move as long as their car is well inside Q3-pace, though.
Elsewhere it's all about who has the cash at Williams these days, Maldonado and Senna have appeared to perform alright so far, and I don't think Williams could afford any higher talent than those solid midfield chargers they have now. Kovalainen would be an amazing signing for them, but he doesn't bring sponsorship and has a decent contract for himself at Caterham - where I believe he'll stay unless Mercedes or Force India offer him paid drives in the case that Schumacher leaves and the chain reaction unfolds.
Glock has a paid deal with Marussia and is sitting pretty there, but the other three positions of the bottom teams are anyone's guess. Alguersuari might want an HRT slot?
I don't see much talent coming from below at the moment, probably due to the financial crisis and the collapse of the feeder system so the drivers can't stay in one series for too long if they're not well-funded. Sutil might have a chance to grab a seat, and sporting-wise he'd deserve it, the question is obviously how his PR value is following the suspended sentence? He might have to turn to IndyCar or DTM for future racing simply due to that.
Is Razia still at Caterham? If he's able to win GP2 he might have a chance of a race seat. Then there's also Nasr, but I doubt he'll go into F1 in 2013 already, since he might need another year to conquer GP2. I can't see there being so many rookies next year.Red Bull
Sergio Pérez (Sauber)Mercedes
Romain GrosjeanForce India
Paul di RestaSauber
Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
Jean-Éric Vergne (or a mad Helmut Marko-esque twist no one saw coming)Caterham
Pedro de la Rosa (if they're still around)
??? (Money talk$)
What do you make of the analysis? Am I the madman personified or do you believe I am right? I predict very few driver "transfers" to be honest.
Edited by jeze, 26 March 2012 - 20:27.