It has been a busy couple of days for the Formula 1 paddock this week. Two more drivers have confirmed their seats while another has given up on his 2013 race seat. Here is a quick look at the news.
Romain Grosjean Confirmed at Lotus Renault –
The French driver is having a great start to his holiday. After winning the Race of Champions gala race, the 2012 King of Crash (pictured airborne right) was confirmed to partner with Kimi Raikkonen yet again at the Lotus Renault team. Grosjean has speed and when he didn’t crash in 2012, he performed decent. He secured three podium finishes with a best of 2nd at the Canadian Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he had seven retirements over the season and finished 8th in the points. If Grosjean wants a future in Formula 1, it is obvious that he must improve and learn in 2013 from a disastrous 2012. Renault really had their hands tied on this signing. Who else could they bring in? Perhaps Kobayashi would have been a good choice? Hard telling to be honest, I think Grosjean was the safe pick though for at least another season.
Max Chilton Confirmed at Marussia –
Marussia F1 announced today that Max Chilton will replace Charles Pic to partner Timo Glock for 2013. Pic has left for Caterham and it was no secret that Chilton would be promoted to race driver. Chilton finished 4th in the GP2 and has a reasonable amount of single seat experience through the junior ranks. I like the driver combo at Marussia and it certainly spices up the back of the grid for 2013. I found the Autosport article that you can read here hilarious though. They spend a lot of time talking about all the wrong reasons to hire a driver like Chilton, but defend him in every aspect. I know national pride and all…but seriously, just don’t mention it and I wouldn’t have thought any about it.
Kamui Kobayashi Abandons 2013 Efforts – Arguably the most aggressive and fun to watch driver on the F1 grid over the last couple season has given up on 2013. The Japanese driver struggled to qualify all year, but more than made up for it during the race. He scored a career best third at the Japanese Grand Prix during 2012. Kobayashi lacked funding and went to the internet to garner support. It is reported that he was able to earn 8 million euros, but that was not enough to secure a race seat with a quality team. To be honest, I can kind of understand his frustration. His Sauber teammate Sergio Perez had a mediocre year with some flashes of brilliance and he is off to McLaren. Here you have a very exciting driver in Kobayashi who had his own bright flashes over 2012 and he will go without in 2013. So is the world of F1. Kobayashi explains he does not want to race in any other category and will take his 8 million euros and continue to work sponsors for 2014.
Listed below are the confirmed lineups so far. There are two race seats left. Force India and Caterham each have a race seat to offer. Keep it here as we finish out the driver market and prepare for new car launch season!
Red Bull: Vettel/Weber
Force India: Di Resta/TBA
Torro Rosso: Ricciardo/Vergen