By Daniel Wilson.
Although the 2014 season has only recently crossed the finishing line, attention is now firmly on 2015, and which drivers will be at which teams.
Here’s a little roundup of what we know so far for next season:
MERCEDES – LEWIS HAMILTON & NICO ROSBERG
The newly-crowned world champions were never questioning their line-up for next year, as Nico signed a long-term deal during the last season and Lewis expected to renew his contract with the team beyond its expiry in a year.
RED BULL – DANIEL RICCIARDO & DANIIL KVYAT
After just one season with the team, Daniel Ricciardo will now become top dog at Red Bull following the departure of four-time champ Sebastian Vettel. After an incredibly successful first season with the team where he finished third in the championship behind the Merc drivers, he is expected to bring the team further successes if they improve their performance. This year’s Russian rookie Daniil Kvyat also joins the team from Toro Rosso after an impressive performance which included qualifying fifth at his home race in Sochi.
WILLIAMS – VATERRI BOTTAS & FELIPE MASSA
Williams are another team to stick with their 2014 driver pair, after both impressed for the much improved icons of F1. Bottas put his car on the podium on numerous occasions while Massa beat both Mercedes cars to pole position in Austria in June.
FERRARI – SEBASTIAN VETTEL & KIMI RAIKKONEN
After their worst season in more than 30 years, the arrival of Vettel at Ferrari will hopefully spark some life back into the limping horse, who also retain Kimi Raikkonen for 2015, despite finishing 12th in the championship. Although, for me, I don’t see them returning to the form of ten years ago and struggle to understand why Vettel has moved from a team who finished second in the constructors to one which for much of the season, looked like finishing fifth or sixth.
MCLAREN – FERNANDO ALONSO & JENSON BUTTON
It was finally announced last week that McLaren had signed their most experienced and mature pair of drivers to date. Since Vettel announced he was to leave Red Bull back in October, it was expected for Fernando Alonso to be heading back to the Woking team. However, Button, who is now 34, has faced months of uncertainty as the team dragged out the process of choosing between him or rookie Dane Kevin Magnussen as to who would partner Alonso. Magnussen will be kept as a reserve driver but the team now have two men with more than 500 Grands Prix between them and a combined age of almost 70.
FORCE INDIA – NICO HULKENBERG & SERGIO PEREZ
Hulkenberg and Perez remain with Force India for 2015 after a decent season from the team, despite slipping from a peak of second place in the constructors championship in Bahrain to sixth overall. Although, given the right car, the two drivers can secure some great results next year.
TORO ROSSO – MAX VERSTAPPEN & CARLOS SAINZ JR
It’s all change at Toro Rosso who will have two very young, inexperienced drivers next year. First up is Max Verstappen, who will become the youngest ever driver in the sport at just 17. He has been tipped as a future champion already and has completed some practice sessions for the team in 2014. Carlos Sainz Jr will also join after winning the Formula 3.5 Renault Series.
LOTUS – ROMAIN GROSJEAN & PASTOR MALDONADO
Lotus are the final team to remain unchanged for next year, which surprises me because although they did not have a good car this year, neither driver is star quality. I think they have overlooked potential talent from GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer and other big names coming through the ranks.
SAUBER – MARCUS ERICSSON & FELIPE NASR
It’s also all change at Sauber. I am honestly surprised they have brought in Ericsson as he for me was not impressive in 2014 – he was consistently slower than Caterham teammate Kamui Kobayashi and Marussia’s Max Chilton. Nasr meanwhile looks promising for them to get their first points since 2013 as he has already gained experience in practice with Williams and has had success in GP2.
MARUSSIA & CATERHAM – TBC
After both going into administration, it looks as though these teams will struggle to even compete in 2015, yet alone enjoy success by their own standards, which is disappointing because I think they were missed in the closing stages of the 2014 season.
Are you happy with the grid so far?
Do you think some teams/drivers have made the wrong decision?
What do you make of Marussia and Caterham’s prospects for 2015?
Leave your thoughts and comments below!