This year’s ‘silly season’ has prompted more driver/team lineup changes than any that I can remember. There have been big movers (Kimi, Ricciardo & Alonso), smaller movers (Stroll, Giovinazzi & Kvyat) and some important non-movers (Perez & Hulkenberg), but with the exception of Mercedes every team has been affected in some way.
Here’s a list of who’s driving where for 2019:
|Racing Point Force India||Perez†||Stroll*†|
|* Mover † Not confirmed, but likely|
And here’s a list of drivers still looking for a confirmed drive in Formula 1 for 2019:
|Esteban Ocon||Currently driving for Force India, soon to be replaced by Stroll|
|George Russell||F2 Champion elect, contracted to Mercedes|
|Stoffel Vandoorne||Current McLaren driver|
|Robert Kubica||Williams’ reserve driver|
|Marcus Ericsson||Currently driving for Sauber, & with a test driver role confirmed for 2019 unlikely to move|
|Brendon Hartley||Driving for Toro Rosso in 2018|
|Artem Markelov||F2 & Renault development driver. A slim chance|
|Jack Aitken||F2 driver & Renault reserve driver. Enough superlicense points but an outside bet|
|Nigel Mansell||Yet to hang up his overalls officially. More than happy to step up if required.|
By my reckoning there are two or three drives available with eight drivers in the frame. Some, like Russell and Ocon have only the Williams seat(s) as an option, given their ties with Mercedes. Others, with their links to Renault, may be precluded from any association with Toro Rosso with Red Bull Racing and Renault’s relationship becoming somewhat fractured in recent months.
Red Bull are said to have been hoping to promote Briton Dan Ticktum to Toro Rosso’s Formula 1 lineup, but insufficient Super License points have scuppered that.
It’s also rumoured that Honda are keen to have a Japanese driver in a Honda powered car as soon as possible, but their preferred option (Honda Junior driver) Nirei Fukuzumi required a 4th place in this year’s F2 championship to gain enough Super License points, he’s currently languishing down in 17th, and doesn’t look like he could knock the skin off a rice pudding (not their official line).