2019 F1 driver predictions – update

So, it looks like the crystal ball broke somewhat, as we’ve heard today that Daniel Ricciardo has signed a two-year deal with Renault Sport F1.

Last night, these were the predictions I made:


Guess it’s …


So, here is my new predictions table, with a few shuffles and new entries after the Ricciardo move to Renault:


I still think that Force India, because of its financial problems will have at least one driver who is there because of financial involvement.

With the Renault door shutting for Esteban Ocon, and potential for no seat at Force India, the only places he could realistically go (being a Mercedes driver) is Williams or McLaren. And, at this point in time, the McLaren seat would be better than the current Williams, possibly at the expense of Stoffel Vandoorne.

The two new entries are in the Toro Rosso. With Ricciardo gone to Renault, that leaves a spot open for Pierre Gasly. I don’t think it will be offered to Sainz, due to his history with Verstappen and I can’t see Sainz accepting a seat back at Toro Rosso, so another loan to McLaren still seems possible.

Alexander Albon is a current F2 driver and doing quite well and is also a former Red Bull junior driver, so a move to Toro Rosso could be a natural progression.

So there are my new predictions and reshuffles.

As soon as more drivers get confirmed I will update the table on this article.

UPDATE: 14 August 2018 – well, at least my crystal ball predicted Alonso leaving. He’s just announced his retirement from F1, but I still reckon he’s going to pop up at IndyCar next season. I still reckon Stoffel could be replaced and no news on driver line-up … yet!

UPDATE: 16 August 2018 – the crystal ball accurately predicted Carlos Sainz Jr would be Alonso’s replacement at McLaren which has been announced today.

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2019 Formula 1 – driver predictions

Formula 1 is now on its annual summer break, and that means it’s time for the silly season to start about next year’s potential team line-ups.

Mind you, there have been rumours flying about for a while and silly season seems to start earlier and earlier.

So, I thought I might have a go at predicting who might be driving for whom next season.

1. Mercedes

With Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas having already signed on the dotted line, we know that the 2019 Mercedes line-up is secured and locked in.

2. Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel is already signed to the team until the end of 2020, but what of his current team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen?

Will he be replaced by the new wonderkid on the block, Charles Leclerc? Or, due to the recent and untimely death of Sergio Marchionne, will Kimi receive another year’s grace in order for the dust to settle at Ferrari? And what of the recent rumours that Kimi could be McLaren bound?

Personally, I think Kimi will get another year’s contract at Ferrari as he has proved, rightly or wrongly, to be a good ‘wingman’ for Vettel. Leclerc I think will probably sign for the team in 2020 which is Vettel’s last contracted year.

So my prediction for Ferrari’s 2019 line-up is Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

3. Red Bull

Again Max Verstappen is already under contract until the end of 2019, so he won’t be going anywhere.

That just leaves Daniel Ricciardo, who’s on the market.

With the ‘big seats’ at Mercedes being off the radar, could there be a possibility that we could see Ricciardo as Vettels’ team-mate again? I personally don’t think so, so that means the Ferrari door has been shut too.

Will he stay with Red Bull or try his luck elsewhere? He is another driver linked to joining McLaren and will the Red Bull move to Honda engines tempt him to stay or seek out fresher pastures, leaving a seat open with Red Bull.

My gut feeling is with all the problems Red Bull have had with the Renault engine this season, along with some excellent results, that the change to Honda will be a good thing. After all, look at how well the Toro Rosso’s are performing. And with that in mind, I think Ricciardo will stay put, at least for 2019, and then? Who knows.

Red Bull 2019 line-up: Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen

4. Renault

Currently standing fourth in the constructor’s championship, will their current line-up of Nico Hulkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr be their 2019 line-up?

Sainz is only ‘on loan’ to Renault this season from Red Bull and Hulkenberg’s ‘multi-year’ contract could well mean that one or both of the Renault seats will be up for grabs.

With rumours abound that Renault have been in serious talks with Esteban Ocon and given the current problems at Force India, I think that Ocon will be signed by the Renault team.

Leaving one spot open and one driver already said goodbye too.

If, Renault sign Ocon I feel it will be to replace Sainz, who is after all, only on loan.

But, what of Hulkenberg? In 147 starts in Formula 1, he has achieved no wins and no podiums. Will his age and ‘lack of’ trophies mean he will be passed over in favour of a younger driver?

This is the one of the teams, where I feel anything could happen, especially with the talented youngsters in Formula 2 banging on the door to get their shot.

I think I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that both current Renault drivers will be replaced.

Ocon will be signed in one seat, leaving the other seat open for either Artem Markelov or Jack Aitken, both of whom have tested for Renault.

Aitken is Renault’s current reserve driver and a member of the Renault Sport Academy. However, Markelov, in my opinion has excelled in F2 this year, overtaking as if his life depends on it, so I’m leaning towards a Markelov signing here.

Renault 2019 line-up:  Esteban Ocon and Artem Markelov

5. Haas

Both drivers are out of contract at the end of this year, but Kevin Magnussen has a clause in his contract that gives Haas the option to keep him for 2019.

The Haas has been an excellent car this season and both drivers have done well in qualifying.

However, with Magnussen consistently scoring points, in fact he has scored the majority of Haas’s points, I can’t see him losing his drive in 2019.

Grosjean, on the other hand, with his disastrous season I can see not having a drive next season.

So, if Grosjean is given the elbow, who will be given the seat?

I think Leclerc could well be bumped up to the ‘top end of the midfield Haas car’ as a stepping stone to the full Ferrai seat in 2020. After all, the Haas is Ferrari-powered.

Haas 2019 line-up: Kevin Magnussen and Charles Leclerc

6. Force India

Like everyone, I’m hoping that Force India will actually be on the grid in 2019.

With the enforced administration process and hopefully new injection of cash from new buyers, this could well be a ‘pay-drive’ team for next season.

Both current drivers, Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon, are out of contracts at the end of the season and I have already predicted I think Ocon is Renault bound.

With the current ‘crisis’, I can’t see Perez being signed for next season. And that has nothing to do with him putting the company into administration.

There are several rumours about likely investors and buyers for the team.

One strong rumour that has been persistent for a while is an investment of cash from Lawrence Stroll. Rumour is he doesn’t want to buy a team, but merely invest in one and seeing as Force India need a lot of help at the moment an investment from Daddy Stroll could see Stroll Junior given a seat at Force India.

(To be honest, I’m not sure if it’s just because the William’s hasn’t been the strongest car in the last two years but Lance Stroll doesn’t seem to strike me as an amazingly talented driver. After all, look at what Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc have done this season)

Another little rumour is that has been circulating is that GP3 driver Nikita Mazepin’s father, Dmitry, is considering buying into Force India. Nikita joined the Force India driver programme in 2016, along with finance from his father, so if this comes about, then I can see Mazepin being the other Force India driver.

Force India 2019 line-up: Lance Stroll and Nikita Mazepin

7. McLaren

Oh, what a torrid time McLaren have had over the last couple of years. But Alonso, has proved time and time again why he is a multi world champion and Stoffel Vandoorne has had a great teacher.

But what of 2019? I think Alonso has probably had enough and with his close victory at his maiden Indy 500 last year, and WEC victories this year I can see him hanging up his F1 boots to concentrate on other adventures in racing. After all, it’s no secret he wants that elusive Triple Crown.

Vandoorne has options in his contract to extend his stay at McLaren, but after two years of lacklustre performances (compared to Alonso) will he find himself another driver without a contract?

If Alonso goes, aside from Raikkonen and Ricciardo who I believe will stay put, other names in the running for seats at McLaren are Perez, Sainz Jr and F2 rising star Lando Norris.

Seeing as Perez replaced Hamilton at McLaren in 2013, and had a pretty awful season I can’t see him going back.

So that leaves Sainz, Norris and Vandoorne to fight over two seats.

I think McLaren and Red Bull might do a ‘loan swap’ for one year, whereby Norris will be given a seat at Toro Rosso and Sainz take the drive at McLaren, with Vandoorne being safe … for 2019 at least.

McLaren 2019 line-up: Stoffel Vandoorne and Carlos Sainz Jr

8. Toro Rosso

I think Pierre Gasly’s seat at Toro Rosso is secure for 2019, considering his stellar drives this year.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Brendon Hartley, drafted in at the tail-end of 2017 to replace Sainz, who was loaned out Renault to cover Jolyon Palmer’s in-season departure. He just hasn’t consistently to the same level as his team-mate and has had some unfortunate incidents.

I don’t think he will be renewed for 2019 and his vacant seat will go to Lando Norris.

Toro Rosso 2019 line-up: Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris

9. Sauber

Having already predicted Charles Leclerc will move to Haas for 2019, that leaves at least one seat available in the Sauber.

Although Marcus Ericsson hasn’t set the world on fire, he has been a steady driver for the team and I think he will get a year’s extension/renewal on his contract for 2019.

Rumours of a Leclerc replacement at Sauber include Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovanzzi.

Giovanazzi has Ferrari experience, being their 3rd driver in 2016, took part in Sauber’s 2017 pre-season testing and stood in for an injured Pascal Wehrlein for the first two races of the 2017 season.

He also took part in this week’s in-season test in Hungary for Ferrari on day one setting the fastest lap, and for Sauber on day two finishing fourth.

I think he could be a hot favourite for the Sauber seat in 2019.

Sauber 2019 line-up: Marcus Ericcson and Antonio Giovanazzi

10. Williams

Another team whose seasons go from bad to worse, what next for Williams?

With my prediction of Lance Stroll and his money off to Force India, have Williams got the resources to do without the money of Sergei Sirotkin, who is apparently on a multi-year contract, but there has been concrete confirmation of how long, just a ‘one-plus’  message?

I’d like to say they can survive without Sirotkin’s money and will sign Robert Kubica for 2019. After all, he has out-classed both Williams’ drivers in most practice and test sessions this season.

But at 33, is Kubica’s F1 dream over, despite many people wanting him to be a great comeback story?

On the hand, Kubica could just have the experience Williams need to turn their fortunes around.

This is tricky.

Much as I think I’m going to have to go with the premise that Williams are in need of Sirotkin’s money, I’m going to throw that curve ball out there and say Robert Kubica will be signed.

That just leaves the vacant Stroll seat.

With Stroll moving, potentially, to Force India, that leaves one Mercedes’ engined car available at Williams for Formula 2, and Mercedes 2018 reserve driver, George Russell, who is currently leading the F2 championship.

Williams 2019 line-up: Robert Kubica and George Russell

And those are my predictions for the 2019 driver line-up.

Just in case you gave up on my ramblings, here are my predictions in one spot:


What do you think??

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Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards – Hungarian Grand Prix 2018

Well, that’s it. The last F1 race for four, whole, long weeks.

Not as exciting all the way through as the last couple of races, but it was not without incidents.

The major one *spoiler alert* was Max Verstappen retiring from the race very early on in the race due to an engine problem.

This, caused an avalanche of hilarious tweets, which make up the majority of this week’s Top 10, they were too funny to ignore.

And with that said, here are this week’s Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards for the Hungarian Grand Prix 2018:

In 10th place is @SimonGBrooks for a video of the ‘young pup’ Vandoorne hot on the heels of the ‘wily old dog’ Fernando Alonso, shortly before, yup, you guessed it, Vandoorne retired from the race….

9th place goes to @LandoNorris with an accurate depiction of scenes from Ricciardo’s cockpit as he tried to overtake Magnussen, which he did after a bit of a tussle…

8th place goes to @MissMotorsport for this tweet as we all wondered whether Ferrari would make that call: “Seb, Kimi is faster than you!”

In 7th place is @RenaultSportF1 for scenes from their pit wall as Verstappen overtook Sainz

In 6th place is @BadgerGP on that tussle between Magnussen and Ricciardo, before the honey-badger eventually made the overtake stick.

5th place goes to @timwagner66 for live scenes at TAG/Heuer customer services office following Verstappen’s retirement…


4th place goes to @StephenCole1984 with footage of Renault’s team principal. Cyril Abeitbul trying to leave the track after Verstappen’s retirement and Christian Horner on the rampage

In 3rd place is @LastLapPodcast with a sneak peek at the ‘fictional’ button on Renault’s pit wall that makes Christian Horner’s afternoon go pear-shaped.

2nd place goes to @charlie_whiting for live scenes at the car park as Max Verstappen leaves the track earlier than planned this afternoon

This week’s winner in 1st place is @banterf1 for this hilarious tweet after Verstappen’s retirement and Christian Horner’s displeasure at the Renault engines …


And that, ladies and gentlemen concludes this week’s Funniest Tweet Awards and the final ones before the F1 summer break.

The awards will be back at Spa, in the meantime, if you’re wondering what they are all about, have a look back through the archives.

These awards have been running since June 2016 and are the original and best.

To take part all you need do is follow me on Twitter (@Pitlane_Girl) and tweet funny stuff during the race. I then choose the ones I think are the funniest. You win kudos and bragging rights until the next race and all Top 10 winners are awarded points and at the end of the season, I reveal the champion funny tweeter!

Right, on that note it’s time to sign off for the summer break.

Whatever you do, enjoy the sunshine and relaxation.

See you in Spa in four weeks!! (What am I going to do for four weeks????)

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The administration of Force India

The last F1 teams to go into administration were Caterham F1 and Manor Racing in 2014 and 2017 respectively.

Waking up yesterday to read that Force India are now in that position made for sad reading.

From what was being bandied about on the media about it being at the instigation of one of their drivers, Sergio Perez, along with Mercedes and sponsor BWT read like they had been kicked when they were down by one of their own.

However, upon further investigation it appears Perez is not the villain he was painted.

Apparently, another creditor had taken Force India to court earlier last week in an effort to get paid. Their choice of attack was to try and get the company wound up. The subsequent action of Perez, Mercedes and BWT to place Force India into administration is actually the lesser or the two evils.

Why? What’s the difference?

Unfortunately, both processes can lead to the end of business for a company.

But, putting a company into liquidation (winding it up) involves immediate disposal of assets before dissolving the company whereas putting a company into administration gives the company an opportunity to find a buyer and explore all other funding options. It also puts a block on any legal action against the company within the administration period.

Who are Force India’s creditors?

The largest creditor is the team’s own holding company, ‘Orange India Holdings Sarl’, which is owed 159 million pounds and one of whose directors is Vijay Mallya. This holding company operates as a subsidiary of United Breweries Ltd whose chairman is Vijay Mallya.

The next largest creditors is Mercedes and Sergio Perez who are owed 10 million and four million pounds, respectively.

What next?

FRP Advisory, the team’s appointed administrators have eight weeks to send out formal administrative proposals to all of the company’s creditors. This generally consists a plan of action that the administrator will follow to repay all debts, information about the company’s current status and the anticipated outcome.

Could someone buy the team?

For a company in administration this can be one of the options recommended by the administrator. This is called a ‘pre-pack administration sale’ where all assets and business of the company are sold to a new company.

However, before such a sale can take place the administrator has to convince all creditors that this is the most beneficial option for all concerned.

How has this happened?

With the cost of running an F1 team for a year at an average of 250 million dollars, it’s not a cheap business to be in, which probably accounts for some of the smaller teams struggling and going broke, Caterham and Manor Racing to name but two.

But Force India is a strong mid-field team, coming fourth in the constructors’ championship in the previous two years and currently standing fifth, so how has it happened? Is it just down to lack of money or is it bad business management?

If this can happen to Force India, what of Williams and McLaren whose racing fortunes have taken a downturn in recent years? Could they be next?

In my opinion, it seems that a budget cap would seem the most sensible solution. What do you think?

As for Force India, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the next eight weeks bring.

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Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards – German Grand Prix 2018

Well, who would have bet on that result after yesterday’s qualifying??

Not only did we have several drivers out of their ‘usual’ positions, we had the threat of rain.

The first half of the race saw drivers slicing through the field and then the rain threat became very real.

A few spots sent the entire pitlane into total confusion. Should they bring drivers in, leave drivers out?? Some did, some didn’t and then the few drops didn’t turn into the expected downpour.

One safety car later, a few laps to go and it was all to play for.

Amongst all this excitement was a deluge of funny tweets.

But before we get to the top 10, we have an honorary mention from @timwagner66 who gave us the real reason for Toto’s pained expression!

hon men

And now, without further ado here are this week’s Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards:

In 10th place is @RenaultSportF1 who, like the rest of us were enjoying the Ferrari radio show on Kimi FM

9th place goes to @f1trackchat showing the veritable feast that Lewis Hamilton was enjoying as he was making his way through the field … (hmm, really feel like ice cream now!)

8th place goes to @LBraking wondering, like the rest of us, what Toro Rosso were thinking putting Gasly on full wets when everyone else who went in pitted for inters!

In 7th place is @F1Racing-mag and the reply by @RachelBrookesTV after Ferrari pitted Kimi first and he came out just ahead of Hamilton, then kept setting fastest lap times …

In 6th place is @dibhayles who got a little excited when Kimi was ‘banging in fastest laps’ – see above tweets …

5th place goes to @LightsOutF1Blog who managed to discover who Toto was on the phone to …


In 4th place is @_markgallagher with live footage of the strategists in the pitlane with the arrival of those few raindrops …

3rd place goes to @ForceIndiaF1 for actual scenes from Kimi’s cockpit during ‘that’ radio communication …

In 2nd place is @Jontys_Corner for a sneak peek into the weather gods’ mission control department …

This week’s winner, in 1st place is @timwagner66 with this suggestion for Vettel after he mentioned his rear was burning!!!


And that, ladies and gentlemen is your Top 10 Funniest Tweets for this week.

We are now halfway through the season, with only 1 more race to go before the summer break.

If you want to play along next week during the Hungarian Grand Prix simply follow me on Twitter (@Pitlane_Girl) and tweet funny tweets (tagging me) during the race.

You win kudos and bragging rights until the next race 😉

See you in Budapest next week.

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F1 Bake Off – Round 11 – Germany

Another race week, another F1 Bake Off challenge and this week another yeast recipe for me to try to get right.

For this week’s German bake-off challenge I have made a ‘Butterkuchen’, which is a very simple yeasted cake that is marvellous with a cup of freshly brewed coffee (apparently, I’ll take AllRecipes website’s word for it, seeing as I don’t like coffee)

But, I know the question on your lips is: “Did I mess up the recipe this week?”

Well, you’ll just have to find out at the end of the post.

The recipe I used was from the All Recipe’s website (www.allrecipes.co.uk)



  • 2 (7g) sachets dried active baking yeast
  • 120ml warm water
  • 175ml milk
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 110g butter
  • 500g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Butter a 20x30cm tin and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place milk, 100g sugar, salt and 110g butter in saucepan.
  4. Heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts.
  5. Cool to lukewarm.
  6. Add dissolved yeast and set aside.
  7. In large bowl combine flour, eggs and yeast mixture.
  8. Stir until smooth and blended.
  9. Pour into a prepared tin, spreading dough evenly.
  10. Let rise in warm place for 45 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190 C / 170 Fan / Gas 5.
  12. In a small bowl, combine 110g butter, 200g sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
  13. Mix together and sprinkle over the dough.
  14. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and syrupy.

… and the result of my attempt???

Heaven. It was seriously scrumptious.

… and here’s the video of the bake …

Next week is the last one before the summer break.

You’ll be hungry for the Hungarian bake 😉

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Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards – British Grand Prix 2018

I don’t know about you, but I need a lie-down in a darkened room after that race.

When F1 delivers a great race, you know you’ve not just watched it but lived it as you experience the highs and lows through each and every corner.

And boy, Silverstone 2018 will certainly go down as one of the stand out races of this season.

With Lewis Hamilton grabbing pole by 44 milliseconds it was always going to be interesting going into the first corner, but who would have predicted that by turn 3 on lap one the pole sitter would be last.

With that and Perez spinning across the pit lane entrance we had the start of a cracking race.

And like the race, the tweets did not disappoint either. Some truly hilarious, laugh out loud ones this week, so without further mutterings from me, here are this week’s Top 10 Funniest Tweet Awards from the British Grand Prix 2018:

Starting off with an honorary mention for the cutest ‘box, box, box’ tweet seen during the race, courtesy of @F1Loopy:

In 10th place is @SkySportsF1 showing live scenes from the safety car garage during the race

9th place goes to @stargateoracle for live scenes from the Mercedes strategy team office…

8th place goes to @TPSpencer88 asking the one question that’s been on everyone’s lips this season after all of Grosjean’s ‘misfortunes’…


In 7th place is @f1trackchat with an accurate observation from the Williams’ cars that started from the pit lane and encountered a spinning pink panther as they started their race!

6th place goes to @dibhayles with video footage of all the other drivers as Vettel asked, over the team radio, if the safety car could slow down…

In 5th place is @Beomoose for the reaction to his observation of the crash between Grosjean and Sainz

4th place goes to @GvanderGarde showing the lengths some F1 drivers will go to say ‘hi’ to their mates during the race!

In 3rd place is @andersonlaura12 who tweeted this footage of Kimi after he signed off a radio communication saying he wasn’t allowed to think anymore…

In 2nd place is @Jontys_Corner for this tweet after the first pit stops when the only cars on the track with a different tyre compound were the two Renaults…

This week’s winner in 1st place is @StephenCole1984 for this last-minute tweet as Alonso crossed the line to take the last points – certainly didn’t have that outcome in my GP Fantasy League….

And that, is the last grand prix of the season’s triple header.

A week off before we head to Germany (and I’ve got a really good F1 Bake Off for that 😉 )

If you want to take part at the next grand prix, it’s super easy.

Simply follow me on Twitter and tweet your funniest tweets during the race (make sure you tag me, otherwise I could miss it) and if I spot them they will get on the list from which I choose the top 10.

So, that’s it for this week.

See you in Hockenheim 😉

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