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:
|MERCEDES||LEWIS HAMILTON||VALTTERI BOTTAS|
|FERRRAI||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||KIMI RAIKKONEN|
|RED BULL||DANIEL RICCIARDO||MAX VERSTAPPEN|
|RENAULT||ESTEBAN OCON||ARTEM MARKELOV|
|HAAS||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||CHARLES LECLERC|
|FORCE INDIA||LANCE STROLL||NIKITA MAZEPIN|
|MCLAREN||STOFFEL VANDOORNE||CARLOS SAINZ JR|
|TORO ROSSO||PIERRE GASLY||LANDO NORRIS|
|SAUBER||MARCUS ERICSSON||ANTONIO GIOVANAZZI|
|WILLIAMS||ROBERT KUBICA||GEORGE RUSSELL|
Guess it’s …
So, here is my new predictions table, with a few shuffles and new entries after the Ricciardo move to Renault:
|MERCEDES||LEWIS HAMILTON||LEWIS HAMILTON||VALTTERI BOTTAS||VALTTERI BOTTAS|
|FERRRAI||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||SEBASTIAN VETTEL||CHARLES LECLERC|
|RED BULL||PIERRE GASLY||PIERRE GASLY||MAX VERSTAPPEN||MAX VERSTAPPEN|
|RENAULT||ESTEBAN OCON||NICO HULKENBERG||ARTEM MARKELOV||DANIEL RICCIARDO|
|HAAS||KEVIN MAGNUSSEN||ROMAIN GROSJEAN|
|FORCE INDIA||LANCE STROLL||SERGIO PEREZ|
|MCLAREN||LANDO NORRIS||CARLOS SAINZ JR||CARLOS SAINZ JR|
|TORO ROSSO||ALEXANDER ALBON||ALEXANDER ALBON||DANIL KVYATT|
|SAUBER||KIMI RAIKKONEN||KIMI RAIKKONEN||ANTONIO GIOVANAZZI||ANTONIO GIOVANAZZI|
|WILLIAMS||ROBERT KUBICA||ROBERT KUBICA||GEORGE RUSSELL||GEORGE RUSSELL|
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.
UPDATE: 3 September 2018 – So the crystal ball accurately predicted Stoffel’s demise at McLaren, but didn’t accurately predict the driver. Congratulations to Lando Norris for his F1 seat. Calculating new driver muscial chairs is becoming increasingly difficult with a long line of talented drivers who deserve a drive and only a few seats remaining!
UPDATE: 11 September 2018 – So the crystal ball crashed and burned with this one. Kimi has been replaced at Ferrari by Charles LeClerc. It will be interesting to see how he performs, if he’s allowed to race, against Vettel, or whether the rookie will outperform! Kimi is off to drive for Sauber for two years. The rumour circulating (and I stress it is a rumour with no no substance whatsoever behind it) is that he has bought into the company and will help with the development of the car. That leaves just one seat open now at Sauber. I’m going to stick with my prediction and say Ferrari junior Giovanzzi will take that spot, leaving Ericsson without a seat.
UPDATE: 20 September 2018 – Had a bit of a think and re-jig about potential drivers and have made a few changes to the predictions …
UPDATE: 26 October 2018 – There’s been quite a bit of movement since the last update and now only three seats remain.
- Haas decided (for whatever reasons) to stick with their driver line-up!!
- George Russell has been confirmed as a Williams driver for next year
- Perez has been confirmed as staying at Force India
- Danil Kvyatt (!) is making a return to F1 and taking one of the Toro Rosso seats.
- Vandoorne is off to race for HWARaceLab (the Mercedes backed) Formula E team, so hopefully we’ll see the promise that Stoffel had re-emerge after a couple of years trying to drive that dog of a McLaren!!
The questions that remain are:
- What is to become of Ocon?
- Who will take the 2nd Toro Rosso seat?
- Who will Williams go for?
UPDATE: 27 November 2018 – So that’s it, we now have a full line up for 2019 – bar an official announcement from Force India that Stroll is their 2nd driver, but I think we can all take that as a given, can’t we??
The crystal ball was working for the remaining two seats as Alexander Albon takes up the mantle at Toro Rosso and 2019 will see the return of Robert Kubica at Williams.