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Silly season is starting to wrap up so let's talk about the faces we're gonna see on the grid in 2014, shall we? Will keep this updated as things develop.

Red Bull - Sebastian Vettel & Daniel Ricciardo
Ferrari - Fernando Alonso & Kimi Raikkonen
McLaren - Jenson Button & Kevin Magnussen
Mercedes - Lewis Hamilton & Nico Rosberg
Lotus - Romain Grosjean & Pastor Maldonado
Force India - Nico Hulkenberg & Sergio Perez
Sauber - Adrian Sutil & Esteban Gutierrez
Williams - Felipe Massa & Valtteri Bottas
Toro Rosso - Jean-Eric Vergne & Daniil Kyvat
Caterham - Kamui Kobayashi & Marcus Ericsson
Marussia - Jules Bianchi & Max Chilton
My thoughts:

I'm surprised McLaren is giving Perez the boot. Yes he's 35 points behind Button, but I think he shows promise. Then again, McLaren might be after another Lewis Hamilton, which Perez probably is not.

I think they're making a mistake re-hiring Raikkonen. I love the Fin, but he's not a team player. Ferrari seems to like drivers who are team players . . . especially in their "supporting role" positions. I think Ferrari would be better off hiring a young pup. Someone they can mould from a young age. Someone to replace Alonso when he retires.

I'm glad to see they finally realized Maldonado is useless beyond the money he brings in. That being said, I think their new driver-lineup is about as exciting as the Valencia GP.

The thing about Perez is...McLaren would've kinda been settling for him, honestly. I like him and he's been getting to be a better driver but I'm not sure he's on his way to matching Button in the way he goes about his race weekends and sessions, how he strings together his pace, etc. Maybe that's unfair. But in any case, McLaren aspires to having someone who puts Button in the shade, they need it to be a championship-winning team. Would Perez be that person given a better car and another season? You never know. But I'm not too surprised McLaren bet he isn't, and they know a lot more about these people by working with them than we do by watching the sport.

I agree about Raikkonen, I'm not liking how his head isn't into the game, though he does still perform...Bianchi would've been an interesting choice there. Pretty young though. They shoulda grabbed Hulkenberg when they had the chance, in truth.

I respect Maldonado. He started quick, but erratic. He quietly calmed down after his first couple seasons, and has better race pace than many at times, and over time he kinda strung it together. I believe he generally gets the full performance envelope of these shitty Williams they keep making, and that Bottas is generally there with him most of the time. As for Massa, I'm thinking he made a smart move...Williams is performing a bit better at the end of the season and they're doing it with the 2014-positioned exhaust. They have a tidy aerodynamic package on that car and they're a clever engineering company, with one of the steadier budgets on the grid, with a Mercedes if the Germans don't ruin it, they're worth a punt next year!
I thought the McLaren change (Mangussen for Perez) wasn't confirmed?
It wasn't actually, moe, until this morning.
Perez confirmed he was leaving yesterday
So I guess Lotus is still up in the air. Noises this weekend about their investment deal falling through meaning they will take Maldonado and his Venezuelan money and Hulkenberg is left in the lurch yet again, but the investment group released a statement that they will come through, it's just taking awhile...who knows! I would be pissed to see Hulkenberg left out of a top drive at the 11th hour yet again, even though I rate Maldonado higher than most (not my favorite person, but after taking a long time to learn and calm down in F1, just like he did in GP2, I think he's pretty damn quick most of the time and has scrubbed the vast majority of his stupidity and incidents from his portfolio.)
So what's the latest, I've missed a lot of news whilst being away.

Maldonado confirmed at Lotus now?
Yes, Maldonado at Lotus. Hulkenberg to Force India. Still several spots hanging in the air.
Perez joins Force India
Sutil going to Sauber
Are Sauber not putting Sirotkin in the car next season?
Sounds like they want to, but it's dependent on him getting his funding in order and having the FIA clear his superlicense.
Gutierrez go the second Sauber seat then.

Also, I'd say Alonso is hinting at taking the number 14 for next season with this Tweet.
Article here for number selections made. I don't know when the official announcement will be.
Official driver numbers announcement happened today, here's the list:

# Driver Team/Car
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault (#5 if/when he loses his champion's #1)
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari
19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes
20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes
21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari
22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault
26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault
27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes
99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari

Of course, with the last 3 drivers (1 Marussia and 2 Caterham) "to be announced".
Marussia retains Max Chilton alongside Jules Bianchi

And Graham MacDonald from Caterham said their drivers are signed and there will be an announcement within the next week.
QUOTE(clarkma5 @ Dec 10 2013, 02:01 PM) *
Yes, Maldonado at Lotus. Hulkenberg to Force India. Still several spots hanging in the air.

Why would anyone hire Maldonado?

All he's going to do is crash cars and start fights in the paddock. He's Venezuela's Scott Speed.

I weep for all the young talent who don't have a nation's oil industry sponsoring them.
You're not wrong.
Eh, I think Maldonado has enough talent to deserve the drive. He has a history of mistakes and rubbing people the wrong way, but if you look at his junior career, he seemed to have a habit of taking a long time to bed into a championship before finally unleashing his potential consistently. It took 5 erratic years in GP2 before he wound up dominating the championship, setting the record for most GP2 wins in a season along the way, let's not forget. I see much the same thing happening in F1, though in the tougher world of F1 I don't think he's gonna dominate the championship like he did in GP2...but he'll be worthy of his drive. At least, he has that potential.

Caterham is expected to announce their drivers tomorrow but have already made it official that Pic will be dropped. Rumor mill is saying Kobayashi is a favorite to come back, and I've heard Alguersuari mentioned as well.

Well it'll be a completely new line-up for them, as VDG has been announced as a test driver for Sauber. Would like to see Kobayashi back in F1, particularly if Caterham can produce a car that he can compete up the field with. Even though they didn't secure 10th place and the additional funding that brings, the new rules probably offer them their best chance yet.
And here we have it, the grid is complete with the announcement of Kobayashi and Ericsson taking the seats at Caterham.

As I said, happy to see Kamui back on the grid. I don't know that much about Ericsson, but I feel that Caterham should be trying to mould a driver over a few seasons now rather than chopping and changing each season. Kobayashi's experience should help them, although he hasn't spent many years in F1.
He only took the one year out, though it does feel longer!

Also, Frijns joins Rossi as another of Caterham's reserve drivers, Paul Di Resta returns to DTM with Mercedes but is also looking at a reserve driver role with Mercedes F1.

Also, thought it was cool that Kobayashi turned down an expanded Ferrari sports car deal that included F1 simulator time in order to drive for Caterham, and he's doing it for no pay
Yeah, clearly an F1 drive is his ultimate goal, so good on him for snubbing Ferrari there. He knows they won't be ditching either of their two drivers for him in a hurry.

In other news Tony Fernandes is saying if Caterham don't improve from back markers this season he may not continue.
Some interesting moves going on on the technical side today. Looks like Eric Boullier will be taking over from Martin Whitmarsh as TP at McLaren. Boullier to be repalced by Gerard Lopez. McLaren have also hired Red Bull/Lotus staff.

Daniel Juncadella has been signed up by Force India as a reserve driver today too.
Yeah...all this buildup is really making it look like Lotus is going to be on the decline, sadly. They've bled so many good personnel the last couple years and their financial situation has been so rocky. They claim to have gotten the money sorted out now, but I think it's gonna take them a couple years to rebuild, if they even manage to recover...
Yeah could be a difficult time, I'll guess we'll have to wait and see. Would be a shame for Grosjean given he'd seemed to get a handle on his driving style and turned some top performances out last season.

This isn't strictly 2014 diver line-up information, but interesting nonetheless. Simona de Silvestro has been signed up as an affiliated driver for Sauber, with the aim of her gaining a race seat for 2015.

Interesting for a few reason, the most obvious being she is female and could/would be the first female driver to start an F1 race since the 70s. I watched the end of the 2012 and the first half of the 2013 IndyCar seasons (until broadcasting rights changed in England and I couldn't watch without paying more) and I was quite impressed with her performances. She wasn't on it at every race, but when she was she was pretty impressive I thought. I don't know much about her history or route to Indycar, but understand she is Swiss, so the tie up there seems quite obvious, if for marketing and generating interest in the team if anything else.

Also the aim of a race seat for 2015 (both her aim and the team intend to help her get there) is interesting to me because it suggests that Sauber could already be considering changing Sutil or Guitierrez at the end of the season. Of course there could be other options, maybe Marussia via the tenuous Ferrari engines link. I just find it interesting the way teams talk about new drivers in a fashion that suggests their current driver line-up could be under threat, particularly when the season hasn't even started yet. You can take it with a pinch of salt perhaps because Sauber also suggested Sirotkin would be on the grid this year.
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