Driver movements, minor placings

After Lewis Hamilton announced he was moving to Mercedes, and Massa was announced at Ferrari, there has been little excitement with driver moves. Hulkenberg moving to Sauber almost passed under the radar.

But there have been a number of key announcements (one early by accident) at the Brazilian GP this weekend. Firstly, Esteban Gutierrez will be promoted to a race seat at Sauber, thanks to his talent, and his backing from Telmex. This means Sauber will have a completely new line up next season, although worries that this will affect car set-up should be vanquished when you realise that Gutierrez has spent two years as test-and-reserve driver, so the team know him well.

The second announcement is perhaps a bit more of a surprise, although not perhaps unexpected. Marussia’s Charles Pic is to move to Caterham for 2013. It is expected that reserve driver Max Chilton will take his place in the black and red cars next year.

Caterham are currently 11th in the constructors standings, and if they fail to finish higher than 12th this weekend, they will lose out on a considerable chunk of prize money. It therefore makes sense for them to hire drivers with sponsorship. Vitaly Petrov currently provides this, with Heikki Kovalainen offering experience. Heikki has already said his seat is not safe, and it remains to be seen whether the team will run Pic and Petrov, or replace both

The talk at Williams is that Bruno Senna may also be on his way out, replaced by Vilttari Bottas, who has given some impressive runs in Friday practice sessions for the team. Senna was expected to take a berth at Caterham if he lost his seat, but with Pic there, the story is now less clear. He has made it known he wants to stay with Williams, but another team with a spare seat, and in need of funding, is Force India. Also in the frame here is Kobyashi (although apparently not favoured) and Adrian Sutil.

One thing is for sure, the driver merry-go-round is far from over!


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