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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kovalainen, Ricciardo, and Vergne await 2013 confirmation

Just as an addendum to today's announcement by Sauber regrading Nico Hulkenberg I see from ESPN and Autosport that Toro Rosso and Caterham have yet to confirm Heikki Kovalainen, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean Eric Vergne for 2013.

Heikki is quoted as telling Autosport that:
"At the moment there is no movement, I'm waiting on what Tony wants to do. He has different options and has to decide what route he wants to take with drivers. The fact is, I don't bring money and I get paid. Whether that's the deciding factor or not, I don't know.
We still have a good relationship. I've been with him for a long time already and I trust him 100 per cent. But at the same time, I need to keep my eyes open in case he wants to go the other way"
I don't think I have to say it, do I? Remember Jarno! He too was being paid.  I think it's very important for Heikki to keep his "eyes open".  Disregarding my remark in the earlier story, about how Williams would probably take on another paying driver, the gamble of taking Heikki on to guarantee them points in a good car might well offset the short term loss of income derived from a sponsored driver.  The only downside from Williams perspective is that they would be likely to lose Bottas, who is being touted by all and sundry as the next great driver, should he not get the second seat in 2013.

Almost in the same breath ESPN talk to Daniel Ricciardo about his lack of any news on the 2013 seats at Toro Rosso.  He is quoted as saying that neither he nor Jean Eric are sure of the future:
"Nothing's been signed on paper but we've been involved with some brief discussions on next year and what [technical director] James [Key] is hoping to achieve and what the team is looking for. So I guess being involved with these discussions is a positive and to be honest I think we definitely deserve another season".
Ahh! the positivity and naivety of youth.  I'm sure Sebastian Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari were in the exact same boat last year.

Red Bull has come under a lot of criticism from the F1 fraternity of ex-drivers, team owners, etc. 
for its approach to its young driver's programme, being accused of pushing them too fast and then dumping them even faster when they don't deliver.  The criticism appears to labour under the impression that Red Bull seem to want each of their new guys to deliver a la Sebastian Vettel.  I don't know the truth of that criticism or otherwise.