The circus has a busy week ahead with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix just next weekend. The weekend did not bring us the much-expected announcement that Nico Hulkenberg is switching from Force India to Sauber for 2013, but Monday morning gave us confirmation that Kimi Raikkonen will stay with Lotus for another season. This was hardly a revelation, the Finn having nowhere else to go.
Esteban Gutierrez may have driven in the first practice session on Friday for Sauber, but he is by no means a dead-cert for a race seat at the team next year. Kamui Kobayashi apparently needs to bring some money, and doesn’t appear to have any, but the Japanese driver is surely deserving of another chance. Mexican money, however, may hold the key to the Sauber situation.
At Williams there is considerable enthusiasm for Valterri Bottas, the team’s young Finnish protégé. Undoubtedly very quick, Bottas is seemingly on course for a race drive next year. This will mean the exit of Bruno Senna, who drove an excellent race in India and may have impressed someone else sufficiently, especially if he comes with a bundle of cash.
Another man with a rumoured bag of dollars is Dutchman Giedo van der Garde. Once part of the McLaren young driver programme, Van der Garde’s star has faded somewhat, and needs to make his upcoming appearance with Caterham at the Abu Dhabi test stand out. The team will also run Alexander Rossi.