While Lewis Hamilton is holding up the ‘silly season’ at F1’s sharp end, the bottom half of the 2013 grid is now starting to take shape.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reports that new Marussia reserve Max Chilton, backed in GP2 by his wealthy father, is set to make his grand prix debut next year. He will replace Charles Pic, who will take his well-heeled sponsors to Caterham to replace Vitaly Petrov, whose Russian backers have called time on the F1 project.
Caterham, whose boss Tony Fernandes has appointed Renault official Cyril Abiteboul as its new CEO, wants to keep Heikki Kovalainen, but if the highly rated Finn jumps ship, Auto Motor und Sport said former Toro Rosso driver Sebastien Buemi is in the frame. Buemi’s former teammate Jaime Alguersuari could also be making a return next year, having reportedly put together a useful sponsorship package that the young Spaniard could take to Sauber.
21-year-old Dutchman Robin Frijns, meanwhile – currently racing in the Renault World Series – has reportedly lined up a reserve driver role for 2013.
Force India wants to keep Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, but also attractive to the Silverstone team are the release deals that they could negotiate with much better-funded outfits. So if there are cockpits to fill at Force India, Auto Motor und Sport said Buemi, Alguersuari and even the team’s former racer Adrian Sutil are in the running.