What might the grid look like in 2016? Well we know for certain that it’ll feature a new entrant in the form of the Haas F1 Team, an almost Ferrari B-team, as it’ll be sourcing as many parts as the rules allow from the Italian outfit, including a driver.
We also know that the top drivers will remain exactly where they are, prompting complaints of a stale driver market. But that’s nothing new and doesn’t exactly come as a surprise.
However a lot more can change than just drivers, and it certainly seems the case next season as not only will we have a driver retiring (possibly), drivers coming back (perhaps), teams changing engines (maybe), but we could also have teams changing hands (likely).
If we’ve learnt anything about Formula 1, it’s that nothing is guaranteed, so it could all be complete hearsay, but here’s how we think the grid could look in 2016…
Red Bull and Toro Rosso will likely switch to Ferrari power, team principal Christian Horner pretty much said it was Ferrari or nothing next season. Rumours of a Volkswagen/Audi takeover won’t happen until at least 2018, at least not in terms of an engine.
Force India have confirmed Nico Hulkenberg, but a question mark remains over Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver is said to be in talks with Haas, but he’s not favourite for the seat and is likely to remain at the Silverstone based team.
Lotus is likely to become Renault. The deal has been agreed, but not yet signed off by both parties. It’s believed Romain Grosjean will depart in favour of Jean-Eric Vergne.
Jenson Button looks set to confirm his F1 retirement, meaning McLaren needs to find a replacement. That won’t be hard. The team has two to choose from in Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne. The former is likely to get the nod.
Manor is almost certain to switch from Ferrari power to Mercedes. The deal has been in the works for a few months. It will make way for Ferrari to power Red Bull and Toro Rosso. A condition of the engine deal will likely see Pascal Wehrlein take one of the seats.
Haas meanwhile has guaranteed a seat for a Ferrari reserve, most likely Esteban Gutierrez who comes with some strong financial backing. Grosjean is tipped to confirm his move to the American team next week.