Toro Rosso have announced their test driver for 2011: Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull’s super-fast young Australian. He’ll also be standing in for Buemi and Alguersuari in Friday morning practice sessions. Despite yesterday’s announcement by the FIA, this suggests Alguersuari and Buemi will definitely be (for the start of the season, anyway), the main drivers. However, the two of them will have to keep on form, or they could be replaced.
Williams finally told us what we all knew today – Hulkenberg is out and Pastor Maldonado – Venusuela’s second ever F1 driver – is in. He won’t get a great reception, unfortunately. The circumstances of his arriving at Williams are not in his favour, even if he’s not to blame.
Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen are definitely up for Lotus. Renault are yet to confirm their second drivers, while Toro Rosso, Force India, Virgin and Hispania have no names listed despite Toro Rosso basically confirming theirs with the Ricciardo news release. This leaves a lot of potential positions open, but they are being fought over by a lot of people: Karun Chandhok (not Hispania, I’m guessing!), Vitali Petrov (possibly Renault), Pedro De La Rosa (Hispania?), Nico Hulkenberg (who knows?), Adrian Sutil (assumed FI), Tonio Liuzzi (has FI contract), Timo Glock (has Virgin contract), and all the other unsigned 2010 drivers, as well as Paul Di Resta who could get a FI seat with his DTM performance.
The BBC say Nico Hulkenberg is likely to end up at FI, possibly alongside Sutil or Liuzzi. Renault seem to be hesitant around Vitali Petrov. Whether they sign him on for 2011 or choose another driver remains to be seen.
Apart from that, there are a few rumours floating about Russian driver Mikhail Aleshin the Renault World Series champion, who has apparently agreed a deal with a team. He’s been linked to Force India, Lotus and Virgin, although we can safely say he’s not going to be a Lotus driver.