There are now just four empty grid slots for 2011. Four.
That’s excluding the Toro Rosso spaces that haven’t been officially confirmed as Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, even though in their release about Daniel Ricciardo they said who their 2011 drivers were.
The four spaces are: Force India’s two and Hispania’s two. How many of these will be filled by Christmas? It’s only three days away now. Most teams will probably take some time off for the holidays. I suspect we won’t see anything from Force India until January. I also think Hispania may be waiting for Force India, hoping to take on one of the drivers who will miss out.
Jerome d’Ambrosio, as I said yesterday, has been announced for Virgin in the number 25 car. According to Wikipedia, Luiz Razia will be their test driver. However, I’ve not yet seen any confirmation of this, not even in the article Wiki-ers used to confirm this listing. That article was soley about d’Ambrosio’s placement.
Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov has been confirmed today as Renault’s second driver. That’s not surprising, really. The deal means he should be around for the team for 2012 as well, when Russia host their first GP.
There are enough drivers from 2010 looking for a drive in 2011 that even these four spaces could be filled in interesting ways. Some drivers really don’t want to go for Hispania, but I think they could be in for a pleasant surprise if they went for the team. But I’m not going to go mad defending Hispania like I usually do; the stats speak for themselves.