Who will replace Grosjean at Lotus/Renault?

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With the Haas F1 announcement today, we have what seems to be an open seat at Lotus F1 for 2016…that is if the team actually make it to 2016 given the press reports of their impending demise under the weight of massive debt should Renault decide not to acquire them. Let’s assume Renault does acquire the team and has plenty of resources to continue in F1.

If that is the assumption, then who would fill Romain Grosjean’s vacant seat? Reserve driver Joylon Palmer? Carmen Jorda? Or would the team look for other talent behind the wheel?

There is a certain Frenchman named Jean-Eric Vergne who is currently a Ferrari reserve driver that might fit the bill both professionally and nationally so to speak. This would fulfill my long-dreamed of situation of Alain Prost on the team wall, a Frenchman in the driver’s seat and the car in French racing blue. I would love to see that once again.

But what about McLaren’s current issues? If Jenson Button wasn’t keen to leave McLaren for a backmarker, would he leave for a team that knows how to win and won two title most recently with his current teammate Fernando Alonso?

Speaking of Alonso, many say he has a 3-year deal with McLaren but I have to think that getting out of that now might be more of an option given the team’s difficult season. Perhaps he could be interested in coming home to roost and seeing if he can win another title with Renault?

Then there is the throng of young paying drivers who would love the chance to partner Pastor Maldonado in 2016 at Renault. Could they be a factor simply based on the money they bring? Pastor already delivered something in the neighborhood of $30 million to drive so do they need more from their other driver?

Certainly Grosjean’s move to Haas F1 might be an effort to get a Ferrari drive at the end of Kimi Raikkonen’s stint in 2016 so perhaps Ferrari might loan Esteban Gutierrez to Haas and JEV to Lotus F1 in order to get them seat time.

It’s all speculation but who do you feel would make the best candidate for the vacant seat at Lotus/Renault? One last thing, what about Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s issues? If they pull out, and Chrsitian Horner said it is very dire for STR at the moment, then could it be a place for plucky teen Max Verstappen?

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Tom Firth

It’s going to be interesting, because it’s going to be the first mid/front running seat if the driver comes from outside the series that is subject to the new driver super license rules, which makes the possibilities somewhat more limited.

Patrick Chapman

One thing is for sure, they will be spoilt for choice if Renault do go ahead with the aquisition. You can add the two youngsters at Mclaren just for starters.

runnah

Alonso joins Renault, wins back to back titles, retires, drops mic.

dude

One can dream.

Tom Firth

Jolyon Palmer or Alonso I’d reckon are the favourites. Palmer of the two, due to the Mclaren factor. As an out of the box guess, Sirotkin?

Tom Firth

Pierre Gasley a possibility?

MIE

What has Sirotkin been doing for the last few years? I can’t say I have heard his name since he was linked to a Sauber drive.

Tom Firth

Finished Renault 3.5, running third in Gp2 now, doing rather well actually. Not “Vandoorne” level of talent but strong enough to make the required superlicense points and bring along a fair bit of cash in the process.

Dougahlos Haggerty

Button gives one year at McLaren then joins Renault in 2017….the year that Maldonado is forced to take his money else where. Or possibly Alonso goes too. Carmen Jorda will go somewhere and be useless photo material. Jolyon palmer will find a ride 2017.

darkalman

JEV seems to be the logical choice. He has the experience, the french background and was on par with Ricciardo at STR.
Keep Jolyon as reserve and promote the GP2 champion to race seat after they axe Maldonado.
Alternately out of left field you could grab Nasr. He’s a good up and comer and brings sponsorship. Read as: bring back the blue/yellow livery from the mid-2000’s LOL

Paul KieferJr

Well, we know that Maldo’s there for the long haul (much as we might wish otherwise), so maybe he needs a calming influence and a decent mentor to get his head on straight. That might come in the form of Jensen Button if he decides to stick with F1 for a while.

Will Irwin

Surely it has to be Vergne. Renault will be going out on a political limb in France by being seen to invest money in F1 (even if they will not really be investing much) while they are closing car factories, so a French driver would do nicely to offset domestic criticism.

Deegs

I personally think it’s time that we at least saw Carmen jorda in the car. It would be a great way to launch the newly acquired Renault/Lotus/Renault F1 team, and make sure they got plenty of camera time for their new sponsors! Speaking of sponsors, McLaren could do with a few, so perhaps they just do a straight swap between Jenson and Carmen. Renault get a quality driver and someone who pastor won’t be able to catch to crash into. McLaren attract LOTS of new sponsors, pay much less for her services (if anything at all), Alonso will stay (I… Read more »

Paul KieferJr

I would like to announce that I’m on the short list to replace Grosjean. :-D

Shocks&Awe

If I were Kvyat, I would be in serious talks with Renault at this point. If RBR stays, it’s entirely possible that STR would still fold, and that probably means the plucky teen would get and RBR seat over DK. If I wanted to be certain of a future in F1, I’d go with a works team, even a mid-pack works team, over a fickle soft drink company.