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Formula 1 transfer market: Renault decides on driver market

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N ico Hülkenberg has to answer the question every weekend: 'Where to go You next year? ' Standard answer from the Le Mans winner: 'Only when it is clear whether Raikkonen will continue with Ferrari will the other pieces of the puzzle start to slide.'

Now it is clear. Raikkonen stays for another year. But it is a fallacy that all other drivers can now take their positions for 2016. The ball gets rolling when Renault decides its future. Is there a works team with Lotus or not? The fate of many drivers also depends on the answer.

Renault has officially postponed the announcement of its plans until September. But internally, the die could fall in the week after the Belgian GP. Then Renault will improve its offer to Lotus. If there is a second offer at all. But what is likely. But many questions still remain unanswered. How big does Renault buy? When does the project start?

A start in 2016 is just as conceivable as it was in 2017. With the second variant, Renault could focus on improving the engine in the coming year together with Red Bull and Toro Rosso. And Lotus could serve its contract with Mercedes. In addition, Infiniti will not be available to the Renault national racing team as a sponsor until 2017 anyway.

But what does that have to do with the drivers? Very much. Because the future of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado is linked to the fate of Renault. And with that all the rest.

Plan A: Maldonado to Force India?

Let's take Plan A: Renault takes over Lotus. And that already from 2016. Then the French oil company Total would come to the car as one of the main sponsors. Total protégé Grosjean would stay in the team. A large total lettering does not go together with the Venezuelan oil cartel PDVSA.

Pastor Maldonado would have to move elsewhere with his oil millions. The scene already has an idea where to go. To Force India. To take the place of Nico Hülkenberg there. The German could then switch to Haas F1, where he is at the top of the wish list.

At Ferrari, the guessing game about Kimi Raikkonen is over. Williams has held on to a double-digit transfer fee for Valtteri Bottas for too long. That made Botta's option unattractive for Ferrari, especially since Raikkonen showed rising form at the Hungarian GP. Williamsbut needs the money for Bottas if you want to continue to drive at the current level and not make losses like 2014. Apparently, Claire Williams tried to get more money out of Petrobras. Even the bad word of a Paydriver obligation as an alternative is said to have already been used.

Plan B: At Lotus everything stays the same. h3>

Now to plan B. Lotus will be the new Renault works team, but not until 2017. Then Lotus will continue to cook for another year with Mercedes engines on the back burner. Grosjean and Maldonado are on for a third season. The racing team has an option for both drivers.

Maldonado would not move on with its oil well until 2017. If it has not dried up by then. Hulkenberg would at least have the choice between Force India and Haas F1. At Ferrari it would be again in a year: Raikkonen or Bottas. The Williams driver would then be free of charge.

Plan C: Grosjean to Ferrari?

Finally, a plan C. Renault leaves completely after 2016 or continues with Red Bull and Toro Rosso as before. Lotus would remain a Mercedes customer, but then had to sell the second cockpit next to Maldonado to the highest bidder in order to raise more budget. In this case, Grosjean's management is already looking for alternatives. The door at Ferrari has closed for 2016. But there is still Haas F1.

A season at Haas F1 could open the door at Ferrari for 2017. Hulkenberg apparently thinks the same way. Therefore, the new US racing team for ninth place in the World Championship is well worth considering. Grossjean should not have bad chances at Ferrari. Because supposedly chief technology officer James Allison thinks very highly of the French who live in Geneva.

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