The 2016 Formula One World Championship isn’t even finished yet, but already the music is slowing down and the last few seats in the grand game of musical chairs are filling up fast.
The latest developments come from the Haas and Renault teams, which have both confirmed their driver lineups for next season.
The American team has signed Kevin Magnussen to join its roster for 2017. The 24-year old Dane follows Romain Grosjean over from Renault, the Frenchman having switched to Haas at the end of last season. After winning the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title in 2013, Magnussen impressed enormously with his second-place debut with McLaren at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, but has not managed to score another podium finish since.
Magnussen’s place at Renault, we already know, will be filled by Nico Hulkenberg, who switches over from Force India for next season. Now the French outfit has confirmed that it will keep rookie Jolyon Palmer in the other car for 2017. The son of track magnate and former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer, Jolyon placed second in Formula Two in 2010, won the GP2 title in 2014 and debuted with Renault this year, scoring his first championship point in Malaysia last month.
With the Haas and Renault seats now full, only Sauber and Manor have yet to announce their lineups for next season. The other major changes include Felipe Massa’s retirement and replacement with Lance Stroll at Williams, and Jenson Button’s sabbatical in favor of Stoffel Vandoorne at McLaren. Mercedes protégé Esteban Ocon will fill Hulkenberg’s seat at Force India, while Ferrari’s Esteban Gutierrez is left without a seat having been replaced at Haas.
Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, and Toro Rosso are all keeping their drivers right where they are for next season.