Date: 25th October 2012 at 8:37am
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The grid for the 2013 Formula One World Championship is quickly taking the shape.

The 2012 season may not be over yet, but in the fast paced world of F1 teams plans for next season are well under way.

Development for the new cars with the ever-so-slight changes to the regulations, will be in full swing.

This time of the year is usually silly season, with various drivers linked with moves up and down the paddock, but this season, the rumours and speculation have dragged on from this time last year right through the whole season.

Only now has the top end of the paddock sorted itself out.

Red Bull will stick with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, after the Australian was believed to have held talks with a possible move to Ferrari.

Ferrari will stick with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa, after the Brazilian’s future looked like it would continue away from Ferrari, the Italian team had been linked with Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta and Sergio Perez.

McLaren of course lost out on the contract battle with Mercedes for the services of Lewis Hamilton, with the 2008 Formula One World Champion previously having links with Ferrari vetoed by former McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso. In the end the Brit decided to leave the team he had been with since the age of 13, which had a knock on effect on seven-time F1 champ Michael Schumacher who will now retire for a second time.

Mercedes will stick with Nico Rosberg, after previously being linked with Paul di Resta, who was also linked with McLaren before Sauber’s Sergio Perez was announced as Hamilton’s replacement.

A lot of questions remain regarding the remaining seats for 2013, Lotus are expected to remain unchanged, however Kimi Raikkonen’s expected contract extension talks appear to be dragging, whilst Romain Grosjean’s recent lap one incidents have also meant that those talks have remained quiet.

Sauber look likely to be completely different under new team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. Perez has of course already announced his move to McLaren, while Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi doesn’t appear to have done enough despite a recent podium finish in his home race.

They are expected to make a move for Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez.

Which would leave British driver Paul di Resta, after appearing to be on the possible verge of a move to a top team, remaining at Force India.

‘You always want to be linked with these [top] seats and thankfully I was,’ Di Resta told Sky Sports.

‘The best thing to hope for is that I’ll get a seat one day. I’ve always said I want to be winning races and championships, but whoever I’ll drive for I’ll be 100 per cent committed, driving the car as fast as I can and taking it to new levels.’

Elsewhere Toro Rosso are expected to remain unchanged after they brought in both Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne last season.

Williams are expected to keep Pastor Maldonado, but Bruno Senna is expected to make way for test driver Valtteri Bottas.

Neither Heikki Kovalainen or Vitaly Petrov have yet been confirmed for Caterham, whilst Narain Karthikeyan is expected to leave HRT.

British driver Max Chilton who was recently appointed as Marussia’s test driver is expected to take a drive for next season with the team.

 

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