The driver market seems to be this week's major talking point in F1

Despite it being just a week between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix, news seems a little bit slow in the last few days, although some activity is getting underway with team trying to secure their driver line-ups for 2012 and beyond…

As we reported yesterday, Renault boss (and owner of the Gravity management group) Eric Boullier has been trumpeting the prospects of his star client Romain Grosjean, and now the Frenchman is boasting that the 25-year-old is in “three teams’” radars.

It would seem that veteran driver Nick Heidfeld – signed as a stand-in for the injured Robert Kubica – is rapidly falling out of favour with the team, with Renault owner Gerard Lopez’s latest remarks seemingly failing to give the German any consideration.

“We could consider Vitaly [Petrov] with Romain, but that doesn’t depend on us. It depends on the health of Robert [Kubica],” the Luxembourg businessman told L’Equipe.

One team keeping quiet on rumours of its driver line-up is Force India, which has simply confirmed that it will wait until after the 2011 wraps up before making any announcements about its 2012 driver pairing.

It would seem that team boss Vijay Mallya would be keen to hang on to all three of his drivers: leading pair Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil, alongside test driver Nico Hülkenberg.

“I will announce my driver line-up around December 15th. Not before that. I want all my guys to focus on the job at hand and not start speculating about their future,” team boss Vijay Mallya said.

Hülkenberg, for one, will be hoping he can move out of the test driver role he picked up at the last minute after Williams elected to dispense with his services after a single rookie season with the outfit. Interestingly, further news of Sutil’s alleged assault court case seems to have dried up of late…

Meanwhile, further down the pit lane, talks have apparently kicked off between Virgin Racing and its rookie driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio, with RTL TVI reporting that the talks apparently getting underway in the wake of the team announcing it had re-signed Timo Glock for another three years.

This is interesting news by itself. Just two months ago, we reported credible stories that the Belgian was at risk of being dumped from his seat after failing to stump up the sponsorship cash instalment necessary to keep his drive.

D’Ambrosio is also managed by Boullier’s Gravity group.

[Image via Planet F1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.