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GP Week : Issue 34
The four Brazilians Rubens, Nelson, Lucas and Bruno are all pivotal to the makeup of the 2009 Formula 1 season. So, who’s going to end up where? FOUR Brazilian drivers appear to hold the aces with regard to the conclusion of the 2009 line-up of the Formula 1 grid. Rumour and speculation has been rife this week in the lead up to the Brazilian Grand Prix that two Brazilian GP2 stand- out sensations, Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi, could be on the verge of making the step up to Formula 1 in 2009, while their countrymen Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet’s positions are less than stable. Senna has long been linked with a move to Toro Rosso, although in recent weeks he has also been closely linked to Honda, in place of compatriot Barrichello. GPWeek expects Senna to test for both teams over the winter. Barrichello, meanwhile, has told reporters that the Brazilian Grand Prix will not be his last race in F1. As his public statements begin to have a feeling of desperation to them, the Senna to Honda rumours have gathered yet more pace. Should Barrichello be replaced by the young Senna, Rubens may yet find a berth at Toro Rosso. Piquet has suffered a trying first season in Formula 1 but has put in some measured and impressive performances over the second half of the year. While Renault supremo Flavio Briatore has said he will be making no immediate decisions about his driver line- up, it is believed that Piquet’s seat is under threat from di Grassi, who impressed hugely in GP2 this season. With one seat believed to be taken by Fernando Alonso at Renault in 2009, only the one seat remains open. Should di Grassi take Piquet’s seat, Briatore is thought to be keen to move Piquet over to Toro Rosso. Should Piquet stay at Renault, then di Grassi could have potential for a Toro Rosso move. The four Brazilians are intrinsically linked in the puzzle. Di Grassi himself informed Reuters during the week that it was his intention to stay with Renault, but that he would move teams if it meant he could get his full-time F1 debut in 2009. Fellow 2008 GP2 race winner Karun Chandhok is expected to test for Force India over the winter.