How the 2016 grid is shaping up

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ESPN looks at the how the 2016 grid is shaping up, starting with the team yet to confirm one or both of their drivers for next season.



The arrival of Mercedes power units next year means the cost of a seat at Manor has sky-rocketed in recent days. Will Stevens is hoping to secure another season at the team, while Roberto Merhi will only race at two of the remaining five races after being dropped for Alexander Rossi, making his chances of staying next year look slim. Rossi will hope for a full season after an impressive start to life in F1 and with an American team joining the grid next year. The Mercedes tie-up opens up the possibility of DTM series leader Pascal Wehrlein driving at Manor next year. Wehrlein has tested for Mercedes and Force India and looks to have a very good chance of landing a drive.


Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Mercedes will retain reigning world champion -- and the man who looks nailed on for the 2015 crown -- Lewis Hamilton alongside Nico Rosberg. The team has been helped by the gulf between Hamilton and Rosberg this season, with the current battle for the drivers' championship far more one-sided than the fraught and controversial one in 2014. Mercedes has no desire to change what it believes to be the best driver pairing on the grid.


Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen was the key to the whole driver market and Ferrari's decision to retain the Finn for 2016 has limited the moves around the grid. It gives Ferrari stability as it looks to challenge Mercedes for the title and moves attention to who the Italian team will take in 2017, with Max Verstappen and Romain Grosjean already being linked with a move. Sebastian Vettel stays after his brilliant first season at Maranello.


Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa

Williams believes it has a future world champion in Valtteri Bottas and was pleased to retain the services of the Finn despite interest from Ferrari. He will partner the rejuvenated Felipe Massa for another season -- bad news for GP3 champion and Williams development driver Alex Lynn but good news for a team hoping to take the fight back to Mercedes and Ferrari in 2016.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, Daniil Kvyat

We know Daniel Ricciardo has a watertight 2016 contract after his name was linked with Kimi Raikkonen's seat earlier this season. He will be joined for another year by Daniil Kvyat, who brushed off a shaky start to the season to beat Ricciardo in the standings.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez

One of the best line-ups on the current grid. Force India deserves praise for letting Nico Hulkenberg do Le Mans earlier this year and has rewarded his solid form since with a contract extension. Sergio Perez has also been very impressive since the introduction of the team's B-Spec car at Silverstone and will stay at the team next year, continuing the impressive career revival he's orchestrated since being binned by McLaren in 2013.


Pastor Maldonado, Jolyon Palmer

Pastor Maldonado has been retained for another season at Enstone and will be joined by 2014 GP2 champion Jolyon Palmer, who was rewarded after a patient wait in a reserve role for much of last season and replaces Haas-bound Romain Grosjean. The Renault takeover of Lotus has been completed and the French manufacturer has confirmed it will not change the line-up even though both drivers were announced while talks were ongoing.

Toro Rosso

Max Verstappen, Carlos Sainz

Toro Rosso's focus for much of last year was securing an engine for 2016, rather than who would pilot both cars. Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz's stellar campaigns last year made it an easy decision to retain both drivers for next season and keeps one of the grid's most exciting duos intact for another year.


Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson

Sauber was one of the earliest teams to confirm its line-up for 2016, keeping the impressive Felipe Nasr alongside Marcus Ericsson. The team started the season in acrimonious circumstances having signed four drivers for two seats this year but has steadied the ship well since.


Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button

McLaren's confirmation of Jenson Button meant another team line-up will remain unchanged next season. Fernando Alonso is locked into a three-year contract and will drive alongside Button for a second season in 2016. Reigning GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne will have to look for something away from F1 while Kevin Magnussen has been dropped from McLaren's books completely.


Romain Grosjean, Esteban Gutierrez

Haas pulled off a massive coup by luring Romain Grosjean across from Lotus for its debut season, giving the American team one of the most underrated talents on the grid. Grosjean will be joined by Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez, who always looked a likely candidate for the other drive due to his North American heritage and links with Ferrari.