Its hard to know whether driver rumours are their own agents trying to bump up their price or teams staking an interest. Planet F1 are claiming that Ferrari are interested in securing Jenson Button to race for the scuderia next year. Its a double edged sword as driving for Ferrari would be another great thing to achieve but at the same time Alonso is number 1 in that team. He has capably taken on Lewis Hamilton at McLaren so far and he has been the only team mate of Alonso to really trouble him.
The point is a bit moot as McLaren have an option on Jenson for another year and recently Ferrari were keen to state that Massa has another year on contract. I think this year will see some driver movement at the top table, after Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Merecedes and Renault have all kept the same drivers (despite Kubica’s injury replacement but we expect him to return to his seat at somepoint). Massa and Webber are the two drivers in top seats under pressure, Schumachers recent upswing in form has resulted in contract extension rumours and Rosberg is doing a sterling job. I think Renault are pretty happy with Petrov, he brings a lot of exposure and money to the team and is maturing. The remaining 4 are genuine title contenders but Ferrari really need a better partner for alonso for the constructors places, which is how the teams make their money.
Further down the field I expect to see less changes than last year, although I reckon someone will sign Nico Hulkenberg. But since the sport has been left by many manufactuers and the end of the Tobbacco era (with the exception of Ferrari continuing their sponsorship with phillip morris until 2014) many teams are having to sign drivers with financial backing, Hulkenberg has bags of talent but is short on cash. Although if Di Resta beats Sutil but doesn’t move to Merecedes (he’s being lined up to replace grandaddy Schumacher at some point) it’d be hard to see how the team could resist fielding that line up next year.
The other shaker is possibly Daniel Riccardo, the man whos been running in FP1 for Torro Rosso this year and could find himself promoted with a strong showing from the Aussie driver.
Let me know about your thoughts about the 2012 driver line-up.