What F1’s 2012 departures are up to now

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Some of the recent discussion in the Formula 1 world has been the last-minute driver shifting at Force India and Marussia, respectively. Yet while all the rookies and returnees have been named (there are five rookies and the returning Adrian Sutil), here’s a look at the 2013 prospects for those gone from the 2012 grid.

STILL RACING ELSEWHERE

Bruno Senna: The Brazilian’s competitive drive to want to win races, rather than sit sidelined, has seen a shift back to sports cars after his three-year F1 career, most recently with Williams. Senna competed in an LMP1 class ORECA prototype in 2009, and made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut. This year, he’ll be running the full FIA World Endurance Championship season in a GT class Aston Martin Vantage.

Timo Glock (right): The German’s departure from Marussia triggered the final seat shifting, first to Luiz Razia and now to Jules Bianchi. After a career spent in single-seaters since 2003, Glock moves to tin tops in the DTM, with BMW. Glock was a BMW Sauber F1 test driver at the same time as Sebastian Vettel, and lost out to Vettel in a one-off outing to replace the injured Robert Kubica at Indianapolis in 2007.

COULD STILL RACE

Kamui Kobayashi: F1’s “Mr. Excitement” for Sauber the last few years has tested a Ferrari F458 Italia for the Italian AF Corse team in the WEC, but the team has not made its driver lineup public. Countryman Kazuki Nakajima, also ex-F1, races in the WEC for the Toyota factory prototype team.

Pedro de la Rosa: It’s a long shot he’ll race in F1 once again, but the option is there as the 42-year-old has a new deal as a test driver for Ferrari. Then again, the Spaniard’s career has spanned parts of nine seasons, in three different stints (1999-2002, ’05-’06, ’10-’12), so there’s always a chance.

Narain Karthikeyan: Like his 2012 HRT teammate, Karthikeyan may turn up again and it could be in IndyCar. Karthikeyan has been linked by multiple media outlets to Dale Coyne’s vacant second seat, a seat that is notoriously late to get filled.

UNLIKELY TO RACE

Heikki Kovalainen, Vitaly Petrov, Jerome D’Ambrosio: The 2012 Caterham pair have only been linked to F1 seats and neither raised enough for them to be viable candidates. D’Ambrosio lost the lead Lotus reserve role to 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, who has already tested after Kimi Raikkonen’s food poisoning.

Michael Schumacher: F1’s most statistically successful driver may not be in a competitive championship this year but has already made an appearance in karting. Wherever he shows up this year, the news cycle will follow.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”