The hype of drivers on the market for the 2016 F1 season is in full effect as the tail end of the 2015 season is approaching. With Lotus confirming Pastor Maldonado and Mclaren confirming Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso for next season, it takes away much of the drama as Mclaren's future has been in question for some years now. However, the drama still continues with a new team joining the grid next season, American outfit Haas F1 will begin their inaugural season. This morning they confirmed Romain Grosjean as the pilot of their Ferrari powered car for next season. Since Grosjean's dismal 2012 season, the young Frenchman has grown to become a highly attractive prospect in the paddock. Scoring 10 podiums in 78 grand prix's started, Grosjean has been consistent and showed that he can hold his own amongst the Champions on the grid today. If provided with a good car and power unit in the coming seasons, he could quite possibly be a future Formula 1 World Champion. In terms of the state of the F1 driver market for 2016, here's what we know so far.
Sahara Force India
-TBA (Daniil Kvyat not confirmed yet)
-TBA (Carlos Sainz not confirmed yet)
With the line-ups the way they are above, that leaves potentially six spots available on the grid. Starting with Red Bull, their future is unsure. Red Bull have threatened to leave the grid next year, so while Ricciardo is confirmed for next year it may not be with the Red Bull-Renault partnership we've known so well over the past years. Along side him his young Russian Daniil Kvyat, who has faced a lot of bad luck this year. When the planets have aligned for him this year, he has shown great performances. Therefore it is likely he will be signed for another year. But don't discount Carlos Sainz or even Max Verstappen to take his spot in the future. It is likely that Carlos Sainz will be resigned for 2016 after his impressive rookie season so far. Toro Rosso have many prospects in the series under F1, however, none of them look to be ready to perform in F1. Keep an eye out for GP2 star Pierre Gasly to potentially get a Toro Rosso drive in the next few years.
Moving to Lotus, Maldonado has already been confirmed, a move that many people are upset with because his form has been well below average in the last few seasons. It is likely that Lotus could give 2014 GP2 Champion Jolyon Palmer a drive for 2016, however, don't forget about Mclaren's Kevin Magnussen as a possible candidate after his convincing 2014 season in the MP4-29.
Manor have many options for 2016, and now with Mercedes showing interest in supplying them with engines, they might also want to supply Manor with a driver or drivers. Mercedes prospects Pascal Wehrlein has shown his potential in DTM and as a F1 test driver for the work team. Seeing him on the grid for Manor would surely be fun to watch. 2014 F3 Champion Esteban Ocon also is eying his chance to get an F1 race seat, Manor would be his best option for now. Other prospects for Manor are American Alexander Rossi, who has shown great form in his first two races for Manor in Singapore and Japan as well in the GP2 series where he sits in second in the championship. Finally, Will Stevens and Roberto Mehri are in the fight for a Manor race seat after their performance in 2015. Mehri is the most unlikely to be driving for Manor in 2016 and focus on his Formula Renault 3.5 successes.
After rumors and much hype formed around the Haas line-up for 2016, finally Romain Grosjean was confirmed today with the American team. However, the other driver is still undecided and is up for grabs. With Hulkenberg, Rossi, and even Ricciardo and Bottas rumored to make the move to Haas, none of them have been chosen for the drive. The spot alongside Grosjean for 2016 is completely up for grabs and wide open to many possibilities. Former Toro Rosso driver Jean Eric Vergne and former Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez have the best chances for the drive because of their connection to the Ferrari Driver Academy. For now, all we can do is wait to hear more from the American team about their second driver.