Lewis Hamilton is entering his second season with Mercedes
Longevity and loyalty in the sport of Formula One are rare things these days when it used to be the norm.
Having been released by Ferrari for the 2014 season, Felipe Massa ended a spell of eight years with the Scuderia in Brazil and Lewis Hamilton spent six seasons with McLaren before moving to Mercedes for 2013.
But nobody else on the current grid has been with a team for longer than five seasons with Sebastian Vettel currently the most loyal driver. Jenson Button may only have a couple of years left in the sport and both Vettel and Fernando Alonso have been tipped to swap places in the next couple of years.
Predicting the driver transfer market is almost as tough as predicting who will take charge of Tottenham Hotspur next, but here are five drivers who are most likely to stay with their teams the longest from the start of the 2014 season and onward.
Although Fernando Alonso has currently been with Ferrari for four years, the clocks have now been reset.
Vettel is unlikely to tire of winning titles for Red Bull.
Mark Webber told Sky Sports that he expects Fernando Alonso to join Red Bull in 2016. If that happened, would Vettel want to stay put?
There have been rumours before linking Vettel to a future Ferrari move but if Red Bull continues to produce championship winning cars under the brilliance of Adrian Newey, would there be any reason for him to move on?
The only possible reason would be to prove himself with another team and in the most famous marque of all—but for the time being his sights are firmly set on adding to his four championship titles with his childhood hero Michael Schumacher’s tally of seven firmly in his sights.
Magnussen has youth and team faith on his side.
McLaren raised eyebrows before this year’s U.S. Grand Prix when the team announced it would be replacing Sergio Perez with an unknown Kevin Magnussen.
But as with Lewis Hamilton before him, the Woking team has massive faith in the Danish youngster who has been a part of the young driver development programme.
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh told The Independent that he has extremely high hopes.
We did it with Lewis, but how many times in your career does that happen, because we could have had egg on our face. The one thing I'll say - and I hesitate to say this thinking about it, but I'll say it - it was easier for Lewis because we pounded him with testing in a way you can't any more. So there's a risk, but we wouldn't be doing it unless we didn't think it would work out.
I spy a long career at Mercedes...
When Nico Rosberg joined the new Mercedes from Williams back in 2010, the move surprised nobody.
A Mercedes team with two German drivers to kick off a new era for the famous marque seemed the logical choice and Rosberg was quick to impress—consistently outdriving illustrious teammate Michael Schumacher in all three seasons they were together.
Rosberg endured a tougher challenge from his good friend Lewis Hamilton but the pair seem closely matched. It’s a partnership that looks set for the long haul and one of the best pairings on the grid. Why change a winning formula?
Hamilton has settled quickly into life at Mercedes.
Lewis Hamilton spent six seasons with McLaren but it was still something of a surprise when he left the team that nurtured him from childhood to join Mercedes.
It was seen as a huge risk and many criticised Hamilton’s decision. With McLaren floundering in 2013 and Hamilton securing five podiums including a maiden win for his new team in Hungary, his decision seems vindicated.
Hamilton has only been at Mercedes for one season and many more look set to follow for a team that has all the resources to make him a champion again.
Ricciardo looks set for the long haul.
Red Bull are well known for investing heavily in their young driver programme. Sebastian Vettel made the step up from sister team Toro Rosso, and in promoting Daniel Ricciardo as Vettel’s teammate for 2014, they are continuing that tradition.
Some see the move as a stabilising one after the public spats between Vettel and Mark Webber but Ricciardo seems a choice for the long term and not just a quick fix, as team boss Christian Horner made clear to Sky Sports shortly after the announcement.
There were some options that we hadn't considered previously, but we came to the conclusion collectively that Daniel is the right man for both the medium- and long-term. He's a very exciting prospect for the future. What gave Daniel the edge over the other candidates is his potential. He has all the attributes that are required.