Well in this period of enforced boredom I may as well do the only sensible thing left and kick off the silly season. The magic roundabout of who goes where is starting to get in full swing (behind closed doors) so why not make up some stuff about it and see what sticks?
Quite seriously I think the end of this season could herald another massive change in driver line ups. So much will depend on how everyone’s season goes that it’s probably a bit early to start guessing – but here goes.
Prodrive, the introduction of a new team means guaranteed new drivers in the field but will the new drivers be here or in another team? Don’t be suprised to see 2MB driver (and current McLaren test driver) Gary Paffett at the team. That McLaren chasis doesn’t come cheap. And it might even mean Pedro de la Rosa as well but I think that’s less likely. Old Dave Richards will want to pick at least one of his own but will want to play it reasonably safe. He probably wants somebody he’s worked with before. Somebody who is currently under valued (or at least think they are). How about Jenson Button. He hired him before after all. And Jenson must be desperate for a chance to prove he can be as good as Hamilton given the same machinery.
Jenson must be seriously looking around but who would take him. I’ve seen Red Bull suggested but I think Coulthard will get another year. It would be really mean for him to get a Newey transition car put all the work in and never get to drive the finished product. But this is Formula One I guess.
But still David doesn’t look the oldest. Toyota look the oldest. I think both might make a graceful exit from Formula One to allow new talent in. But who to replace them?
How about Rubens. He also sounds like he’s really stopped enjoying it. I thought he would do a Coulthard and mellow a bit but if anything he’s got more frustrated. So I think he’ll probably go.
What about Speed and Liuzzi they have both under delivered so far and we haven’t yet seen the dramatic improvement, that we were promised.
And what of Fisi? He seems to be doing better that Heikki so far but can that last? Renault may want to pay big bucks to secure somebody decent but who would they hire. But certainly Fisi looks like the past rather than the future.
So that might mean seven new drivers in Formula One next year. Nine if you think David and Fisi are going. And the thing is that in itself probably means that at least some of this won’t happen. Some of these drivers will cut their pay to stay in Formula One and find themselves at a lesser team. But the more old grandees at the back the less decent places there are. They can’t all drive for the two Red Bull teams.
But I think the uncertainty will at the very least create a large game of musical chairs. The main pressure points are Jenson at Honda and three drivers into two spaces at BMW. We should not be suprised to find, when the music stops, some big names missing from next year.
But who do you think will be shoved asside, and for those of you who follow GP2, who do you think might take their place?