With only a third of the current Formula 1 season left (six races) inevitably all thoughts in the F1 paddock and in the F1 fanbase turn to 2008.
While the fans can only speculate on who will be going where and getting paid ridiculous sums of money for the priviledge, behind the scenes clandestine meetings will be going on up and down the paddock with team bosses trying to woo the top drivers to their camp.
Less fortunate drivers will be touting themselves around just about every available garage, no doubt clinging desperately to the hope someone somewhere will have more money than sense and save them from getting booted out the back door of the sport. Isn’t that so Ralfie-boy?
This year much of the speculation centres around the top two teams Ferrari and McLaren, despite all four incumbants (Lewis, Nando, Felipe and the Kimster) already being signed to their teams with multi-year contracts.
According to the rumour mill at least one or more of the McLaren drivers might be leaving the team at the end of a season, apparently flouncing off in a huff at not being treated quite like royalty as they had expected. And the other one could be going elsewhere if Ferrari have their wicked way in the Court of Appeal and manage to get their arch-rivals banned from the sport.
Here at FFN we are wondering what the deuce will happen if McLaren do get banned for next season…
Will the Pro-Drive team who are rumoured to be utilising a McLaren customer car next year be forced to resort to rollerskates instead? Who the devil will Ferrari be able to accuse of espionage when their season campaign falters? and more importantly if the smug slaphead goes, just who the devil am I going to pick on next season?
Before I go off completely at a tangent, we were pondering the possible moves in F1….
According to the most recent media reports Nando-chops could be eyeing a return to his former team Renault, the team have made no secret of their desire to have him return to the fold. Presumably this would mean either Fissy-“Four Letters”-fella or Grass Verge Mower Kovaleinen getting their marching orders. At least there would be someone available to hold Flav’s hand and indulge in joint hissy-fits week in, week out.
But BMW-Sauber have also been linked with the Double World Champion, with current incumbant wookie Nick Heidfeld apparently quite open to partnering up with the Double World Champion. We can only presume Nick is quite enthused about the idea that having a pantomime queen aboard the team would detract alot of unwelcome press attention away from his curious facial fungus and sparkling personality.
It is also rumoured today that Williams driver Nico Rosberg (the flaxen locked one with the opinionated old man) could be lined up to replace Nando-chops at McLaren, although it was also rumoured that Nico could possibly go to Ferrari earlier on in the season as well.
Now Maths hasn’t always been a strong point here at FFN, but we do feel that Ferrari might end up having to build double-seated race cars next year with the amount of potential drivers they could be employing. Thus far we have the Kimster, Felipe, Nico and Lewis Hamilton all reportedly driving for the Scuderia next season.
Apparently we can categorically rule out Nando’s chances of coming to the Maranello Squad on account he annoyed the hell out of Jean Todt a few years ago. If there is any truth in the tales emitting in the paddock, Nando was about to sign on the dotted line with Ferrari only to abscond off with Renault at the last minute.
It would seem Ferrari have enough trouble keeping its current employees on the straight and narrow (Kimi and his Vodka), (Felipe and his penchant for live TV arguments), and (Nigel Steppers dishing out secret dossiers left, right and centre). The thought of throwing a histrionic, unpredictable and opinionated spaniard into the mix would probably be enough to have Luca Di Montezemolo pulling his hair out and getting carted off to the local loony bin.
Meanwhile, Scuderia Torro Rosso this week have announced their driver line up for the 2008 season. With Champ Car ace Sebastien Bourdais lining up in his first ever F1 drive to partner little German Sebastien Vettel.
Presumably the STR team is going a bit to extremes, with the oldest rookie and a schoolkid who can’t see over the steering wheel without sitting on a cushion or three. Should be interesting, not least for the poor STR pitwall. “Sebastien you need to come into refuel” shortly followed by “No not you! the other one!”. Oh dear we can just see it now STR’s queuing McLaren-Hungaroring style in the pitlane each weekend.
It comes as no great surprise that Italian Tonio Liuzzi has been ditched by the team, especially considering all the extremely supportive messages that have been emitting from the STR management team in the last year concerning himself and Scott Speed. Scott Speed has now confirmed he is looking at returning to the US and driving in a series there, and hopefully for someone that’s not going to slap him about quite so much.
Tonio however is still hopeful of staying in F1 and is talking to two teams about a drive next year (not McLaren and Ferrari is it?) who apparently hold him in higher esteem than his previous employer. Here at FFN we are wondering if it’s the FIA that are interested in his services, due to the amount of times the Italian has induced the safety car into action in the past.
Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher who currently drives for Toyota is also reportedly involved in talks with four teams about his future in the sport, including Toyota, Honda, Red Bull and some other poor misguided souls (ok I’m having a senior moment and can’t remember). We had no idea there was such a demand for drivers who excel at spending most of their career languishing toward the back end of the grid and getting paid more than anyone else for it.
Then there is young Jense Button…who is reportedly threatening to leave F1 unless Honda can learn to distinguish their bottoms from their elbows….who in all honesty would be queuing up to take his place?
We could sit here all day speculating and ruminating, but in all honesty here at FFN we haven’t got the first darned clue what is going on, who is going where and how much they’ll be getting paid.
Instead of worrying about it we are just going to settle down and wait for it all to sort itself out. In the meanwhile we will be indulging in a cup of hot chocolate and a spot of reading of the latest F1 book to hit the shops, yup the Lewis Hamilton Biography…which apparently details who wins this years world championship…..obviously they have been consulting with F1 resident psychic Mark Webber. I just hope the foreword isn’t penned by Ron Dennis or you may never hear from me again!