F1 updates

It’s been a few weeks since my last Formula One post, so it’s time for another round-up of news and gossip:

  • Michael Schumacher’s rumoured return to F1
    The BBC reported that Brawn Mercedes GP were courting MS, despite Schumacher’s spokeswoman Sabine Kehm telling BBC Sport a return was “highly unlikely – but never say never”.

    Meanwhile Autosport say “Haug refuses to rule out Schumacher” and yet none of the Mercedes GP people they quote actually don’t really say anything one way or the other.

    Mercedes GP did, however, confirm that Nico Rosberg will drive for them in 2010. [BBC]

  • In time-honoured tradition, Bernie threatened to drop the British Grand Prix [TimesOnline] but fortunately Silverstone managed to secure a 17-year deal to host it [BBC]. As for whether a contract will prevent the poison dwarf blackmailing Silverstone, we’ll have to wait and see. (My money’s on no.)

    There was an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting yesterday so hopefully they will update the 2010 calendar [FIA]; it currently lists:

    1. 14-Mar-2010 – Grand Prix of Bahrain
    2. 28-Mar-2010 Grand Prix of Australia
    3. 04-Apr-2010 Grand Prix of Malaysia
    4. 18-Apr-2010 Grand Prix of China
    5. 09-May-2010 Grand Prix of Spain
    6. 16-May-2010 Grand Prix of Monaco
    7. 30-May-2010 Grand Prix of Turkey
    8. 13-Jun-2010 Grand Prix of Canada*
    9. 27-Jun-2010 Grand Prix of Europe
    10. 11-Jul-2010 Grand Prix of Great Britain**
    11. 25-Jul-2010 Grand Prix of Germany
    12. 01-Aug-2010 Grand Prix of Hungary
    13. 29-Aug-2010 Grand Prix of Belgium
    14. 12-Sep-2010 Grand Prix of Italy
    15. 26-Sep-2010 Grand Prix of Singapore
    16. 03-Oct-2010 Grand Prix of Japan
    17. 17-Oct-2010 Grand Prix of Korea***
    18. 31-Oct-2010 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi
    19. 14-Nov-2010 Grand Prix of Brazil

    * Canada was listed as provisional in October, pending the completion of a contract with F1 Management (FOM). The race organisers say this has now been agreed.
    ** as noted above, Silverstone have now signed a long-term deal to host the British GP
    *** subject to homologation of circuit

  • Williams F1 announced a new shareholder: Christian Wolff is an Austrian venture capitalist with some first-hand racing experience.

    BBC reports “German car manufacturer BMW has provisionally agreed to sell its BMW Sauber Formula 1 team back to team founder Peter Sauber.” Mind you, BMW Sauber aren’t listed as a Constructor for 2010 so they may be sitting out next season.

  • Talking of the entries for the 2010 season, BBC Sport have a partial list of drivers for next year:
    • McLaren – Jenson Button (GB), Lewis Hamilton (GB)
    • Mercedes – Nico Rosberg (Germany), TBC
    • Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Mark Webber (Australia)
    • Ferrari – Felipe Massa (Brazil), Fernando Alonso (Spain)
    • Williams – Rubens Barrichello (Brazil), Nico Hulkenberg (Germany)
    • Renault * – Robert Kubica (Poland), TBC
    • Force India – Adrian Sutil (Germany), Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy)
    • Toro Rosso – Sebastien Buemi (Switzerland), Jaime Alguersuari (Spain)**
    • Manor / Virgin – Timo Glock (Germany), TBC
    • Campos Meta – Bruno Senna (Brazil), TBC
    • US F1 – TBC, TBC
    • Lotus F1 – TBC, TBC
    • Sauber – TBC, TBC

    Key: TBC = to be confirmed
    * = Renault have said they will announce whether they will participate in F1 in 2010 by the end of the year
    ** = Alguesuari has not been confirmed, but is almost certain to race for Toro Rosso again

    As for the rumours, it looks like Jacques Villeneuve may join Lotus, Luca di Grassi may drive for Manor/Virgin, and A1GP champ Adam Carroll is apparently talking to one of the new teams.

    There are a lot of 2009 drivers still without confirmed seats: Sebastien Bourdais, Giancarlo Fisichella, Romain Grosjean, Nick Heidfeld, Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen, Kazuki Nakajima, Nelsinho Piquet, Kimi Räikkönen (signed with Citroen’s World Rally Championship junior team for 2010) & Jarno Trulli.

  • Are Renault going to sell out to Prodrive? [The Guardian] Renault said they’d make their decision (re: 2010 season) by the end of this year, so we should know in the next couple of weeks.
  • The Times‘ pick for F1 Quote of the Year:

    Bernie Ecclestone for his comments published in The Times when he said Adolf Hitler was a man who could “get things done”. It caused uproar and led to Sir Martin Sorrell, a board member of CVC Capital Partners, the owner of Formula One, questioning Ecclestone’s fitness to continue running the sport.

  • Murray Walker was also an award winner, as the greatest commentator of all time! [Motorsport Magazine] He wasn’t always accurate but he was always entertaining and clearly a huge fan.
  • I’ll finish off this monster post with some good news: “Former Formula 1 drivers are to become part of the group of stewards who will adjudicate at each grand prix”. [BBC] It’s about time the sport was “policed” by people who have actually got some race experience!