They don’t call it the silly season for nothing ! With months to go yet, the combination of changes to drivers, teams, and regulations, makes this more silly than most. Let’s start with the teams. The big news is that Brawn has been purchased by Mercedes creating a return to factory racing after a 50-year absence. Will they exhume the silver arrows’ name? Williams took on a minority stakeholder but insists that it changes nothing. The new teams are USF1, Campos, Manor, and Lotus. I hope Lotus brings its traditional livery back to F1 and pulls a Brawn in 2010. BMW may be back if it can be granted a grid slot. As for departures, Toyota joins Honda in leaving the sport after arguably the most expensive cost-per-F1-win in history. To me this emphasizes the point that F1 needs to find a way to make it more affordable to enter and become competitive, but that’s another discussion.
Now for the drivers. The all-brit team of Button and Hamilton are at British McLaren, and you have to wonder how well the two world champions will get along. History is not in their favor. German Mercedes is rumored to be seeking an all-german team with Rosberg, and player-yet-to-be-named (Schumacher anyone?). Ferrari has Alonso and Massa, and for once is not the drama center of F1 news! Williams has Barichello and Hulkenberg in what promises to be a development year. Renault has Kubica and a player yet to be named as of this writing. Red Bull is perhaps the only team to stay as-is with Vettel and Webber, while Torro Rosso has Buemi and Alguersuari. Force India has no drivers named at this point. The historic Senna name returns with Bruno Senna driving for Campos.
Now for other factors. Refueling is banned, but tire changes will still be required. KERS is gone. Jean Todt is now F1 president. Canada returns for 2010 (yes !!) and Korea will make its debut. All in all, a very silly scenario…..