November 11, 2009

F1 News Nuggets

Now that the racing part of the F1 year has ended, it's time for the other part: the Silly Season!  To be honest, the Silly Season got started a little early this year when HWMNBN signed with Ferrari and Robert Kubica went to Renault.  Now, however, there's a whole slew of seats to be filled with names, and the speculation, contract squabbles, and actual signings are flying fast and furious throughout the Circus.

A little over a week ago, Williams named both their drivers for the 2010 season.  The first was a blessing for F1U!, as he has the greatest name ever: Nico Hulkenberg.  I mean, come on, that right there is just begging for nicknames, Marvel-related jokes, and Bruce Banner parodies, and you may expect a lot of them next year.  The other driver wore out his welcome with his 2009 team, and in the process damaged his reputation with a lot of fans.  Still, there's no denying that he'll go down in history as F1's greatest wingman: Rubens Barrichello.  The amazing thing is that sometime during the 2010 season, barring incident, Rubens'll reach the 300-race mark.  Truly a phenomenal statistic in this sport where 30 is considered old, and racing at 40 is unheard of these days.  He'll be 37 when the season starts, and is the last active driver to have raced against the late Ayrton Senna.  And speaking of Senna...

Campos Meta, one of the new teams on the grid for 2010, named the nephew of Ayrton, Bruno Senna, to be one of their drivers.  Uncle Ayrton said in 1993, "If you think I'm good, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno."  To date, Bruno is best known for having had a run-in with a dog during a GP2 race in Turkey, but it's undeniable that he's got a whole bucketload of talent.

Kimi Raikkonen and Jenson Button, the 2007 and 2009 Driver's Champions respectively, still have yet to sign with any team.  Rumors were that Kimi was going to McLaren, but it appears that the team isn't willing to pay the type of cash it'd take to sign him.  In response, Kimi has said that he wants to drive in F1, but only for the right team (read: McLaren).  If that doesn't happen, he'll be happy to take the $30million buyout that Ferrari gave him and go rallying.  Button, on the other hand, is also asking for some serious coin.  When it came out that he actually paid his own airfare to the various grands prix this year, one can't help but wonder why BrawnGP isn't coughing up the moolah.

Of course, that might be because Brawn will be losing Virgin as their primary sponsor in 2010.  Instead, it seems that they'll be buying into F1 as a full-fledged team, not just as a sponsor.  The Manor Motorsports entry is the one being rumored as the most likely to be purchased by Richard Branson's conglomerate.  If it happens, expect a few "Virgin Virgin" jokes.  On Brawn's part, expect to see Mercedes (or one of their subsidiaries) buy into the team, perhaps as much as a 75% stake.

The European media is proclaiming that USF1, the new American team on the grid, has no chance in hell of actually taking the lights at the start of the 2010 season.  This is because of comments that Ross Brawn made to a German paper, expressing surprise that the Charlotte, NC-based team hasn't begun crash-testing their car yet.  Peter (ex-Smarmy) Windsor, team sporting director, responded by saying that parts of the chassis have indeed been crash-tested.  He also pointed out that FIA inspectors had visited their facility and were quite pleased with the set-up.  According to earlier reports, USF1 is expecting to have their first chassis on the asphalt by the end of November.

Finally, got a few million dollars lying around?  Michael Schumacher's 1994 Benneton-Ford B194 from that year's final race, the Australian Grand Prix at Adelaide, is up for auction on eBay Germany.  It's been refurbished, so that little ding it got when Schumi nerfed Damon Hill, then went for a little flight, has been buffed out.  You'll hardly notice.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:30 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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I assume it's not the case that every seat has been filled? It would really be strange for Button to not have a ride the year after he won the driver's championship. But far from impossible if he's misjudged his own market value.

I wonder if McLaren will buy him?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at November 12, 2009 12:21 AM (+rSRq)

2 He's been rumored to be going to McLaren, true.  And, indeed, not every seat has been filled.  In fact, as near as I can tell, only Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams have announced their driver lineup for 2010.  McLaren, Campos, Renault and Force India have one driver each (Hamilton, Senna, Kubica and Sutil, respectively).

So that's 10 out of 26 seats filled... this seems rather sparse to me, in comparison to past years.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 12, 2009 12:27 AM (4Mcos)

3 Oh, and for the record, Sebastian Buemi says that he's signed with Toro Rosso, but the team hasn't actually said it yet.  For the purposes of this website, I don't consider it official until the team announces it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 12, 2009 12:46 AM (4Mcos)


Yes, indeed!  Nico Hulkenberg is an awesome name.  Don't forget the Hulk Hogan comparisons, too.  ;-)

Can't wait to see who gets the other available seats. 

Posted by: Mallory at November 14, 2009 10:15 AM (WJ2qy)

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