August 17, 2005

Hot Laps about F1

HOT LAPS... where we take a few runs around my brain.

Well, it's official: BAR-Honda has Rubens Barrichello inked for 2006 and 2007. Ant Davidson is probably wondering what he has to do to get a ride in this business. Takuma Sato is probably thinking that driving with Minardi would be pretty good next year (no, no rumors... considering that he's probably out of a job with BAR after this year).

Williams confirmed that they'll be using Cosworth engines next year, almost certainly as a temporary measure intil Toyota can handle supplying another team in 2007.

Speaking of BAR and Williams, reports that BAR has some sort of option with Nick Heidfeld where he could, in theory, wind up driving for them if Williams decides they don't want him anymore. That probably won't happen anytime soon, but it's just more grist for the rumor mill.

I'll admit that I'm a little surprised that BMW hasn't announced at least ONE driver for next year yet. Maybe it's unrealistic to think that, but they're a major manufacturer, about to pour gobs of money into their team, and a huge splash seems like a logical thing to me. In that same article, they report that Heidfeld very well may NOT be driving for BMW, as he apparantly views it as a step DOWN from Williams.

I can see that, sure, but at the same time I have to ask: IS HE FRICKIN' NUTS? I mean, c'mon! German company, German driver, NEW TEAM... it's not a step down if he's got ANY talent at all. Mitchell Schumacher will always be the #1 driver for Germany (and rightly so), but he could be a national hero if the team does mildly well.

I was thinking a few days ago, what manufacturer would I like to see in F1? After rejecting a Volkswagen as being too much too easy to make fun of (would the car have a bud vase on the dashboard? Would they figure out some way to put the engine in the front of the car? Would it stall whenever it rained?), and Lexus (Toyota already runs in the series), it came down to two US companies and two European companies.

I'd love to see Panoz take a shot at F1. They already run ChampCar, so they've got high-end racing experience, and amongst gearheads in the US, they've got that 'whoo!' factor that'd make for a built-in fanbase.

Ford is the other US company that I'd like to see get into F1. Certainly they've got a foot in the door with Cosworth already; why not pull the trigger and get their own team? Think that'd draw US fans to the sport? Maybe pull a NASCAR driver or two to sit in the cockpit? (Official First Reader Mallory and I have discussed this at length in the past... I think we decided that Jeff Gordon would be a good fit, and Junior would, um, certainly make an impression on the sport).

Why in the world isn't Porsche in F1, anyway? They've been in F1 before, as an engine manufacturer (TAG in the 80s, March in the 90s, and disasterously, Footwork most recently). It's high time they became a full-fledged competitor.

Finally, the company I'd most love to see in F1: Zil, the Russian automotive 'giant.' Just because. Besides, it'd be fun to see cars that looked like they were from the '80s racing again today...

This has been HOT LAPS!!! Now you know what I live with every day...

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