Not-so-silly season

I love the silly season between the end of one year’s racing and the beginning of the next. Who’s going where, which drivers are changing teams, how that impacts on other free seats… there’s just something about the intrigue that gets me. It’s like the US presidential race, but actually interesting.

But sadly, this year’s silly season is a bit of a washout, as nearly all the teams have confirmed their drivers for next year. The only change is Sebastian Vettel’s move from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, and that’s pretty dull, really.

So it’s Lewis and Heikki at McLaren, Kimi and Felipe at Ferrari, Bob and Nick at BMW… and so on.

Which means the only piece of intrigue we’re left with is where Fernando Alonso will go for 2009.

Honda have been openly chasing him, and that’s why they’ve not re-signed either Jenson Button or Rubens Barrichello. But if Alonso did find himself in a Honda, which one would he replace?

Rubens seems like the most obvious choice, but would Jenson be happy following (er, partnering) the two-time world champ Alonso, or would he strop off?

If he did leave in a huff, his only option would be to go to STR or do a straight swap into one of the vacant Renault seats.

But likely as not, Fernando will stay where he is – Renault have at least got championship-winning form, whereas Honda do not – and so Button will get to stay put, clinging onto the power of dreams.

So the only places we have to discuss is who will be at STR, who will replace Rubens, and who’s going to partner Alonso. Because let’s face it, it’s not going to be Nelson Piquet Jnr…

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I think massa will win the tittle this year …. hamilton sucks …… piquet jr. is not a good driver he always crash .. senna would be the indicated to replace for piquet jr.

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It’s not all about the drivers, and with significant changes to aerodynamics and power plants/storage next year, that could make bigger changes that would a few driver changes. Some drivers will adapt better to the new configurations, and some drivers/teams will be more effective at development.

Already this year we’ve seen how one season’s car can suit one driver more than another – I’m thinking Heidfeld and perhaps Kimi. And Schumacher’s car was always the way HE liked it!

Some drivers will manage different downforce levels better – who was the guy who filled in for Schumacher years ago at Ferrari and blitzed 2 low-downforce circuits (Monza & old Hockenheim) and did nothing much at other tracks?

Development will be more important for 2009 than in recent years, and McLaren could be vulnerable here with relatively new drivers. Combinations like Trulli+Glock and Webber+Vettel could go well – a young charger combined with experienced development (and I’m guessing Vettel has benefited even this year from Coulthard & Webber development experience with basically the same car).

So there might not be many driver changes, but there could be a lot of changes in who looks good and who looks like they’re on holiday.

PS – I tip Honda to have THE best KERS system, followed by Toyota. If becomes tactically significant in races, maybe Honda wouldn’t be such a bad place for Alonso to be??

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I hope we see Senna at STR and Grosjean in a Renault.

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I agree with anonymous that “young charger combined with experienced development ” is the way to go for 2009. Renault are best placed here, with Alonso and another young driver (Rosberg maybe?)

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