For all intents and purposes the F1 'Silly Season' never really ends anymore. Drivers' and their managers work year round securing the very valuable positions at the right team. For the top men it's easier. Less established drivers, at the lesser teams struggle to preserve a long term career in the sport they love.
With but two events remaining in the F1 2011 season these teams are said to be casting their eyes about the paddock looking for new, read, faster talent. Teams which are said to be entertaining the idea of new talent include; Toro Rosso, Williams, Lotus Renault, Hispania, Virgin (Marussia), and Sahara Force India. Let's take a quick look at each team...
Having 'graduated' Sebastian Vettel several years ago into the main Red Bull team, and thus having accomplished its mission of training young F1 drivers, this team, Toro Rosso has relentlessly competed two men against each other, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alquersuari. As in any battle, and yes it has been a battle, the latest results show the younger Spaniard, Alquersuari perhaps performing more strongly. With very impressive Red Bull apprentice programme driver Daniel Ricciardo also in the mix for the team, one of the men, Buemi, Alquersuari, or Ricciardo will suffer a major setback to his F1 career. Training youth for the parent team is what this team is about, and Alquersuari and Ricciardo are the two youngest of the three.
Williams were, of course, looking comfortable with the concept of 'stability' in their driver line-up, that is until one Kimi Raikkonen arrived at their factory door. If Raikkonen seriously wants the job, and if the team can cough up the necessary funds to employ the Finn, it appears to be the proverbial 'no brainer'. Williams' second driver Pastor Maldonado is said to bring loads of cash to the team, therefore long, long time fan favourite Rubens Barrichello could very well be looking to see where his experience will take him - and retirement look likely.
Lotus Renault GP has one seat up for grabs - or is it two? - with the still shocking rallying accident involving team leader Robert Kubica. Team manager Eric Boullier has been accommodating in his desire to see Kubica back for 2012. Unfortunately Robert's physical recovery, for both concerned, appears to be a more lengthy process, therefore this team as well is looking about for driving help. Men whom suspect themselves are currently circling like vultures to secure this prized seat.
Sahara Force India is the pride of the Indian people following the overflowing success of their first F1 race at Buddh International. Here, as at Toro Rosso, we face the scenario of three drivers and two seats. Acknowledged as team leader early in the season, Adrian Sutil has asked for a decision by management soon as to whether he will be kept on retainer for next season. With popular German Nico Hulkenberg, and new sensation Paul di Resta on hand as well, this is yet another team where a talented driver will be soon disappointed. For a driver applying pressure, publicly, to the ownership is never a good idea.
Hispania and Virgin (soon to be called Marussia), currently, at this stage in their development, require drivers with financial clout more than top rated talents behind the wheel. Wealthy men apply here...
by Crash.net viewer Mike Nichol