Silly season

This weekend it’s a motorsport special on this blog. No particular occasion, just the fact that I’ve got loads to write about it at the moment. So if you’re not into it, sorry.

The Hungarian Grand Prix tends to be the part of the Formula 1 season where the “silly season” — when everybody speculates over contracts and who’ll do what next year — reaches its height. Everybody call it the ‘silly season’ apart from Jenson Button, who calls it the ‘I’m silly season’.

Like last year, there’s been remarkably little of that. Apart from Jenson Button of course. How on earth did he manage to get himself in contract wranglings again? Of course Button now wants to stay at BAR. That’s what everybody said was the best option last year. But he ended up signing a contract to drive for Williams in 2006. Now he’s decided he doesn’t want that because Williams are crap, and everybody knows it. The fact that they lost BMW as an engine partner was just the icing on the cake. Button says he respects Frank Williams. He respects him so much that he will sign a contract and then try to wriggle out of it. For the second time.

I’m kind of surprised that Frank Williams has ended up in an argument over a driver. Williams hasn’t ever exactly been the natural home of driving talent. In the past decade they’ve had mediocre driver after mediocre driver. In fact, I’ll list them all, and see if you can avoid laughing. Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve (hahaha), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (for crying out loud), Alex Zanardi, Ralf Schumacher (ahahahah) and Juan Pablo Montoya. This year’s drivers aren’t exactly World Championship material either.

I think it’s fair to say that Hill and Villeneuve only won the World Championship because they were in the best car. The car is so central that Frank Williams managed to sack both Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill after they had won the World Championship. And Williams still won the following championships!

Anyway, on the basis of absolutely nothing, and because everybody else is privately having a go in their heads, here are my predictions of who’ll be driving for whom in 2006.

Renault

Fernando Alonso
Giancarlo Fisichella

McLaren Mercedes

Kimi Räikkönen
Juan Pablo Montoya

Ferrari

Michael Schumacher
Felipe Massa ?

Toyota

Jarno Trulli
Ralf Schumacher (outside bet: Ryan Briscoe)
(Third Driver if needed: Ricardo Zonta)

Williams Cosworth

Mark Webber
Jenson Button
(Third Driver if needed: Antonio Pizzonia)

Red Bull Ferrari

David Coulthard
Christian Klien
(Third Driver: Scott Speed)

BAR Honda

Anthony Davidson
Rubens Barrichello
(Third Driver: Adam Carroll)

BMW

Nick Heidfeld
Jacques Villeneuve — if he’s careful
(Third Driver: Nico Rosberg)

Midland Toyota

Minardi Cosworth

Whoever has the money.

Update: Rumours that Barrichello has signed for BAR have become stronger.

2 comments

  1. Looks like Renault vs McLaren again next season then. And I wonder if Button’s got a similar clause in his Williams contract to the 75% of points one with BAR? I suspect that there’ll be another seat available at Ferrari in 2007 when Schumacher retires – Raikonnen and Alonso will be prohibitively expensive for them and Button would probably be the next best for them given Fisichella’s advancing age and Webber’s decreasing speed.

    And I reckon Danica Patrick will get at least a test drive or a temporary race seat with Jordan or Minardi. Liuzzi will probably get a drive somewhere too.

  2. Yeah. I’m beginning to think that driver transfers are going to become less frequent. I was thinking where Liuzzi could go, but the fact that he is sponsored by Red Bull sort of gets in the way of it. They could pay for him to get a drive elsewhere, probably at Midland.

    All the teams seem to have their own programmes, or at least a nice backlog of test / third drivers to fall back on, particularly BAR. I think that’s what’s stopped Davidson from getting a proper race drive so far.