Ahead of 2007 Hungarian GP Toro Rosso sent Scott Speed packing and Sebastian Vettel took his place. Before that Christijan Albers’ sponsors stopped paying up and so Spyker signed up Marcus Winkelhock for European Grand Prix, then replacing him with Sakon Yamamoto for the rest of the season. During the Chinese GP weekend Alex Wurz announced that was going to be his last F1 race and Kazuki Nakajima took his seat in Brazil.
Now more than half of the 2008 season is over, even July, the month when F1 pilots do get fired is almost gone and all drivers seem to be sitting safely in their race seats. The early season “hottest” candidates for sack – Sutil and Piquet – apparently saved themselves with good runs in Monaco (Sutil) and podium in Germany (Piquet). Massa was never seriously under any threat, Heidfeld is now raking up podiums and no other driver, except Coulthard perhaps, has been mentioned as under threat. David Coulthard has in the meantime announced he is going to retire and that he will do after the season ends. All the other “old” drivers – Barrichello, Fisichella and Trulli – are keen to continue racing in Formula 1 beyond 2008. The disapearance (at least for now) of pay drivers reduces or even eliminates the chances of drivers being dismissed for financial reasons.
Will we have an entire season without a single driver change ? When was the last time this has happened ?
Photo: Red Bull/GEPA