The 2007 season is over, at least the on track action, and after some short relatively quiet period, the rumour mill is picking up the speed again.
As it has been the case since pretty much the Hungarian GP, Fernando Alonso is in center of everything. The Ferrari connection is pretty much over for a time being at least. If he plans to race next year there seem to be only 3 options left for him – remain at McLaren, return to Renault or grab a seat at Toyota. The McLaren option seems to be out of a question but who knows. Pedro de la Rosa has been giving some hints that this is exactly what may happen in the end. But still there are not too many people that would bet on Alonso to stay put. (But there were not too many people whou would a week ago bet on Kimi to win the title.) The widely expected return to Renault has been downplayed by Alonso himself. When asked by Spanish radio station Cadena Ser whether Renault would be his first choice if he were to leave McLaren, he replied – “Right now I’d say no”. This may be also be the reason for some weird words from Flavio Briatore. Looking around the paddock the only decent (not a top) team with seats and money is Toyota. Why would he want to go to a team where everyone else failed ? Challenge to be the first one to succeed ? Why not, Michael Schumacher also went to Ferrari at the time the team was nowhere near the top…
August 11, 1991 – Hungarian Grand Prix
This day in 1991 the Hungarian Grand Prix was held. Those were the old days… Thirty four drivers took part, 26 of them qualified for the race. The race was won by Ayrton Senna, ahead of Nigel Mansell, Ricardo Patrese, Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi. Everybody else finished at least a lap down.
This weekend a year ago we saw the last of Jacques Villeneuve in Formula 1. The German Grand Prix in Hockenheim on July 30, 2006 was his last race. He crashed out and it did not take long for BMW Sauber to sack him. It did not as much of a surprise as BMW seemed to be looking for a way to get rid of him since the moment they took over Sauber operation. He was not the most loved guy on the grid but he was a world champion and he made his mark on F1. His F1 career is well documented, so all I do here is very brief recap.
The potential replacement for Christijan Albers was probably the most discussed race seat in past 2 weeks. Spyker took their time and then named Marcus Winkelhock as the replacement, but very likely for European GP only. There were several other names discussed, the top favourites being van der Garde (Dutch with money), Klien (available and with racing experience) and Karthikeyan (racing experience with money). Now more names were added, like Nelson Piquet Jr and Nico Hulkenberg, but both apparently rejected the chance to bury their future prospects in Spyker. All of a sudden out of nowhere Sakon Yamamoto appears as an alleged favourite for the seat.
The driver rumours do not end at Spyker though. Next come Toro Rosso, Renault, Williams, Toyota and even McLaren.
Without any doubt, Ralf Schumacher’s season is not good at all so far. He scored a single point but his team mate scored 4 already in pretty much the same car. While Trulli does qualify or races near the point scoring places most of the time, Ralf fights it at the back with Spykers. … So where did it all go wrong for Ralf? Or was it ever good? For sure it was before he joined F1. He finished 2nd in German Formula 3 Championship in 1995 and went on to win the Macau GP Formula 3 street race the same year. At that race he beat Pedro de la Rosa and Jarno Trulli. In 1996 he moved to Formula Nippon and won it, making his way to F1. Pretty impressive resume that deservedly brought him F1 drive.
The best way to see his F1 performances is to compare his with those of his team mates.
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