With nine races gone it is perhaps good time to look at the surprises and disapointments of the first half of the 2008 Formula 1 season. Here are my picks:
Kazuki Nakajima – It is probably fair to say that without Williams’ engine deal with Toyota it would be unlikely for Nakajima to get a race drive alongside Nico Rosberg for 2008 season. Before the start of this season Kazuki Nakajima had only one Grand Prix under his belt. Although he did not do too bad in Brazil last year most F1 fans will remember his race debut for running over his pit crew. The expectations were not too high and few people have expected Kazuki Nakajima to match the pace of his highly rated team mate Nico Rosberg. Well, if we still can consider Nakajima a rookie after racing one race last year, I would rate him as a rookie of the year, I may not be the only one. Although he has been outqualified 7 to 2 by Rosberg and is yet to make it to the podium, he scored points in four races (Rosberg only in 3) and his total after nine races is 8 points, same as his team mate. But it is not only about the points. He seems to be maturing too (if that can be said after only his 10th F1 race) as his drive in the tricky wet Silverstone may suggest.
As reported earlier the assets of now defunct Super Aguri F1 team will be sold in auction later this month. The items for sale are to include Formula 1 car, transporters and tractor units, vehicles, race & test equipment, plant & machinery and merchandise (including clothing, luggage and personal accessories).
It has also been reported that Adrian Campos may be interested in buying what’s left of Super Aguri. This follows the earlier rumours about Campos and Agag buying into Super Aguri while the team was still (barely) alive and kicking. Campos’ interest in Super Aguri bits and pieces renewed some speculations that he may be planning Formula 1 entry. But if that would be the case, why wait till the team disappears and not buy into it while all the structure is in place and team is part of Formula 1 ?
Yes, it is possible that the still useful assets like transporters and factory equipment may now be available for bargain prices. But the team is no longer in Formula 1, people are gone and with all the changes coming to effect from 2009 season the Super Aguri Formula 1 car has now become only a collector piece.
Will the Super Aguri auction kickstart a new Formula 1 team project ? Very very unlikely …
Photo: Super Aguri
It is obvious now that Adrian Newey has started a trend to follow. First it was the Red Bull during the Barcelona test back in February. In April, again in Barcelona, Renault came up with their version of finned engine cover and Toro Rosso introduced the Red Bull clone.
Force India were next to follow. Hoping to close the gap to the midfield they tested several aero updates 2 weeks ago at Silverstone. The fin was one of them. And yesterday we could see the first “finned” McLaren in action at the Hockenheim test… Half the grid has the fin now.
I am not sure how much advantage this thingy actually brings. But all the teams that have tested the weird looking engine cover went on racing with it. None of the teams has dropped it since. It looks like the shark fin is here to stay, at least till the end of the 2008 season.
Who will try it next ?
The “shark fin gallery” inside the post.
This is the first 2009 drivers posts that does not have rumours only. One 2009 F1 seat was confirmed last week – Mark Webber’s contract with Red Bull was extended for another year. He will however have new team mate following David Coulthard’s retirement announcement. Sebastian Vettel is everybody’s candidate …
There are reports that Toyota will confirm their current drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock for next season. It hasn’t happened yet though. This would mean that Kazuki Nakajima may stay with Williams for a while longer.
Same as last year a lot seems to depend on the next move by Fernando Alonso. He is not planning to make any announcements before Italian Grand Prix in September and some teams may wait for his situation to clear up before making any moves.
You may have realized that Jenson Button used a different helmet at Silverstone during the 2008 British GP. He used special helmet designs for his home Grand Prix before but this time he had fans to design it for him on his website.
Here is the winning design by Aries Janssens:
jenson button silverstone 2008 helmet side
jenson button silverstone 2008 helmet front
Photos: Honda Racing F1