The Formula 1 driver silly season is shaping up as one of the all-time best, with a number of announcements, strong rumours and the influx of new teams creating much talk in the paddock.
With the championship now over and almost half of the grid still to be official locked in for 2010, seats will being to be filled quickly.
Leading the confirmations over the Abu Dhabi weekend was the name ‘Senna.’ Bruno Senna, the nephew of the great Ayrton, will drive with new team Campos Meta1.
Also linked to the Campos team is Nelson Piquet and Lucas di Grassi., Piquet was unceremoniously released from his Renault drive early this year after a season and a half of poor performances. Piquet’s name has also been linked to another new team – Manor.
At Williams, Nico Rosberg recently confirmed he was leaving, and could do a straight swap with Rubens Barrichello. Rosberg is heavily linked to take Barrichello’s spot at Brawn, while Barrichello spent much of the Abu Dhabi weekend speaking highly of the Williams team … Barrichello and German star Nico Hulkenberg are expected to be announced at the Grove team’s all-new line-up. Williams will uses Cosworth engines in 2010.
At Renault, Robert Kubica has been signed to lead the squad to replace the Ferrari-bound Fernando Alonso. Kubica’s team-mate at Renault has a number of drivers linked to it, including Toyota driver Timo Glock.
Both of Toyota’s men (Glock and Jarno Trulli) were told last month that their services at the team would not be required next season. Trulli could move on to new team Lotus while Finn Heikki Kovalainen is believed to be in discussions with Toyota – as is Adrian Sutil and impressive Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi – however Kimi Raikkonen is said to be at the top of Toyota’s shopping list.
Raikkonen remained adamant, though, that the only place that he sees his future is at McLaren, replacing Kovalainen.
Giancarlo Fisichella is also keen to retain a role in the sport. After leaving Force India to replace Felipe Massa in the last few rounds of this season at Ferrari, Fischella signed a testing deal with the Prancing Horse, but Ferrari may let him out of that deal to maintain his place as a driver. Toro Rosso (which uses Ferrari engines) is one rumoured home for him.