The European leg of this year’s F1 championship is done with, and the F1 circus now prepares for the long haul race weekends or fly-aways to Asia and then the Americas. We are just over halfway in this season’s championship, and bang in the middle of ‘silly season’! For the uninitiated, silly season is that time of the year when the gossip surrounding future driver line-ups is at its peak.
Bernie Ecclestone hinted that Schumacher may not be around for the next season, while Schumacher himself clarified that he will make a decision regarding his future only in October. My personal opinion is that Schumacher will leave, and Mercedes may pry out Nico Hulkenberg from Force India as a replacement for him to maintain their all-German line up.
Lewis Hamilton has not yet put pen to paper on his new contract at Mclaren, and even though his management team have stated that they are in extended discussions with Mclaren regarding this, the very fact that it has taken so long to what many thought would be a foregone conclusion, makes one wonder if he will stay or go.
After his victory at Monza yesterday, Lewis did point at the red part of his helmet just before the podium ceremony, during which, I might add, he was quite subdued as well. Was he trying to show where his future belongs or was he just indicating that he had won in Ferrari‘s home territory? Or was he just playing with the media giving them another news bite that would keep them occupied till Singapore?
Felipe Massa – well, what can one say about him? I think he is doomed to go the Barrichello way. It is highly likely that Ferrari will let him go at the end of this year. He may well find another drive at one of the ‘lesser’ teams in F1 for the next few years, where he might race till he retires or just leaves out of boredom.
Sergio Perez, a member of Ferrari’s young driver programme, is thought to be the guy who will replace Massa next year and after his brilliant showing at the weekend’s Italian GP, it may very well happen – unless Ferrari sign Hamilton first!
It was recently announced that Paul Di Resta has signed up with Jenson Button‘s management company, and if Hamilton leaves, this might make way for Di Resta to join Mclaren.
Red Bull and Lotus have their current drivers already on contract for next year as well, so no changes are expected over there for now at least.
So in a nutshell, Schumacher to retire for the second time, Massa to leave Ferrari, Hamilton to threaten to leave and then stay at Mclaren, Hulkenberg to Mercedes and Perez to Ferrari – there’s are my predictions for the changes in the line-up for next year. It may all go completely wrong, but hey, who cares .. it’s silly season and everyone’s entitled to an opinion!