Formula What?

It’s been almost thirty days since the Formula 1 season finale, the Abu Dhabi dazzle in the twilight. It’s been almost thirty days since I’ve been able to recognize this sport we love so much.

It’s also been almost thirty days since Toyota announced the end of their relationship with us and F1. Since that large blow, Mercedes split from McLaren and bought 75.1% of Brawn GP inevitably turning the team into ‘Mercedes GP.’ A few clicks of your mouse later and Button and Raikkonen were both testing waters for a McLaren seat which Button landed. His salary of peanuts sounded better to Mercedes than Raikkonen’s asking price of a hand and a leg. The Finn decided it was better to ditch next year all together, seeing that Ferrari are paying him enough to get through the inactive year.

With McLaren sitting happily with an all British line-up, it seems reasonable to suggest that Mercedes might be aiming for an all German line-up especially with the news that Rosberg has joined camp. That makes rumors of a Schumacher return tickle our fancy even more.

After BMW’s shocking exit announcement after the 2009 season, their future is not clear until… they announce selling the team back to Peter Sauber.

You consume all that and then take a breather. Oh, and Alonso announced his move to Ferrari. That slipped my mind because after a few pictures were snapped of him walking alongside Massa as an official Ferrari driver, he disappeared into Ferrari Land.

For 2010, refueling has been banned which was an idea proposed to help cut costs rather than improve F1 excitement. Anyone who knows anything about F1 knows that some of the best race moments take place during pit stops. But life is all about money so we shall only nod our heads and hope it helps us enjoy the show.

As of next season, Lotus, Campos, Manor and USF1 will be given a small nudge by the FOM: a $10 million grant including the free transportation of two chassis and 10,000 kg of freight to each race. That’s a good way to encourage fresh interest. Hands up for Volkswagen anyone?

KERS is still permitted in 2010 even though the FOTA have agreed to do without it. The minimum car weight has been increased from 605 kg to 620 kg to eliminate any driver height or weight disadvantage if any team decides to use the electric box.

Mercedes GP, Red Bull Racing, McLaren, Ferrari, Sauber F1, Williams, Renault, Force India, and Toro Rosso have been joined by Lotus, Campos, Manor and USF1. That makes 26 cars. With 24 cars in 2009, qualifying rules have been reevaluated accordingly: 8 drivers knocked out in Q1, 8 drivers in Q2 and 10 drivers fight it out in Q3.

Wheel covers have been banned, in season testing is still banned, a limit has been placed on number of aerodynamic upgrades per season including a limit on the number of team personnel able to attend a Grand Prix – c’mon, the more brilliant minds in the paddock will affect the success of a team? I don’t get it.

ING is gone after the Renault controversy and has been replaced by TW Steel.

RBS has canceled its trackside sponsorship in 2010 and will end its sponsorship agreement with Williams after next season.

YouTube has joined USF1.

Vigin Group have bought a 20% stake in Manor Grand Prix and plan on renaming the team.

Banco Santander is sponsoring Ferrari in 2010 and has extended its agreement with McLaren as well.

Since when has there been this much information during an off season? And in less than 30 days? I can’t remember when. It’s a busy winter and I am sure it’s going to get busier. I just hope all these changes are for the better. KERS had some pros but most of its cons were reoccurring. I honestly think KERS is genius and just needs more time to evolve for F1 to become accustomed to it.

Let’s hope with all these changes Formula 1 is still worth retaining its number: 1.


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