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Silly Season is Cancelled

Posted by Carrot on June 11, 2010 | No Comments

Last year we had Alonso’s super-secret move to Ferrari, the late speculation of the second McLaren and Brawn (subsequently Mercedes GP) second cockpits and the whole slew of new entries and whether or not they’d even make it. Silly Season, the tradition of media and pub based guess work over the destinations of drivers (and sometimes teams), was in full swing even past the final race of last year. This year it’s over, well as good as, and we’re not even half way into the calender.

Since Turkey the driver market at the sharp end of the grid is, barring a single cockpit, completely confirmed and locked out. Mark Webber’s got an extension at Red Bull, and rightly so in my opinion. It’s all well and good blowing Vettel’s trumpet (no, that’s not a euphemism) but as was proven at Istanbul, the kid can’t overtake. He just can’t. Give him a quick car and ask him to dominate from the front and he’s your race winner, put a car in his way under racing conditions and you have problems, and potential disaster if the car in front is his team mate. Webber’s confirmation locks out Red Bull, Vettel already under contract. Both McLaren seats are booked until the latter side of the next ice age and yesterday the major point of speculation was removed when Felipe Massa was confirmed for two more years at the Scuderia. While I don’t actually expect him to be racing there for two years, a test role or a Sauber cockpit beckons methinks, he’ll be there for 2011. This ends the speculation that Kubica or Webber would be driving the second red machine next year. It also locks out the third placed team in the standings.

With nowhere to move forward Rosberg is almost certain to resign to Mercedes rather than drop backwards on the grid. The other Mercedes will be Schumacher’s for as long as he wants it, if only for the massive PR boost. The only way a seat is going to open up is if Michael has a change of heart about his comeback. Recent performances and the car being developed more and more to his liking makes this a diminishing prospect.

Your have to get all the way to fifth placed Renault before there’s a real prospect of an open seat. Kubica, with nowhere else to reasonably go, will inevitably resign for another year and continue to look for a move forward. Petrov’s seat will be the one in jeopardy, however if he can continue to perform as he has in the last couple of races, coupled with the immense amount of sponsorship he brings means he’ll have to seriously mess up in order to lose his drive.

That’s it, speculation over. At least the fun speculation. You may continue to guess at the occupants of the Force India cars, the Williams’, the Saubers and the Red Bull B team but to be honest it’s like watching an old horror film, you’ll guess the ending before you get there and it won’t be engaging in the meantime.

The tyre debate will shortly be over as well. With the 2011 car designs needing to have clear regulations to be designed to, the announcement for supplier(s) for next year will inevitably be made shortly. My money’s on Pirelli for the entire grid. Michelin’s competition demand can never be fulfilled, no team will want to drive on anything but the French rubber if they did make a return given the fact they’ve been competing in F1 recently and it’d be a stupid team that would go to the untested competition.

The only other possible Silly Season that will take off will be based on the identity of the the team that will take the 13th grid slot. Provided that it’s not a project connected with Ken Anderson or Pete Windsor, I don’t mind although of the publicly know entries I favour ART Grand Prix. The FIA should be letting us know sometime in July.

Finally a reminder that being further round the world than us, the Canadian Grand Prix coverage is on later than usual. This means there’s an opportunity to watch the practise sessions for those who are normally trapped at work. The first two practise sessions are today, at 15:00 GMT and 19:00 GMT. Qualifying is on at 18:00 GMT (with build-up on the BBC from 17:45) on Saturday and the race begins at 17:00 GMT (with build-up from 16:00) on Sunday.

Predictions tomorrow, after third practise.

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