As F1's quiet season continues with little on-track action, the off-track activities are expected to result in a couple of announcements this week. Honda is to hold a press conference at its Tokyo headquarters on November 1st when it's believed the manufacturer will confirm that it intends to enter a second team in the 2006 championship.
Honda took over 100% of BAR earlier this year and also hinted at the possibility of running a second squad. Aguri Suzuki, who previously raced in F1 in the late eighties and early nineties, is expected to front the new team and Softbank is speculated to be involved.
Meanwhile, Christijan Albers has called a press conference, also for November 1st, in which he will reportedly be confirmed as a driver for Midland next season. Albers, who debuted for Minardi this season, the team which has now been taken over by Red Bull, has allegedly signed a two-year deal with Midland according to the Dutch media.
The likes of Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson have also been linked with Midland, previously Jordan, and with the new Honda team so who will end up where we will just have to wait and see. Midland has already confirmed Nicky Pastorelli as third driver for 2006, so if Albers is named as a race driver -- which some find doubtful -- there will still be a vacancy.
Of the other teams still to confirm race drivers, Williams has yet to announce who will partner Mark Webber next season, while Red Bull has five drivers under contract with two teams to split them between. David Coulthard has been confirmed at Red Bull but Christian Klien, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed and Neel Jani have not been officially allocated.
BMW signed Nick Heidfeld a couple of months ago but has not made any mention of its intentions regarding Jacques Villeneuve. The Canadian has always maintained that his Sauber contract would be carried through when BMW took over but the German manufacturer seems reluctant to confirm its second race driver.
Elsewhere, Kimi Raikkonen has undergone knee surgery and will spend a month recuperating. It should not affect the McLaren man's winter schedule as he was not due to be testing until January. "It was very minor, it's something that Kimi knew had to be done after the season, there's nothing serious about it," said his spokeswoman.
The banks that control F1's commercial holding company SLEC are hoping to find a way to end the still-threatening breakaway series planned for 2008. Bayerische Landesbank, which recently took over the voting rights of all three banks, said the shareholders support Bernie Ecclestone and believe the issues with the manufacturer group planning the breakaway can be resolved.
Speculation suggests that IRL champion Dan Wheldon is aiming to take a test role with an F1 team next season with an eye to racing in 2007. Brit Wheldon, who also won the Indy 500 this year, has been linked with Williams and Honda. Wheldon said last weekend that he had not yet signed a deal but has been in talks with F1 teams.