As Formula One breaks new ground in Turkey the speculation in the driver market continues apace. Rubens Barrichello moving to BAR next season, and Felipe Massa replacing him at Ferrari, has answered a couple of questions but also thrown up a few...
As Formula One breaks new ground in Turkey the speculation in the driver market continues apace. Rubens Barrichello moving to BAR next season, and Felipe Massa replacing him at Ferrari, has answered a couple of questions but also thrown up a few more. The main one currently is who will be Barrichello's teammate in 2006.
BAR wants to keep hold of Jenson Button but has the stumbling block of Button's contract with Williams. Jenson has been in discussions with Frank Williams but so far all parties are keeping quiet on how things might be progressing. Should Button have to leave BAR for Williams there's no guarantee that Takuma Sato will be partner to Barrichello next season.
Sato, who has struggled in 2005, has six races to convince BAR to let him keep his race seat. "Takuma has from now to the end of the season to demonstrate that he can prove he can perform at a strong level," said team chief executive Nick Fry.
"We hope he can, because he is an excellent team member and as a person we like him a lot. But this is a business and a high level sport and if he can't prove that to us we will obviously have to consider other alternatives."
BAR test driver Anthony Davidson has said he wants to stay with the team but is also checking out his options. Reportedly BMW and Jordan are interested in the Brit's services and while Jordan is usually on the lookout for drivers who can bring a healthy cash injection to the team, it seems they would be willing to make an exception for Davidson.
"They (Jordan/Midland) have approached us and they're saying that they can do something so it opens up a new opportunity really just to be on the grid," said Davidson, according to Reuters. Anthony previously raced in British F3 for Trevor Carlin, who was Jordan sporting director before Adrian Burgess.
"They were one of the teams we spoke to because of Adrian being there, and Trevor at the beginning of the season, and it made it easy to just go in and have a chat," Davidson added. "We've been talking to BMW as well for next year, we've spoken to them a couple of races back. But at the moment it seems they've got quite a lot of time to make their decisions."
Meanwhile, Jacques Villeneuve's future with BMW has been attracting speculation but as far as the Canadian is concerned, his contract with Sauber will be carried over and he's not talking to any other teams. "There have been no conversations anywhere," said Villeneuve. "I'm not the kind of guy to go talk to everyone if I already have something in my hands. There'd be no point."
While Barrichello is full of enthusiasm for his BAR move, at least one person at Ferrari is not happy to see him leave. Technical director Ross Brawn commented: "We are very disappointed because we've had a very good period with Rubens and I've said many times he has the toughest job in Formula One."
"He's trying to beat Michael Schumacher in the same equipment and nobody's ever managed to do that. It can be a very frustrating experience and he's always tried hard and worked hard and done a very good job. I was disappointed with what happened but I can understand why it happened."