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Musical chairs

Rafay Ansar

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Schumacher’s shock announcement today has got us thinking about the musical chairs we might expect ready for 2010.

There hasn’t been much seat swapping in the last few years, but with BMW’s unexpected exit and three new teams set to join the grid next year the ‘silly season’ should provide us with some big changes.

So we’ll start with Ferrari. Unless Michael gets bitten by the racing bug again – which he might, should he win a race or two – then it’s rumoured that Fernando Alonso will move over from Renault to replace Kimi.

That would leave the 2007 world champion without a seat, but it’s also possible Massa won’t come back, so he might stay put. If he does leave, it looks like a WRC drive might be on the cards – he’s doing his first race this weekend in Finland.

Jenson Button won’t go anywhere now that he’s found the sweet spot at Brawn, but it’s unlikely Barrichello will stay – especially after that post-race outburst the other weekend – which might leave the door open for Bruno Senna.

Like Button, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel will want to stay with Red Bull – why would they leave the team most likely to keep winning races?
And I can’t see Toyota’s Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli moving. Ever.

Keeping up? Good. On to McLaren. Lewis will stay, but Rosberg (and I’ve said this before) should be his wingman. How about Nico and Heikki swap jobs?
Kovalainen would thrive in a number one spot, supported by current test driver Nico Hulkenburg. Surely it’s time they dumped Nakajima?

Renault, having lost Alonso, could pick up the now seatless Robert Kubica. He would pair up well with their test guy Romain Grosjean, and has shown he can lead a team (even though BMW wouldn’t listen to him).

STR will keep their new pairing of Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi and Force India will stick with Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella, I reckon.

And so we get on to the new teams. Campos are expected to make their first driver announcement at Valencia in three weeks, and although there are no real rumours, it’s likely to be someone with development experience and bags of track time. Pedro de la Rosa maybe?

And I may have got her results wrong, but I still think that current F2 driver Natacha Gachnang is in with a should for the second spot, through her ties with Campos who she drove for in F3 last year.

Danica Patrick has denied interest in racing for USF1, but I think she’s holding out for more money. She could then be teamed with an experienced driver, who’s maybe lost his seat and is maybe from Brazil… Rubens Barrichello?

And what of Manor? I have no idea who they’re talking to, so I’ll take a punt on Anthony Davidson, and maybe Kimi Raikkonen if they offer him enough money.

Nah, actually that’d be ridiculous. Next you’ll be telling me Michael Schumacher’s making a comeback…

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