So Mark Webber will ‘return’ to Red Bull Racing – the team which, as Jaguar, he departed in 2004.
And with Jacques Villeneuve officially out of BMW now is the time to take a second look at how the teams will line up in 2007.
Giancarlo Fisichella is confirmed.
Kimi Raikkonen is their number one choice but he may have turned thm down. They would only be one of his second choices alongside McLaren if he cannot get into Ferrari.
With Mark Webber out of the picture Heikki Kovalainen the best chance of getting a race drive next year – but would he and Fisichella, who has been outclassed by Alonso, be a strong enough driver pairing for the 2005 champions?
Fernando Alonso is confirmed and rumours that he may try to wriggle out of his agreement have died down.
There is a four-way battle for the second seat. Ideally the team would like to keep Raikkonen on board for an ultra-strong line-up with Alonso – but Raikkonen may be affronted by the fact that they signed Alonso at all and certainly isn’t impressed with the reliability problems he’s suffered since joining the team in 2002.
That leaves super-sub Pedro de la Rosa in the prime position – surely Ron Dennis wouldn’t risk either of the rookies Gary Paffet (2005 DTM champion) or Lewis Hamilton (2006 GP2 champion-elect).
Michael Schumacher will reveal all by the Italian Grand Prix. If he stays, expect Felipe Massa to retain his strict number two role.
Would Schumacher really entertain the possibility of having Raikkonen as a team mate? It would be an astonishing volte-face from a driver who has not had a team mate on equal terms since 1993.
Ross Brawn’s recent decision to quit at least for one year at the end of 2006, and Jean Todt’s public praise of Raikkonen after the German Grand Prix, suggests that Schumacher may quit after all.
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are both staying according to their contracts. If Anthony Davidson wants a race seat he may do well to hang about as Barrichello may call it a day if Button overshadows him following the former’s first Grand Prix win.
Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher are confirmed.
After a year of excellent drives poorly rewarded Mark Webber will leave for Red Bull. Alex Wurz is promoted from the test team.
Nico Rosberg will stay put.
Nick Heidfeld is confirmed.
Jacques Villeneuve‘s enforced departure from the team after the German Grand Prix led to confirmation that he is out for 2007. Robert Kubica is set to take over, and the crazy Michael Schumacher rumours appear groundless.
David Coulthard is signed up.
Mark Webber‘s confirmation for 2007 means Christian Klien will be shown the door – he may end up in American single-seater racing.
With no places available at the A-team for 2007 the junior team look set to keep their young charges Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
This is bad news for their Red Bull-sponsored counterparts Neel Jani and Michael Ammermuller.
Still completely up in the air.
Takuma Sato will stay.
Interestingly the team have dropped hints that their ‘Japanese drivers only’ policy may be dropped. Managing director Daniel Audetto recently admitted they would sign Anthony Davidson if Honda were happy with it and Nelson Piquet Jnr is expected to test for the team soon.
Which would spell sayonara for Sakon Yamamoto