F1 2006 Review: Drivers end-of-season rankings part 1

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2005The 2006 championship was contested by 27 different drivers, 18 of which entered every race.

Which ones impressed and which ones struggled? We rate all 27, starting with the first 17 today and looking at our top ten drivers in detail tomorrow.

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Raikkonen greeted by Ferrari exodus

Ross Brawn, Ferrari, Monza, 2006The Michael Schumacher dream team is no more.

Not only has the seven-times champion called time on his stellar career, but the men who brought him greatness at Ferrari are all moving on too.

Today saw confirmation of the rumours that had surrounded Ross Brawn’s future at the team for several months. He will stand down and be replaced as technical director by Mario Almondo.

Jean Todt, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2006General manager Jean Todt will be promoted within Ferrari to CEO. Taking his place is Amedeo Felisa. Engine designer Paolo Martinelli has already departed for parent company Fiat. Designer Rory Byrne does remain for the time being as an engineering consultant.

The moves follow the departue of Schumacher himself this year, and his team mate of his championship-winning 2000-2004 campaigns, Rubens Barrichello, at the end of last season.

Ferrari maintain that the sweeping and fundamental changes made to the team’s structure during Todt’s 15-year reign will ensure their competitivity into the future.

But can any team that’s undergone such a dramatic and sweeping change in management expect to challenge for championships next year? Kimi Raikkonen’s 2007 title may not be the 24-carat plated sealed deal many people expect it to be…

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