With plenty of talent floating around, there was hope early in the winter that some of the new and vacated seats in Formula 1 might be taken up by Brits. It’s not really turned out that way, has it?
Some time ago James Allen gave a bit of a shout to Anthony Davidson, Paul di Resta, Gary Paffett and Jamie Green. A couple of them did rather nicely in the rookie test late last year.
The closest to getting on the grid was di Resta, who is Force India’s new reserve driver, tipped to step up to a race seat next year. Davidson will be back commentating on BBC Radio 5 Live, and is rumoured to be looking at DTM. The other three are confirmed DTM drivers.
Mind you, there are still two seats up for grabs. On paper they are at Campos and US F1, but the state of those teams is hotly debated. It looks like Campos will morph into either Serbain mystery machine Stefan GP, or something to do with A1GP’s Tony Teixeira.
There’s a degree of optimism to be had if Teixeira gets involved, in that he could put Adam Carroll, who took Team Ireland to the A1GP title, in the empty car. I’m not sure if Carroll considers himself British, Irish or Northern Irish, but in any case, it would be superb to have him in Formula 1.
Otherwise, it seems entirely plausible that a driver would need to bring money to the teams with vacancies. Vitaly Petrov is due to be in one of the Renault cars backed by Russian money, but that might not be as forthcoming as hoped.
Maybe that creates an opportunity for a British driver, but if a Russian driver can’t find backing in his home country, what hope does a Brit have?
And of course there are plenty of other names who haven’t managed to secure a race seat: Nick Heidfeld, Giancarlo Fisichella, Takuma Sato, Jacques Villeneuve – and so on.
There are more cars on the grid, but it seems harder than ever for drivers to get to – and stay in – Formula 1.
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