This is a quick update of the F1 world during the off Season…
The most recent news, Which broke today, 8-Jan, is that former F1 driver Jos Verstappen has been taken into custody by dutch police with accusations of attempted murder. Mr. Verstappen hit his 24 year old ex-girlfriend with his car before fleeing the scene. He handed himself into police the day after. Mr. Verstappen has denied all charges and can be remanded for 14 days. This is not the first time that he has been in trouble with the police. In 1998, He fractured the skull of a karter after an altercation at the track. He was sentenced to a 5 year suspended sentence. The dutch has driven for teams such as Arrows, Minardi and Benneton. His 11 year F1 career earned him two podium finishes.
Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari was one of the two drivers dropped by Toro Rosso this winter. His old team-mate Sebastian Buemi has taken up the reserve driver role at Red Bull, leaving Alguersuari with no seat. At present, There are two open seats for the 2012 F1 grid, one at Williams and the other at Hispania. However, Alguersuari has refused an offer at Hispania, saying that it would be a step back. Alguersuari has said that he would prefer to be a third driver at a top team than a driver at a slower team.
Williams have still not announced who will take the remaining seat. Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado has already secured his seat with his sponsorship but several drivers are now fighting for the other seat. Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello and Bruno Senna along with Germany’s Adrian Sutil, Russia’s Vitaly Petrov and Spain’s Jaime Alguersuari are all looking to get the seat. Sebastian Buemi who was dropped by Toro Rosso, Has said that Williams rang him with an interest in having him in their seat. Buemi, However, Denied, before going to Red Bull as a reserve driver. As of today, the most likely to get the seat is either Rubens Barrichello or Adrian Sutil, who have both raised approximately £5million in private sponsorship. Rubens Barrichello has a massive public support, with the social networking site “Twitter” being a main support. Online icons called Twibbons have been added to many peoples accounts with the words “Keep Rubens” . Williams have another month to announce there decision.
The French Grand Prix may be set to make a return. If it was to return, It would go to Circuit Paul Ricard instead of the old Magny Cours. The Circuit Paul Ricard is one of the most up to date circuits in the world. However the French GP would come with a cost. It would be alternated with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. In a similar arrangement as the Nurburgring-Hockenheim deal, Circuit Paul Ricard and Spa-Francorchamps would be used every second year. It begs the question as to why circuits like Spa-Francorchamps must go when there are already some circuits such as Bahrain International Circuit, Korean International Circuit and the Valencia Street Circuit being kept, even with bad ticket sales and much criticism.
The Government of Valencia is to ask Bernie Ecclestone for a reduction in the amount is has to pay to stage races. The race is failing to attract full ticket sales and is every year criticised for having an un-eventful race. At the moment, It costs Valencia 21 million euros per race. The current contract runs out in 2014.
So far the confirmed drivers are as follows:
Red Bull – Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
McLaren – Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Mercedes – Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg
Lotus (Formally Renault) – Kimi Raikonnen and Romain Grosjean
Force India – Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenburg
Sauber – Kamui Kobayashi and Segio Perez
Toro Rosso – Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne
Williams – Pastor Maldonado and TBA
Caterham (Formally Lotus) – Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli
Hispania – Pedro De La Rosa and TBA
Marussia (Formally Virgin Racing) – Timo Glock and Charles Pic.