Sawtooth-spike wrote:So come on who's your money on?
That's really one
of the toughest questions. The more I look at the drivers who are
under contract, the less it all makes sense. It's easy to see why some think nothing's for certain. Some have suggested that there are questions about Massa at Ferrari, but with his performance and all the other changes within the team, I don't think so. BMW were pretty emphatic about signing their drivers early on and have a culture that enforces loyalty on all levels, not honoring a contract would undermine that badly.
At Williams, Nakajima is secure. Nico has stated time and again that he will stay and Frank has said he'll keep him at any cost - the conspiracy theory there being that it's all too convincing to be true. I don't think Rosberg is McLaren's first choice, though - two young ambitious drivers who have dads for managers isn't the obvious choice to ensure Ron's planned retirement triumphs happening. Some have also suggested that Trulli wouldn't be safe at Toyota, but as the team fought hard for Glock, I kinda doubt they'd want to take on an unknown factor as a rookie's team mate, no matter who that might be.
STR is an unknown factor for a number of reasons: continued rumours that the team will be sold, Vettel still rookie-ish but very likely to move on up soon (but not soon enough for McLaren perhaps, nor the perfect pairing for Hamilton, perhaps) and Bourdais just learning the ropes. Honda have confirmed Button and Barrichello; my theory is simply that had Button had a chance to go to Macca, he'd have been there already. The presence of Brawn at the team will encourage both drivers to stay on, for different reasons. At least they will get a baseline to evaluate their performance after 2007 by keeping their drivers for one more year.
Super Aguri is strapped for cash, which is strange given their cheerful image and fairly high profile. I don't know if there'd be a profit involved for them in letting Davidson go to McLaren, propably not. Force India, if Mallya really is willing to put his money where his mouth is, is in the market for driving, rather than paying, talent so no help there.
That leaves RBR and Renault. Coulthard is going to ride his F1 career out there, a return to McLaren under these (or pretty much any) circumstances is quite unthinkable. Renault is in a pickle, big time, and they must have contingency plans (with a helping hand from Bernie, no doubt) ... the one concerning the worst case scenario (being booted out of the championship) might involve Mecachrome and possibly one David Richards. That would niftily leave yet another team slot to be sold for the next billionaire on the lookout for a fun pastime.
It's a long shot, of course, but Renault's immediate post-penalty reincarnation in 2008 could actually be Prodrive-Mecachrome then, a team with little to no capacity to take on Alonso, even if the team is really just rebranded lock, stock & barrel. In this case I guess they'd try and continue with Heikki and Piquet. And frankly, Alonso wouldn't be shopping for a contract lasting for a single year unless he had serious Ferrari ambitions.
And the team willing to accommodate for this, perhaps? RBR, in which case Coulthard or Webber have to reconsider their futures. David might just retire, sure, but given Webber's experience, no-nonsense attitude, levelheadedness, dependability - all of which might reflect well on Hamilton and the team in general - McLaren IMHO is well advised to consider Mark. Another thing altogether whether he'd really want to go there.
Lewis has been boasting about being the "senior" driver within McLaren now. He's fast, talented, but I doubt he's ready to assume that position yet. Mclaren will be hard pressed, even with good money (with Hamilton and all the ongoing FIA scrutinies) to attract the sorts of drivers they really need. So if they're very lucky, they'll get Webber (or someone with similarly positive attributes). More likely they'll have to settle for what they've got, de la Rosa propably at the forefront of those options.
But would I bet money on this? Nope.