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GP Week : Issue 57
> F1NEWS> ber buy-out an option river market at full throttle BMW’s announcement that it is to pull out of Formula 1 at the end of the 2009 season has thrust two highprofile names into the driver market, as both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are now officially looking for 2010 F1 drives. Kubica has long-been linked with a move to Ferrari, with the previous expectation being that he would link up with Fernando Alonso at the Scuderia in 2011. With Alonso expected to be confirmed as a 2010 Ferrari driver at the 2009 Italian Grand Prix, the naming of his team-mate is set to depend on Felipe Massa’s recovery from his Hungarian Qualifying crash. It is expected that, should Massa make a full recovery, he will be named as Alonso’s team-mate for next season. Should he not, Kubica’s name may enter the frame. Kimi Raikkonen has been rumoured to be talking to BrawnGP, but also indicated that he would consider a move to the WRC in 2011 after making his competitive debut in the championship over the weekend as many expect him to leave Ferrari at the end of 2009 with a healthy severance package. And, of course, there is that lingering question of whether the returning Michael Schumacher will enjoy his comeback so much that he too enters the 2010 race for a drive. Is a Ferrari line-up of Alonso and the seventime world champion seriously on the cards? Stranger things have happened. Meanwhile, Toyota’s signing of the Concorde Agreement and pledge to see out its future in Formula 1 has heightened the possibility of the team taking up its option on Timo Glock for 2010. The German had been linked with a move to McLaren in place of Heikki Kovalainen, but that seat now looks more likely to be fought over by Nico Rosberg and the newly jobless Robert Kubica. Kovalainen is still hotly tipped to wind up at Williams alongside either one of the experienced pair of Barrichello and Heidfeld, or hot rookie Nico Hulkenberg. PETER Sauber has vowed to save the jobs of the staff at the BMW-Sauber F1 Team after the German manufacturer announced last week that it will quit Formula 1 at the end of the current season. Despite winning their first race in 2008, the team’s three year plan to win the World Championship has fallen off the rails in 2009 and led to a shock decision by the BMW board to end their involvement with the sport at the first opportunity. BMW’s decision to quit Formula 1 makes it the second motor manufacturer in eight months to signal their intention to leave the sport, after Honda pulled out at the tail end of 2008. A management take-over, such as the one Ross Brawn was able to mount at Honda, now remains the team’s best chance of survival and it is Peter Sauber, whose Swiss Sauber F1 Team was bought into by BMW at the end of 2005, who has immediately stepped up as the squad’s potential saviour. “The best solution would be a Ross Brawn-type solution at Honda,” Sauber told a press conference. “You need at least 10 years to amass a team which can produce a F1 car to the level required and if we let this team fall apart the chances are that Switzerland will never again have such an opportunity.” It is understood that Peter Sauber and BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Thiessen are working together to try and secure the future of the team. With a new Concorde Agreement being agreed between the remaining 12 2010 F1 teams, it remains to be seen whether BMW will sign up to the Agreement before selling the team on, or whether it will simply remove itself from the sport and free up one grid slot to be fought over through an FIA team selection process such as that which gave us USF1, Manor and Campos for next season. 7