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GP Week : Issue 59
Musical Chairs begins AT the end of the summer break, talk of driver changes for 2010 are rife. Perhaps the biggest story to come out of the last week is Ferrari and FOTA President Luca di Montezemolo’s suggestion that Ferrari might attempt to run a third car in 2010 for Michael Schumacher, should the German demand a return to F1. The potential for third cars in F1 could completely open up the driver market, but remains a long shot. Ferrari is expected to announce Fernando Alonso at Monza for 2010, and the Spaniard is likely to line up alongside Felipe Massa should the Brazilian recovery fully from his injuries. Kimi Raikkonen will be bought out of what remains of his Ferrari contract. Where Raikkonen ends up is a mystery, and many expect him to move to the WRC or simply retire. Button is expected to stay at Brawn, while the fight for the second seat is set to rage between Barrichello and countryman Bruno Senna. Heikki Kovalainen and Nico Rosberg are still tipped to switch places, while the demise of BMW is set to see Robert Kubica take Alonso’s seat at Renault alongside Romain Grosjean at Renault. Force India has a contract in place with Tonio Liuzzi for 2010 and the team may well opt to bring Karun Chandhok on board in place of the disappointing Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil, as Vijay Mallya has always aimed to have an Indian driver at the team. The new teams are where the big prospects lie. With Campos expected to announce its line-up this weekend (see separate story) it is the Manor, USF1 and the potential new 13th team (or BMW purchasers) that will see the most interest. Potential driver line-up for 2010 BrawnGP –Jenson Button/Rubens Barrichello or Bruno Senna Red Bull Racing – Sebastian Vettel/Mark Webber Ferrari – Fernando Alonso/Felipe Massa/Michael Schumacher? Toyota – Jarno Trulli/Timo Glock McLaren – Lewis Hamilton/Nico Rosberg Williams – Heikki Kovalainen/Nico Hulkenberg Renault – Robert Kubica/Romain Grosjean Toro Rosso – Sebastien Buemi/Jaime Alguersuari Force India – Tonio Liuzzi/Karun Chandhok Campos - Meta – Pedro de la Rosa/Giorgio Pantano or Senna Manor – Adam Carroll/Paul di Resta or Lucas di Grassi USF1 – Alex Wurz or Ant Davidson/Jon Summerton BMW or new team – Barrichello/Nick Heidfeld