This Monday, the pre-season testing of 2009 started and we saw new drivers, new KERS technologies on board at some teams, and some celebration tests.
So even starting from testing, it shows next year will be a new experience for everybody. Nobody knows who is in front or who has less information in technology racing. At the first day of testing, BMW showed new aerodynamics of 2009 and it looks really ugly.
I agree with all fans, also Kubica and Klien who participated, that it looks ugly. F1's new look doesn't look like new, and it makes an impression like mixing a F3000 car with a Champ Car.
But Loeb, Sato, and Senna made good times in testing, especially five-times world rally champion Loeb. He was eighth and only 1.3 second slower than Sato's shootout lap time. The fact that he usually drives C4 WRC makes it more impressive.
For Sato, Yes he was so fast in testing and impressed everybody but I don't think that only becoming fast will give the seat to Sato.
At Honda, Senna was clearly faster than Di Grassi and nearly fast as Button. Also he has a valuable surname, so Rubens must worry about his future more than ever.
KERS was on board at McLaren and BMW; some sources say Ferrari tested too.This is good news for front runners, but I didn't mentioned that this expensive KERS technology is hard to learn with slick tyre behaviours.
Teams have to learn new tyre wears and how they can use it with KERS. It is a hard programme.
But I want to focus on to drivers more than cars. After Schumi retired from F1, people and the media wanted a hero.
Lewis Hamilton gave them what they want with his PR style and driving skills, but in 2006, Kubica raised at Monza. Also we know Vettel, Glock, Rosberg, etc.
The new generation started was born in F3 in the Macau streets to GP2 and then rising to F1, so feeder series have done their works.
But before Kimi, Massa or the names like Trulli and Webber retired, everybody pointed to the champions of the future. I think even Nakajima has the potential of becoming Champion.
For next year if the McLaren and Ferrari have the edge in development, we will see again same stories of 2007 and 2008. Honda, Toyota, and Red Bull drivers have to drive not only for points like Toro Rosso, Renault, and BMW for wins this season.
They got one or several new drivers like Senna or Buemi having a good car and evaluating the tyres and getting the maximum of the car is their mission.
After Monza's win, Vettel becomes a strong force, also he out-paced Bourdais so he is so strong. If Red Bull start to struggle like this year's middle season, even Vettel will have hard times. I hope not but this is F1; every second it changes.
Kubica, Glock, Rosberg, Massa, Kimi, Alonso, and Lewis are options when I analyse who will be the next No. 1. I think it is not all about driving skills. If you give a McLaren MP4-19, even Hamilton has nothing to do or others because it was a bad car in maximum it blows.
Schumi had F2005, the car was good but it had never heated tyres, but Schumi showed the world even with a average car, he got third in the championship.
In conclusion, there will be new winners and new champions but In Formula 1 you can expect everything will change because cars become more stronger force than drivers nowadays.
Vettel, Kubica, Heikki, Kimi, Rosberg, Massa, Hamilton, Nakajima or Senna, if they are in the right place with their lovely conditions, everyone of them has chance.
However, like Heidfeld, Kimi, and Heikki showed this year, even the fastest man on the grid had hard times to get grip from the car, so only pointing the champion means nothing to use in the future of F1.
Note:Rossi got the F1 drive in Mugello, and he was only 1.2 seconds slower than Massa and Kimi's time. We know how fast the Vale is, but he knows how to drive fast in any type of racing car. So he is so great, even in Moto-GP bike or in a Ferrari F1 car.