F1 2010: A Whole New World

Duncan ScottAnalyst IOctober 1, 2009

It looks like a Brit will win the 2009 title (as is the proper order in F1!), but Button was born to bore, and I just can't take an interest. The other side of the hill is always greener, and from where I sit, the 2010 pastures look green, lush, and very inviting.

BMW (the ultimate losing machine) will be gone and there will be a raft of new teams on the grid. Realistically, nobody expects that any of them will be contenders for honours, but nobody expected Brawn GP to be massively strong this year. We all like surprises, don't we?

Having confirmation that Fernando Alonso is to drive for Ferrari next year has been a blow for some - not all - of the Tifosi. As an F1 fan, I welcome the move of a ferociously competitive driver to a team that should give him a car capable of challenging for regular podiums.

It does seem an insult to Kimi Raikkonen, but his bank balance will not be offended and it should motivate him to grind Ferrari's face in the dirt if he gets the chance.

And if the much-rumoured return of Kimi to McLaren takes place, we should see Lewis Hamilton given a sterner test than Heikki Kovaleinen has provided. Lewis will never be able to win over his detractors, of course, whatever happens.

If he beats Kimi, we shall hear all the talk about the favoured son of McLaren again, whereas if Kimi is the quicker, it will be trumpeted that Lewis was never any good.

The game of driver musical chairs does not seem to favour Robert Kubica. A few seasons ago, he was almost everybody's pick as a future world champion, but now his star has faded, and Seb Vettel wears the mantle of the future king.

Sad for the Pole, and a reminder that the vast majority of F1 drivers pass through the sport without carving their names on its history.

Rule changes for 2010 are not finalised yet as a consequence of the FIA-FOTA dispute, but we know about some.

There will be no refuelling during races, which will mean cars having bigger tanks and starting each race very heavy. The huge benefit is the end of race results being decided by fuel strategy.

At all stages of the race, drivers will have approximately equal fuel loads - depending on their engine's fuel consumption - and that should mean better racing.

Qualifying will change.

There will still be three qualifying periods and all drivers will set their fastest time with a low fuel load, so we will see no more of the bizarre, "fuel-adjusted" grid tables.

Teammates will be qualifying and starting the race with exactly the same amounts of fuel, which must mean a greater measure of driver equality within teams.

Almost certainly, tire warmers will be banned, meaning that drivers will have to use more skill and judgement getting rubber up to race temperature after a pit stop. Few would argue with that.

KERS is likely to still be with us, and the minimum car weight is being raised to make it a more attractive option to larger drivers such as the aforementioned Kubica.

There are a number of rule changes not yet finalised.

The position is that 2009 rules will apply except where teams agree to a change; FOTA's victory is that complete.

It is probable that wheel covers will be banned and that bodywork changes will reduce the risk of driver X having his tires cut by the front wing of driver Y.

So roll on, 2010.

New teams, an interesting driver reshuffle, and a fundamental change to race strategy - great stuff. Good times? I think so.


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