The FIA has this evening published the entry list for next season’s F1 championship. There are some interesting points of note.
First, as expected, Richard Branson’s Virgin is “doing a Benetton” and pushing its brand to the forefront, calling the team Virgin Racing and the cars Virgin Cosworths. Manor is not entering F1 under its own name.
The model here was set out by Benetton in the 1980s and 1990s, whereby it got the maximum brand exposure while getting the sponsors to pay the bills. Virgin Racing has yet to announce its commercial package for F1, but one would expect to find companies which have a strong business to business link with the company, such as an oil company which supplies aviation fuel to the Virgin airlines business. It’s not so obvious a sponsorship for a non related brand as Virgin is such a dominant brand, it would crowd everything else out.
Toro Rosso has yet to confirm Jaime Alguersuari. Only Sebastien Buemi gets a seat at the moment.
Brawn has indicated to the FIA that it is requesting a name change to Mercedes Grand Prix, not Mercedes F1, which is interesting. And as the situation has yet to be resolved over Toyota’s withdrawal from F1 and whether Sauber will get the entry, at present Toyota’s name is mentioned, without being entered and given race numbers, while Sauber is not mentioned. I will post separately on this.
There are five Germans in the field, Nick Heidfeld should make that six when he signs up and if that should happen to be for Sauber, for example, it will mean that there is a German driver six out of the 13 teams, an unprecedented situation in the sport.
At Ferrari, Felipe Massa is given car number seven – lucky for some – and Fernando Alonso number eight. Generally the lower numbered car in a team is regarded as the lead car, but in this case I don’t think Ferrari intend any seniority implications.
Whoever drives the lead car for US F1 will be feeling pretty good about life – car number 22 has won the world championship for the past two seasons running!
Red Bull is down as being powered by Renault engines, which is everyone’s understanding, but has yet to be confirmed. Whatever Renault may decide about its participation in F1, I understand that they will continue to supply engines to Red Bull.
1 Jenson BUTTON (GB) VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
2 Lewis HAMILTON (GB) VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES McLAREN MERCEDES
3 Nico ROSBERG (D) BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM BRAWN MERCEDES
4 TBA BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM BRAWN MERCEDES
5 Sebastian VETTEL (D) RED BULL RACING RED BULL RENAULT
6 Mark WEBBER (AUS) RED BULL RACING RED BULL RENAULT
7 Felipe MASSA (BR) SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI
8 Fernando ALONSO (E) SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO FERRARI
9 Rubens BARRICHELLO (BR) AT&T WILLIAMS WILLIAMS COSWORTH
10 Nico HULKENBERG (D) AT&T WILLIAMS WILLIAMS COSWORTH
11 Robert KUBICA (PL) RENAULT F1 TEAM RENAULT
12 TBA RENAULT F1 TEAM RENAULT
14 Adrian SUTIL (D) FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
15 Vitantonio LIUZZI (I) FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM FORCE INDIA MERCEDES
16 Sebastien BUEMI (CH) SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO STR FERRARI
17 TBA SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO STR FERRARI
18 TBA LOTUS F1 RACING LOTUS COSWORTH
19 TBA LOTUS F1 RACING LOTUS COSWORTH
20 TBA CAMPOS META 1 CAMPOS DALLARA
21 Bruno SENNA (BR) CAMPOS META 1 CAMPOS DALLARA
22 TBA US F1 TEAM US F1 COSWORTH
23 TBA US F1 TEAM US F1 COSWORTH
24 Timo GLOCK (D) VIRGIN RACING VIRGIN COSWORTH
25 TBA VIRGIN RACING VIRGIN COSWORTH