Despite three places were assigned – Maldonado joined Lotus Team alongside Grosjean and Hulkenberg joined Force India – the 2013-2014 drivers’ market still looks like a messy bundle. Nowadays there are still six places to be assigned: 1 Force India; 2 Marussia; 2 Caterham; 2 Sauber.
Some recent rumors about a possible merger between Marussia and Sauber, two teams which are currently navigating dangerous waters (like some other F.1 teams such as Lotus), make next season’s grid even more incomprehensible. Even if it’s not easy to achieve, the merger between the Banbury-based team and the Hinwil-based team is not impossible to be achieved, since both teams signed an agreement with Ferrari for what concerning the new 1.6 turbo engines’ supply for next season. In the case this merger is achieved, the drivers’ market will undergo a significant slowdown, as F.1 will lack two seats. If we consider that Jules Bianchi has already signed a contract with Marussia-Ferrari for the next season (the French driver whose manager is Nicholas Todt, is a member of the FDA), the seats available will drop to 4 and 2 of them are very attractive (Force India and Sauber). We don’t have to forget that Max Chilton, a driver who can bring the team a considerable financial support, would remain “unemployed”. Apart from him, another important driver such as Sergio Perez, who is supported by Slim – the world’s richest man – hasn’t signed any contract yet.
As we already know, we’ll see some new expansive changes next season, such as the new turbo engine and all the drawbacks that come with that. So, it is important to hire a gained-long-standing experience driver, who can give engineers the right technical instructions. All the above-mentioned, along with the fact that no testing sessions will be made, make it hard for new drivers to get into F.1. So, team managers will look for a right balance between technical skills and financial support. Hulkenberg is a classic example of a driver who doesn’t enjoy a great financial support, but, thanks to his several point finishes, he makes the team earn money coming from TV rights.
As we said above, the 2014 will be the year zero for a F.1 which is experiencing a delicate moment. It will be the year zero because many changes will be introduced: brand new chassis, turbo engine, new KERS systems, a max.100 kilos-gas-load…….Everything will have to be put together and time is too short. I’ve heard that some teams haven’t received any instructions yet about the engine unit’s dimensions and the dimensions of external parts, so even the chassis is still to be defined.
Next season will be very nervous. The team who will start the season off on the right foot, will win the Championship. The Brawn GP Team set a trend.