Drivers’ market…how many unknown things!

On Sunday the curtain was brought down over the F.1 World Championship, so drivers and teams are thinking about the 2014 season. A lot of work is being done not only inside factories to set cars for the next season but also inside meeting rooms, where people are discussing how to complete the grid’s puzzle, but there are still too many missed pieces to complete it.

Hulkenberg, Maldonado, Perez, Grosjean, Di Resta are only some of the drivers that haven’t signed any contract yet and Lotus, Sauber, Force India are the most important second-tier teams to still have free positions. That is an uncommon thing for the modern Formula 1. Normally, small teams got left behind. Lotus and Sauber are still longing for a financial support to come from Russia and Arabic countries.

The main cause to that, it has to be found in the difficult financial situation the whole world is undergoing now and also in the rise of costs all teams will have to deal with next season: “The regulations changes will cause a rise in costs that is still hard to evaluate, since next season will be rich in unexpected things”, says Gian Carlo Minardi “ It is really difficult to anticipate costs arising from the introduction of the turbo engine, as there are many unexpected things we still don’t know about. I know something about that, as, when I joined F.1 in 1985, the turbo engine was at its apex. Some teams have troubles even before starting using the turbo engine, never mind late in the racing season.” The Renault engine’s failure on Grosjean’s car in Brazil could sound like an alarm bell for next season, during which only 5 engine units per driver will be available, “If with 8 super tested engine units available, teams had some problems, I cannot imagine what will happen next year. These failures have a rise in costs and relegation as a consequence.”

A good mix between technical and economic values is one of the leading reasons which drive teams to choose a driver. “It won’t be easy to foresee the next steps, as many parameters have to be taken into consideration. The main reason which leads the team to choose a driver instead of another is the amount of money he can bring to the team. Maldonado and Perez, two drivers who could rely on great financial support, are now on the market. We’ll see if they will enjoy that support even in the future. For example Maldonado, who is supposed to be very close to Lotus, said that the PDVSA could probably leave the circus. Perez, who was relieved by McLaren despite he overshadowed Button many times, won’t probably enjoy that support any more, otherwise it would be difficult for me to understand the Woking-based team’s decision. Nico Hulkenberg’s situation is different: he finished in the points many times, so he really earned his salary. The German driver represents an example of a good investment whose return is paid off by a good position in the constructors championship. Sauber’s seventh place is entirely thanks to him; thanks to that position, the Swiss team earned quite a great amount of money coming from TV rights. So, it is important to choose a driver who can score points and a driver who can ensure a good financial coverage.”

The 2014 season will be the season of engine “revolution” “Marussia will be equipped with Ferrari engine, thanks to which the team will make some steps forward. So, new drivers are probably expected to join the team. Bianchi will be reconfirmed, for sure, but we don’t have to forget that Chilton, who can enjoy a great financial support, can probably get the ball rolling. Someone can even risk to be left out. Perez pointed out that he doesn’t want to be a bit player”, ends the manager from Faenza.

A red-hot winter is expected.