Hi there folks, here is a quick roundup of the driver and team news and rumours from F1 and the IRL of the past couple of days.
We will start with F1 and the big piece of driver news was at Renault where after months of speculation as to potential trigger happy driver changes that Flavio Briatore likes, what happened.... Nothing!!! They have re-signed Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet for another year. The Alonso signing is not surprising but there were some eyebrows raised about Piquet. For all intents and purposes Nelsinho was blown out of the weeds by Alonso and his only result of note was a lucky second place at Hockenheim. The rest of the time he was off the pace of Alonso and very accident prone. He did show improvement as the season wore on, but not nearly to the level that Fernando did. I guess the Renault philosophy this time around was the better the devil you know than the devil you don't.
Honda has still yet to confirm their drivers but Nick Fry has hinted that Jenson Button at least will be back. Keep in mind that these days Fry has no authority in this matter, but he still is a bigwig at the team and knows alot. The team are also planning to test Bruno Senna as a possible replacement for one of the drivers, likely the aging Barichello. Barichello has been the better driver for much of the year, but he is 36 and not getting any younger. That team needs some youthful energy soon at unfortunately neither Rubens or Jenson have it.
Moving stateside for the IRL and there are plenty of rumours going around, some credible, some not so, here are the big three that I have heard thus far.
The first has to do with three time champ Sam Hornish Jr, who has had a dreadful season on the track in NASCAR this year. SI.com is reporting that he may return to the IRL for next year as he is unhappy in stock cars. This is unlikely to happen because for one he is making assloads of Money in NASCAR for finishing 20th while he could theoretically be a winner in the IRL again, the money would be significantly lower. Secondly is that there are no top drives available for 2009 unless someone runs a third car or Helio Castroneves can't drive, which does not appear to be the case. He will not return to the IRL for peanuts with a midfield team, and Roger Penske is not going to let him join Ganassi or AGR without a fight, especially as the captain has invested significant amounts of money in his stock car adventure. Chances of seeing Hornish in an Indycar fulltime next year are slim to none, but we were not expecting to see Dario Franchitti back either........
The second has to do with KV racing and their ever bleak future. An article on goldcoast.com.au reports that Aussie Vinyards owner Craig Gore has decided to back out of motor racing for family reasons. This coincidentally comes at the same time the negotiations over the future of Surfers Paradise are happening. If this is true then it will be a big blow to KV racing, but not necessarily a fatal one. Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser are smart men and have a pretty good racing team with very good drivers, potentially an attractive proposition for any potential sponsors. Both men are also well connected and very wealthy and will probably have the funds to start the season sponsorless while courting sponsors. While this may not be a fatal blow to KV racing, it may be a fatal blow to the surfers paradise race. Here is the Link: http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2008/11/07/21135_gold-coast-news.html
There are rumours floating around that Sarah Fisher is trying to get sponsorship for a full season next year and drive on the ovals herself and hire Darren Manning for the road and street courses plus a second car for Indy. If this happens it would be great, but I imagine that the odds of that are happening are quite slim, although not out of the question. Sarah is a charismatic woman and a pretty good race car driver and could very well convince Dollar General to fork out the cash for a full season. I will believe it when I see it, but I hope it happens.
That's all for now folks. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments section and I will answer them as soon as possible. I may look into getting a tagboard for Q & A, but I don't know if they are free and I don't know much about HTML, so if you can help me with that as well please do so in the comments!!!!