The brief lowdown on events over the past week, including David Coulthard’s surprise admission, advancements in Prodrive’s 2008 setup, BMWs driver lineup for next year and because I was away when it all happened, Toro Rosso’s inclusion of a Champion in their stable. Things are starting to take shape for the 2008 season, and these announcements only add to the already building excitement for another year of racing.
The hot news from today no less surrounds the new team that will feature on the 2008 grid, Prodrive. Headed by Benetton and Honda ex-chief, Dave Richard’s has spent the last year putting together a Formula One operation after winning the battle to secure himself a place in F1 with his own squad. Based around his existing Prodrive company that has fielded World Rally Cars among others, Richard’s has been trying to get himself in with an existing team so he can utilise their chassis. And because the rules regarding this are effectively changing for next season (although in all honesty they pretty much have for this year), David is well within his right to field an up-to-date Ferrari chassis, or BMW, Spyker, Renault or whomever he can strike a deal with.
It was always known that McLaren would be the likely partner for Prodrive, and today that relationship appears to have taken one step closer to completion. Although nothing has been signed yet, Dave announced today that McLaren are one of three possibilities, but the also closest and most likely.
McLaren is one of three possible options for us, but they are closest. We will not be able to make an announcement until next month but talks are progressing very well and we will be on the Formula One grid in 2008. Dave Richards.
BMW and Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced their 2008 driver lineups, declaring to all what most expected. BMW have retained both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and the pair will enter their second full season next year as team mates. The duo race well together, and although they occasionally swap tyre rubber, they perform to a high standard and thus far are placed in fifth and sixth in the driver’s title and BMW are comfortably third in the constructor’s.
Heidfeld has signed a two year deal with his German employers (for a reputed $7m per season) while Kubica is only on a one year extension.
Both Nick and Robert have delivered very strong performances in the course of this season. They have played a decisive role in enabling the BMW Sauber F1 team to firmly establish itself as the third best team in Formula One. Mario Theissen.
Toro Rosso also announced the pairing of Sebastian Vettel with Sebastien Bourdais for next year. Vettel was announced after Scott Speed left the team early following his altercation with team boss Franz Tost, and while I was enjoying warmer climes, Bourdais was signed up to the second seat. Although Vettel will gain some experience in the remining races this year, their lineup for 2008 is relatively weak. Bourdais is currently a triple Champ Car champion, and his talent is clear for all to see. But the adjustment to Formula One will not be easy and partnered with such a young and generally inexperienced driver like Vettel, STR are taking a considerable risk.
I am not pretending we are going to win races in 2008, though it would be awesome – but had I not tried I would have regretted it for the rest of my life. It certainly feels like it was time for me to go after a new challenge, given the right opportunity, and I think this is the case. Sebastien Bourdais.
Having said that though, Jacques Villeneuve did very well in his maiden year in 1996. Securing pole in his first race and almost beating Damon Hill to the chequered flag. Only an oil leak prevented the Canadian from winning on his first attempt. Another success from the States is Juan Pablo Montoya. Winning for Williams on many occasions, the Colombian showed great tenacity and proved popular with the fans. Unfortunately, his move to McLaren was poorly timed and the almost champion fell out of favour with the bosses. His talent though was great, and his transfer over the pond seemed to go just as smoothly as Villeneuve’s. Although it should be noted both Villeneuve and Montoya joined teams with excellent management structure and winning cars. We’ll have to wait and see how Bourdais performs in a less-than-great Rosso.
And finally, David Coulthard has made a surprise admission in his new autobiography regarding eating disorders. According to the 36 year old Scot, he used to make himself vomit in an attempt to reduce his weight to fall into line with his competitors. This happened when Coulthard was in his teens, and standing at six feet tall, DC was not a light weight. Admitting to having suffered from Bulimia has been welcomed by eating disorder charity Beat, and David hopes his story will help remove the stigma attached to the disorder.
In my mind, the only way I could keep my weight down was by making myself vomit. I became skin and bone but I weighed myself every morning, noon and night. In the evening, if I was half a pound heavier, I would get in the pool and swim. David Coulthard.