Formula One

Formula One Changes

By Brit Fryer Contributing Writer

The deck was shuffled again in Formula One. So, if you haven’t been following which driver is driving what in 2007, here’s a brief overview.

At The Front
Ferrari: Finn Kimi Raikkonen (+125 to win the F1 championship on, formerly of McLaren, inherits Michael Schumacher’s car, one that won’t lose a wing or suffer mechanical failure every other race. And Brazilian Felipe Massa, who broke through in 2006, vows not to play second fiddle to his new teammate.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: Ron Dennis’ team lured Fernando Alonso (+200,, the two-time defending world champion, away from Renault. He’ll pair up with Lewis Hamilton, last year’s GP2 winner.

Renault: Clearly fielding the dominant car the past two seasons with Alonso, boss Flavio Briatore will rely on veteran Giancarlo Fisichella. Heikki Kovalainen was promoted from a testing role to a race seat.

In The Middle
BMW Sauber: The team terminated Jacques Villeneuve last year and replaced him with Polish upstart Robert Kubica, who performed admirably. Kubica and teammate Nick Heidfeld should do fairly well in the team’s second season under BMW control.

Honda: Formerly British American Racing, Honda closed the gap in 2006. Englishman Jenson Button posted his first grand prix victory in thrilling fashion at the Hungaroring and outperformed teammate Rubens Barrichello.

Red Bull Racing: Red Bull regressed in 2006, scoring 18 less points than in 2005. David Coulthard, who earned the team’s lone podium finish last season, welcomes Australian Mark Webber, who’s trying to rebound from a disastrous
stint at Williams.

Toyota: The team with the ultimate financial backing posted one podium in all of 2006, but Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli enter their second season on Bridgestone rubber.

Williams: Frank Williams’ once-powerful team has been rubbish lately. Nico Rosberg limped through his first season in F1 as Williams totaled 20 DNFs. Austrian Alexander Wurz gets his first chance at a full-time drive.

At The Back
Spyker: In September, the former Jordan and Midland team was sold to Dutch sports car manufacturer Spyker. The drivers? Christjian Albers has never scored a point in his two F1 seasons, and Adrian Sutil has never made a grand prix start.

Super Aguri: Short on speed and just about everything else, the Japanese team retained Takuma Sato and handed the second seat to England’s Anthony Davidson, once an impressive test driver for Honda.

Toro Rosso: The Red Bull-backed team, at times, outran its big brother. Though no official announcement has been made, Italian Vitantonio Luizzi and American Scott Speed are expected to return in 2007. Remember, Toro Rosso
was lowly Minardi not long ago.

NEW DRIVES: January is the month Formula One teams show their hand.Renault and Honda unveiled their 2007 machines Wednesday — Renault the R27 and Honda the RA107. Red Bull followed with its RB3. This all came after BMW Sauber, Ferrari, McLaren and Toyota showed off their stuff.McLaren is particularly proud of its new MP4-22.

“Once we get the MP4-22 on track, the progress we can make from now until the first race will be really big,” Alonso said, “and I have no doubt that we will fight for the championship.”

The season begins with the March 18 Australian Grand Prix.

WORKAHOLIC: Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher just can’t stay away. After announcing his retirement from Formula One last season, Schumacher is remaining at Ferrari as a consultant. He has unlimited access to Ferrari’s F1 program.

“He’ll come over whenever he wants to, and he will attend some GPs. He knows everything about racing and F-1. He will help us with our decisions,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport.

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