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F1 Off-Season News #2

BBC HD Scandinavia
Image via Wikipedia

There are always interesting stories floating around in the F1 world. I want to talk about some of the most interesting.

Broadcasting Changes: HD and BBC Commentary Switch

Formula 1 Administration are now making the switch to send the world feed out to broadcasters in HD from 2011 onwards. Broadcasters such as the BBC are opting to pick up this HD feed and will transmit it on their BBC One HD channel. F1 races will look phenomenal in HD, especially Singapore so I can’t wait to see it. This is what I bought an HD set-top box for.

In other BBC coverage news, as I’ve mentioned previously, David Coulthard will step up to the commentary box to replace Jonathan Legard. More recently the BBC have also confirmed that DC will still be part of the familiar trio with Jake and Eddie before and after races, and will only miss the time he has to spend sprinting up to the commentary box before the action begins. During that short time, Eddie Jordan will get a chance to give more detailed, serious views on the action than he could before and take a more central role in analysing things.

Liuzzi, Sutil, Di Resta and Hulkenberg all in the running for Force India drives

Despite Liuzzi having a contract for this season, it looks as if the team wants to buy him out and replace him presumably with DTM champion Paul Di Resta. It was originally thought that Adrian Sutil was fairly safe in his seat but it has been suggested recently that VJ Mallya, the team owner was not happy with him for waiting until all other options were firmly closed before opting to resign.

Nico Hulkenberg is desperate for a race seat after a pretty good rookie year at Williams including a brilliantly judged pole position lap and a fighting drive at the start of the Brazilian race. If he doesn’t unseat Sutil, then he may end up having to settle for test and reserve driver which will be a massive shame for him. You would think that Mercedes would be interested in him to replace Heidfeld if that position is still vacant.

Liuzzi would then be a strong candidate to join HRT should they still need a second driver by that time. At the end of the day, Vitantonio will either keep his F1 drive, or get a big pay cheque for doing nothing. He may even get paid twice if he gets the HRT drive or a test role somewhere else.

Other drivers desperate to stay in F1 and those returning

It’s been reported recently that HRT not only snubbed both Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok for race seats, but they have gone ahead and signed an Indian F1 driver who last raced for Jordan in 2005, Narain Karthikayen. I had never heard of him until this announcement but it seems he’s been in the NASCAR Truck Series this season. He’s lucky to be able to come back as the F1 world has a very short memory and drivers are quickly forgotten with little chance of a return, with new up-and-coming talent always emerging.

While it is now is confirmed that the best Bruno Senna or Karun Chandhok can hope for is a test drive role ( Team Lotus said to be the target for Karun), the two ex-Sauber drivers from 2010: Pedro De La Rosa and Nick Heidfeld as well as potentially numerous other drivers we don’t know about, are all fighting for that last HRT spot. Who will get it is anyone’s guess, but it seems likely that whoever does will be bringing sponsorship money with them.

It’s a sad state of affairs and I’ll have more on this soon.