Saturday, November 21, 2009

Who will race for the Silver Arrow Mercedes in 2010?

Mercedes-Benz traditionally has been one of the early power houses in F1 and finally after 55 years, Mercedes is back in grand prix racing as a constructer ever since taking over Brawn GP a few days back. Though the McLaren Mercedes alliance has been one of the most enduring one in the sport and has lasted 15 years and it is quite possible that it may even go on to last 21 years after their revised contract, in which McLaren buys back its shares while Mercedes supplies engines till 2015. For years Mercedes wanted a German driver for the team but McLaren has usually gone with Finnish or British driver and for 2010 they have pulled a major coup and has pulled the rug under Mercedes by recruiting Jenson Button the 2009 World Champion who will team up with Lewis Hamilton the 2010 Champion. It will be a dream team for all the British marketing firms as finally McLaren has two British drivers who have won the Championship in the last 2 seasons. Crucially, Button will once again bring the #1 to the team while Mercedes after buying Brawn who won both the titles last year had to go through one more season to reclaim the #1 position.

Though the team has said that it wants to become an international power house team, it is most likely to have 2 German drivers in its cockpits. Though for F1, there is nothing better than a Great Britain-Germany rivalry but then Mercedes could be forced to field 2 drivers who have raced in more than 200 races without even winning once. Well Rosberg never had a car which can win races while Heidfeld despite being a very promising driver never was in the right teams. Rosberg was considered to be the “Next Big Thing” of F1 while Heidfeld has become from being the nearly man to a vastly underestimate driver who is Mr Consistent. It may not be a team of superstars but it has enough talent and potential backed by an ideal machinery, could well go on and challenge the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull for the title.

Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, were no superstars as Button was more or less a “has-been” driver in 2009 with a single race win due to rain while Barrichello was one the world’s best # 2 driver who can be a good side-kick but never good enough to challenge for the crown but in 2009 both were fighting for the crown and now Button is a World Champion and will join McLaren while Barrichello despite his age still manages to find a seat in Williams.

For 2010 we will see Mercedes Grand Prix end up with Rosberg and Heidfeld, but you just cannot ignore 2 other drivers who had a chance to drive for the team and both are ex-Ferrari drivers. 2007 World Champion Kimi Räikkönen was in contention for a McLaren seat but due to money related issues and with Jenson Button joining the team, that option is closed but with Norbert Haug has always been impressed with Kimi and you can still have Kimi leading the charge for the Mercedes team for the next season.

The other option is something which has been going around in many circles but if you do look at the past, it was Mercedes which did support Michael Schumacher in his early career and though he has been retired from the sport for the last 3 years, he was still in contention to race for Ferrari as a replacement for Massa and if not for his injured neck, he could well have made a comeback but a more interesting link to the Mercedes team is that Ross Brawn was involved in all the 7 World Titles he has won with Ferrari and Benetton. It could be the most amazing comeback in the history of F1 and if one person can pull it off it can be only Schumacher but then he is soo much associated with Ferrari, it is actually strange to even imagine him driving for any other team apart from Ferrari but then never say never in F1 and he can be winning the championship next year with the Silver Arrow Mercedes.

One thing is sure and that is Mercedes is surely having one German driver and this is Rosberg but who will partner him is still a mystery and given the current scenario, you can expect anything and it can even lead to a Cinderella comeback for Schumacher.

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