Its been a week since the Grand Prix circus rolled into the last stop on its world tour in Brazil, with the world title already decided in Vettel’s favour and with the German having collected enough points to win the constructors outright on his own it was all about goodbyes. The 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix waved goodbye to the V8 engines (which Romain Grosjean gave an unfortunate explosive send off to), the 2009 aero rules and Mark Webber. After 217 Grand Prix’s and 9 victories Mark Webber has hung up his helmet at Milton Keynes to head to Porsche and the World Endurance series, a much loved out spoken Aussie who found as much support at Silverstone as he did in Melbourne.
Its been interesting in the build up to his departure that Newey stated that Mark was the better driver at feeling changes within the car so he could be sorely missed next year at Milton Keynes who will now have to rely on Vettel’s and Ricciardo’s feedback over the course of the season.
Furthermore it emerged after much speculation that Ross Brawn will also be standing down at Mercedes and will have two men taking his place. Toto Wolff will take over the business and organisational side while Paddy Lowe will look after the technical, a structure very similar to that of Red Bull’s with Horner and Newey.
Also leaving will be certain other drivers but who they are still remains a mystery. Teams are desperate for cash due to the hike in costs for next seasons V6 engine package and the new development costs associated with the rule change leaving many a pay driver rubbing his hands with glee. Pastor Maldonado has been confirmed at Lotus alongside Romain Grosjean after the Quatum investment deal has still not come to fruition. Giving Lotus up to 30 million of PVDSA cash and a race winning driver (not the worst combination) and leaving Nico Hulkenberg still searching for that top team drive. This leaves 2 seats at Sauber, Force India and Caterham with another lone seat at Marussia to fill. Force India is the likely destination for Sergio Perez who has found sponsorship to offset the salary of Nico Hulkenberg next year, as for the other seats not much else is known for sure as Force India will be the next piece of the jigsaw. Paul Di Resta is looking more and more like switching to Indy Car where his cousin Dario Franchitti had great success until an accident this year caused the 40 year old to retire on medical advice.
Also for next year the FIA have proposed giving out a trophy for most pole positions in a season, which is surely a good thing. Hopefully we will see qualifying league tables on Saturdays too to keep track of the bid for the trophy. Finally Bahrain is set to be a night race as expected in 2014.
6 weeks to go until the 2014 cars fire up for January testing!