Grapevine: Silly Season in Full Swing

BAR may have failed to score a World Championship point so far this year but that has not prevented them becoming a key target for some of the sport's bigger stars in their quest to land a top-line seat in 2006

Grapevine: Silly Season in Full Swing

With Jenson Button looking almost certain to join Williams next year, with him unlikely to hit the much talked about performance related clause that kicks in after the Turkish Grand Prix, the possible vacancy has no shortage of candidates putting themselves forward as a possible replacement.

Autosport-Atlas understands that there are four candidates for either one or two seats at the team, depending on whether BAR decide to keep Takuma Sato on-board for another season.

Sources claim that the options have already been narrowed down to Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld, David Coulthard and Anthony Davidson - with preliminary talks already having begun about possible deals for next year.

Barrichello is under contract to Ferrari for next year but that does not necessarily mean he is definitely tied in - despite Ferrari insisting that they have no intention of ending the deal one year early to make a space for Felipe Massa.

Heidfeld's impressive performances for Williams this year have boosted his reputation a lot but are unlikely to be enough to allow him to get an extension to his current one-year deal for 2006, because of the Button situation.

He has been linked with a drive at Sauber, which is likely to have BMW engines next year, but sources close to the German have indicated that his management team are reluctant to make the switch to the Swiss team because the big changes that are set to take place imminently will take time to pay dividends.

They believe that BAR is a far better option for 2006.

Coulthard is already in talks with Red Bull Racing about staying on there for next year but is also understood to have had preliminary discussions with BAR for next year - and his new fired-up image would certainly suit BAR.

His current team boss Christian Horner is hopeful of keeping the Briton on board, however, and has told this week's Autosport that he is not worried by the BAR situation.

"We've been very happy with David and what he has contributed to the team," he said. "I'm not too distracted by any other rumours. If David wants to drive here and we want him, it will happen."

The failure of BAR to conclude a deal with any of these experienced stars would leave the way open for Davidson, who is holding out on his chance of landing a full-time Formula One chance.

Autosport reports this week that he recently turned down an offer to replace the injured Bruno Junqueira in the Newman/Haas Champ Car team because he is so set on F1.

He told this week's Autosport: "While I'm obviously desperate to get racing again, it would be mad to jack it all in when I've waited around F1 for so long.

"You've only got to look at Dan Wheldon, who's now an Indy 500 winner, but is desperate to get my seat. There are plenty of guys who would kill to be in my position."

shares
comments
Michael may Quit Soon, Says Ralf

Previous article

Michael may Quit Soon, Says Ralf

Next article

Grapevine: BAR: No F1 Drive for Patrick

Grapevine: BAR: No F1 Drive for Patrick
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era Plus

The back-bedroom world-beater that began a new F1 era

The first in a line of world beaters was designed in a back bedroom and then constructed in a shed. STUART CODLING recalls the Tyrrell 001

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future Plus

The clues Hamilton’s F1 contract afterthought gives to his future

The Formula 1 world reacted with surprise when it learned Lewis Hamilton’s long-awaited new Mercedes deal guarantees his presence on the grid only until the end of 2021. Both parties claimed publicly they were happy with the arrangement but, asks MARK GALLAGHER, is there more to it than that?

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again Plus

How a harshly ejected Red Bull star has been hooked by racing again

Driver-turned-DJ Jaime Alguersuari lost his love for motorsport when he was booted out of Formula 1 just as he was starting to polish his rough edges. Having drifted from category to category then turned his back on racing altogether in 2015, he’s come full circle and is planning a return in karts for fun

Formula 1
Apr 17, 2021
Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola Plus

Why Mercedes isn't confident it's really ahead of Red Bull at Imola

While Mercedes struck back against Red Bull by topping the times at Imola on Friday ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the overall picture remains incredibly close. Despite having a possible edge this weekend, the reigning Formula 1 world champion squad is not taking anything for granted...

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track Plus

What Mercedes must do to keep its F1 title challenge on track

Mercedes may find itself leading the drivers' and constructors' standings after Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but it is well-aware that it came against the odds, with Red Bull clearly ahead on pace. Here's what the Brackley team must do to avoid its crown slipping

Formula 1
Apr 16, 2021
Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent Plus

Why Tsunoda can become Japan’s greatest F1 talent

While Japan's fever for motor racing is well-documented, the country has yet to produce a Formula 1 superstar – but that could be about to change, says BEN EDWARDS

Formula 1
Apr 15, 2021
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021