Guest Author - Christine Blachford
For the 2007 season, we have 22 drivers. They are numbered in the order they finished last season, so world champion Alonso will be driver 1. There is no number 13 – who knew sportsmen were superstitious – so the numbering system goes up to 23.
The first two drivers, like I mentioned, are Fernando Alonso and his new partner Lewis Hamilton. Alonso has moved over to McLaren Mercedes, and is joined by rookie youngster, who has risen through the ranks of junior formulas. Alonso is the double world champion and will be looking to defend his crown, but he will need to settle down in his new team before he can start achieving his targets.
The next pairing belong to the championship winning constructors from last year – Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen driving for Renault. Fisichella will be looking to come out from the shadow of his former partner and winning demon Alonso, whilst Kovalainen is the newest Finn to join the F1 force and will want to impress on his debut performance.
It caused a lot of stir in the Formula 1 world, when former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen announced that he was going to be driving for Ferrari in 2007. There had been plenty of rumours circulating, but when it was finally announced, it unsettled a lot of people. Raikkonen is going to have to take the place of the now-retired Michael Schumacher, and they are enormous boots to fill. I cannot imagine the pressure. He’s joined by Massa, who will be trying to prove himself against a team-mate that he could have a chance against – but whether he will manage anything is yet to be seen.
Finally a team that are staying the same, Honda Racing are sticking with Button and Barrichello for the 2007 season. Following Jenson Button’s maiden win last season, he will be anxious to get more of the same, and I imagine Barrichello is going to continue his supporting role as second driver.
BMW Sauber are featuring Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica. Kubica showed some signs of genius last year, so we will be hoping to see more of the same in the 2007 season, but it is difficult without the engineering beneath him. Heidfeld is a bit arrogant and always appears to be aiming to follow Schumacher’s path, but he is just not good enough.
Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli are driving for Toyota this year, another team who are going for consistency rather than spending big bucks on drivers. Although, saying that, Ralf is paid much more than what he is worth. Last year was very disappointing for Toyota so we will be hoping for many more podium finishes and maybe even a win.
Red Bull Racing combine experience with talent, featuring David Coulthard who has started over 200 Grand Prixs now. He knows how to win, he knows how to fight, and all he needs is a chance and he’ll grab it. Webber returns to a team he knew in a previous format (Red Bull used to be Jaguar who Webber drove for before they changed.) Webber had a disastrous season last year, with many retirements and not many points. He will be hoping for good things this year.
The final drivers are Rosberg and Wurz in the Williams, Sato and Davidson in the Super Aguri, Albers in the Spyker, with his team-mate and the entire Toro Rosso team still to be confirmed.