And no answers forthcoming! It seems the F1 silly season has left it to the last minute to get into full swing and with nothing coming from the team’s in Abu Dhabi last weekend, we’re still none the wiser.
Obviously the biggest talking point of the weekend is the future of 2007 world champion, Kimi Räikkönen. While the iceman was on World Rally duty in Wales, his management team were spotted in the Williams hospitality area at Yas Marina working on the deal. The sticking point is said to be Sir Franks unwillingness to give Kimi equity in the team as part of the deal, something the Finn is apparently keen on. It does look as though both sides are keen to iron out any hitches to the deal, Sir Frank jetted out to Qatar after the race to continue talks with QNB over the sponsorship deal that would enable them to sign the Finn.
Williams have been clear that Kimi is just one of several options open to them, but is clearly their preferred choice. Other options include Force India’s, Adrian Sutil, who’s future still hangs in the balance with Nico Hulkenberg looking to take his seat for next year.
Bruno Senna could still be a surprise contender for Williams. Doubts persist over Kubica’s fitness for the start of 2012 and it’s believed Renault (Lotus for 2012) are keen to partner Petrov with GP2 Champion, Romain Grosjean until the pole is fit enough. Rubens Barrichello told reporters last weekend that he is looking at all options to secure a place on the grid for his 20th season, including “coming with a sponsorship package if that’s what it takes”.
Williams last option, albeit an outside bet is the team’s test driver, Valtteri Bottas, who is getting his first taste of a Williams around a circuit has previously completing straight line tests.
It is widely accepted the Marussia Virgin squad have finalised their line up for next year with Frenchman Charles Pic. Although no official announcement has been made by the team, Pic’s scheduled run with Team Lotus in the young driver test was cancelled, all but confirming another ‘worst kept secret’.
An unexpected twist to come out of the paddock at Abu Dhabi was the news that veteran Italian, Jarnu Trulli’s seat with Lotus/Caterham isn’t safe despite signing an extension back in September. It’s unclear at present, who would be in line to replace him, but his ongoing poor performances in relation to his team mate are a concern for his employers.