Behind the scenes at the Hungarian GP Far be it from us to comment on what the other teams get up to. But, given that Christian Klien’s first lap flight in the Hungarian Grand Prix was caused by Jacques Villeneuve getting his left front wheel stuck ahead of Christian’s right rear, the F1 press corps found it pretty funny that his team’s press release made absolutely no mention of the incident.
With the three week break coming up – one could hardly call it a holiday as work intensifies to deal with the last six races – the Silly Season was in full swing in Budapest and there have been a huge number of suggested driver changes for next year. The biggest squabble seems to centre on BAR, Williams and Button. If we assume Jenson will have to move to Williams, then the latest theory as to next year’s BAR line-up is Takuma Sato and Rubens Barrichello.
The Brazilian is rumored to have finally had enough of being Michael Schumacher’s whipping boy at Ferrari and will be heading off to BAR, now run by his old mate and fellow countryman, Gil de Ferran. Who would replace “Rubinho?” Why, none other than Felipe Massa, currently with Sauber, but actually still under contract to the Italians since his year as a test driver for them a couple of years ago. Button would find himself alongside Webber at Williams, while Heidfeld would stay with his German masters in the new BMW team created by them buying Sauber.
One story that has actually been confirmed this weekend is that the Jordan team will continue to race with Toyota engines next year, except that the team will then change its name to Midland F1. It’s fair to say that the Jordan motorhome has not exactly been packed with party people this year. In the days when eccentric Irishman Eddie Jordan was in charge, the sound of clinking glasses and laughter coming from the yellow bus was loud enough to drown out the noise of the F1 engines.
So, in a move to spice up their image, the team has employed former Benetton, Sauber, Stewart and Jaguar driver, Johnnie Herbert in the strangely titled role of “Sporting Relations Manager.” Essentially, he is in charge of making sure people have a nice time when they visit the team, as well as raising its profile with the press. And he gets paid for it! Can we have a job like that please?
There was another new name in the paddock this weekend, when Minardi ran Chanoch Nissany in their third car on Friday morning. The 42 year old was by far the oldest man on track and also had the honor of being the first ever Israeli to take part in a grand prix meeting. Unfortunately, he was way off the pace!
There were plenty of dark glasses being worn at Budapest Airport on Monday morning, as Red Bull threw another of its Sunday night “End of Event” parties for the F1 folk. With the prospect of a few days off as the next race is not until 21 August, everyone seemed to be partying particularly hard and that included about one third of the F1 drivers. The venue was the fantastic Citadella Gardens, which perched on top of a hill, provided breathtaking night time views of the city and the river Danube. Red Bull Racing