The F1 circus is back in town

The new Formula One season is only a month away and amongst all the glitzy unveiling of brand new cars, this year the fans have been treated to the traditional drivers merry go round.

In recent years the driver changes haven’t been of much interest, but now all hell has broken loose with a few surprises. Like a big game of musical chairs, it seems that no race seat is safe for the 2010 campaign.

Out of the thirteen teams set to race in F1 this year, only two have kept their original line-ups for the coming season, with Red Bull and Toro Rosso opting for the usual suspects.

Ferrari started the ball rolling by ditching 2007 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen in favour of Fernando Alonso, whilst McLaren have created the mouth watering all Brit “dream team” of Button and Hamilton, which should spark some tasty on track rivalries.

Toyota and BMW may have withdrawn from the sport, but loyal fans can still be treated to some new teams from Spain, America and the UK including the return of Lotus, now under Malaysian ownership.

The New Boys

Every season the fans always get treated to some fresh faces, for the drivers most are condemned to the Pedro Diniz wall of shame, mainly because they are not very good. However, this season promises to be different, Ayrton Senna’s nephew, Bruno, will be driving for new team Campos Meta. While Renault have snapped up Vitaly Petrov, the first and so far only Russian to race in F1, and from their track record probably the last.

USF1 have confirmed Jose Maria Lopez as their first driver, while Virgin has acquired the services of Lucas Di Grassi and Williams have taken a gamble with GP2 star Nico Hulkenburg.

The paddock will be fit to bursting in 2010 as 26 cars take to the grid with most teams going for an even mix of youth and exuberance teamed with age and experience in their driver line-ups.

The Old Boys

The youngsters may have stolen the spotlight in the run up to the new campaign but in truth it would be cruel to forget that there are still some veteran drivers on the grid.

The main credit must go to Rubens Barrichello who is still in the sport at the age of 37, now racing for the Williams team. The field will still include the experienced pro’s Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber, Pedro De La Rosa and Felipe Massa, drivers who easily qualify for the F1 retirement home.

Is it all just a little bit of history repeating?

Perhaps the most notable change for 2010 will be the return of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, who has been lured from retirement to drive for the Mercedes Benz team, alongside fellow German Nico Rosberg.

The German has already been tipped by many to give fellow competitors a run for their money in the race to the championship, despite being 41.

Another noted driver returning to F1 will be Pedro De La Rosa, who has signed for Sauber at the tender age of 39, alongside Kamui Kobayashi. The Spaniard never had the greatest career in F1, for the most part being resigned to the back of the grid with Arrows and Jaguar.

The spectators can only hope that De La Rosa’s comeback will be a success, although in my opinion it will probably end in tears.

The new season will get under way on March 12th at the Sakhir Circuit, Bahrain and from what we’ve seen so far it promises to be the most exciting season in years.

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