When they start the European Grand Prix at Valencia on Sunday, you’re going to need a program to tell all the players.
Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but there are going to be some new faces so here’s a primer.
Romain Grosjean will replace Nelson Piquet Jr. at Renault behind team leader Fernando Alonso. Piquet was handed the pink slip after Hungary but the writing had been on the wall almost since the start of the season. Grosjean is French and it has been a number of years since the French "national team" has had a French driver. Grosjean is yet another rookie who has never driven an F1 car in other than a straight line.
|AP FILE PHOTO|
|Luca Badoer gunning for his first career championship point.|
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that veteran Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer will drive in place of the injured Felipe Massa this weekend. All eyes will be on him, because he will be aboard a rocket ship. Without a doubt, it will be the best Grand Prix car he’s ever been given to drive.
The fact that he has raced in 48 Grands Prix previously and has yet to score his first world championship point should not be a distraction.
Although it has not been officially announced that he’ll be through after this race, McLaren has made it very clear that anything less than a podium result by Heikki Kovalainen will see them pull the plug on Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.
The Finn has scored only nine points so far this season and is 12th in the standings. He’s really on the bubble.
A driver change could see Nick Heidfeld move across from BMW-Sauber.
Whether it is sooner – as in, this season – or later, depends on Heikki. Heidfeld’s loyalty to BMW pretty much ended when it announced it's pulling out of F1 at the end of this season, so he could make the jump at any time.