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Thinking aloud

NEWS STORY
01/03/2006

At a time when the mainstream media is preparing to launch its 2006 F1 season previews, sections of the 'specialised' media are already looking ahead to 2007, speculating as to who will go where.

Of course, there is a question mark over Michael Schumacher, who, if faced with another difficult season like 2005, could well opt to call it a day, and settle down to watch his kids grow up. Furthermore, at a time when the average age of the 2006 drivers is three months short of twenty-nine, David Coulthard and Jacques Villeneuve, not to mention Rubens Barrichello and Giancarlo Fisichella, will need results rather than Botox and Oil of Olay if they are to see another season or two of F1 action.

Sadly, there is continued speculation over the future of Renault, which of course, should the French team give clear proof that it is considering withdrawing from the sport, would have a marked effect on the driver market.

However, is Pitpass alone in thinking that at a time when Renault, one of the sport's true innovators, should be basking in the warm glow of its (double) World Championship success, it is forever being hounded into commenting on its future commitment to the sport.

Of course, the ambivalent response from Carlos Ghosn hasn't exactly helped matters, but why is the French manufacturer constantly being singled out with regards its commitment to F1?

Can we honestly say - especially in light of some of statements made by Max Mosley in recent months, not forgetting the fast approaching 'manufacturer commitment window' - that any manufacturer is truly committed to F1 in the long-term?

With regards the manufacturers, some stories that have appeared in recent weeks have hardly been worth the ink or bandwidth; stories such as Eddie Jordan's prediction that Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn could create their own F1 team, which in turn led to speculation that the German might approach Volkswagen with a view to running Audi engines.

Michael and Ross are both experienced enough to know exactly how much money is needed to enter F1, they are also well aware how much more is needed in order to be seriously competitive. Furthermore, at a time when Max Mosley is making things more difficult for the manufacturers, Volkswagen - which has done pretty well so far without F1 involvement - is hardly likely to be chomping at the bit.

Then again, stories such as these, in addition to other well-placed items with the friendly media regarding David Richards and other F1 wannabes, might have the manufacturers running scared, worried that Bernie's new 2008 style F1 can do without them.

As if.

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