This week off between Korea and India has proven to be particularly necessary. Besides the title fight taking a dramatic or inevitable turn (depending on your point of view) we have also seen some dramatic driver line up changes, political changes at the top of F1 and F1 teams as well as the beginning of gossip focused on next year.
While on the one hand the top team driver market is settled, there are now some open seats at the midfield teams which need to be filled. To my mind, this year has been one to forget for the midfield. Both Sauber and Williams had cars this year that could fight at the top but were let down by inconsistent driving. There is no doubt that Sauber should be ahead of Mercedes and maybe Williams too. How many races did Maldonado go after Spain without scoring a single point? A lot. How many races has Bruno Senna had where he was completely anonymous?
While Sauber is a bit of a shut case, Force India and Williams are not. There is no shortage of drivers on the market, the issue is trying to figure out which one is F1 worthy. And that is where the rub is.
See, while most of the F1 field has graduated from GP2, the most recent recruits have had alarmingly little success, and have more often than not made complete nuisances of themselves. Grosjean, Perez, Maldonado, to name a few.
Nor is the Red Bull Development program doing much better. After sacking both drivers (yes Buemi is the reserve at Red Bull) Ricciardo and Vergne have both underwhelmed at Toro Rosso. Now I personally think that they have not been in a position to succeed, but the fact that both driver programs are failing so comprehensively means that F1 teams are in a bit of a lurch.
There are options, but it will be interesting to see how these two midfielders deal with the lack of obvious talent in the lower ranks.