While Stepneygate rolls on, almost buried this week is the news that the Spyker F1 team has dropped Christian Albers. Christian came to Formula One is 2005, after testing for the Minardi and Jordan teams since 2001. He is known as a topline touring car driver, having had great success in the German DTM series, and had been successful in making the switch from touring cars over to Formula One, something that had not really been done before.
At Jordan/MF1/Spyker he has had a solid career with 43 starts, despite continual turmoil with the team changing hands, a designer merry go round, and many other things to deal with. But the news has come this week that his sponsorship has dried up, and that he is out of the team immediately. This is a sad thig for Formula One. With only 22 seats available it is sad that drivers are still having to pay to get a drive. Formula One should be the cream of the crop, but it’s not, particularly at the bottom end of the grid.
Christian Albers is one who did deserve a seat in Formula One. he has dealt with all the trouble around him with complete professionalism, and he is a very fast driver. This year he has struggled to keep up with rookie driver Adrian Sutil, but I would suspect that it is more a case of Albers having more trouble adapting to the car and tires than Sutil, something we have already seen at McLaren, Ferrari and Renault this year, after all at Formula One level drivers do not just forget how to drive overnight, and he cannot have been helped by Spykers apparent lack of testing compared to other teams this year.
As usual with Formula One, as one driver exits, a line forms to take over his seat, much in the same way as vultures circle dead prey. Being fastest off the mark has been Honda Racing test driver Christian Klien, who has actually tested with the team this week. Amid the glowing “it’s good for me, and good for Honda” reports, someone has put up some money to make this happen. Honda in the past has not been willing to lend out their test drivers, just look at Anthony Davidson, who got close to a couple of seats in the past, but each time Honda would not let him take up the race set, holding him instead to keep testing. Eaither way, somethig appears to have changed in Honda policy.
Also circling around the drive is Indias Narian Karthikeyan. Narian is known to have some sponsorship handy, and is also a Williams Grand Prix tester, although not getting much seat time this year due to the changed testing regulations. He is a very useful driver, and will be a good prospect for Spyker.
Don’t kid yourself that we will see an absolute top line driver sitting in the seat st Spyker come the next Grand Prix, it will be a good driver for sure, but I can guarantee it will be the best driver available with the biggest budget, even if it is not put into those words. Just check out the glowing press releases around the time the new driver is introduced, there will be one there introducing some new sponsors for the Spyker team.