London, Tuesday: Formula One commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has suggested a game of musical chairs to speed up the process of completing the 2010 F1 entry list.
Often the driver merry-go-round during the close season is figuratively referred to as “musical chairs” because there are inevitably more drivers than remaining F1 seats, but Ecclestone’s idea is to take that suggestion literally, settling who will drive where in 2010 through a version of the popular children’s party game.
With this morning’s announcement that Pedro de la Rosa will drive for Sauber, now just five race seats remain – one each at Renault, Toro Rosso and Campos, and both at USF1. “Now everyone’s pretty bored of waiting for the teams to confirm their drivers,” Ecclestone reasoned, “so it makes sense to just get the whole thing out of the way in one go.”
Drivers such as Kazuki Nakajima, Jaime Alguersuari, Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld are all currently without 2010 seats; they will be joined by potential newcomers like F2 champion Andy Soucek and former GP2 drivers Vitaly Petrov and Jose Maria Lopez to be in with a chance of winning the drives.
“What will happen is that we’ll put all of them in a room, turn on the music and get them to walk around the five chairs in the centre of the floor,” Ecclestone revealed. “When the music stops, they all sit down and the five seated drivers get the race seats. Simple, really. I might even put in on TV. And charge for it.”
It is believed that a similar scheme was tried at Mercedes earlier this year, but it failed when Michael Schumacher deliberately pushed Heidfeld over and stole his chair.
When asked what song would be used for the game, Ecclestone replied: “The Chain. Obviously.”