Formula One’s presence in the general mass media has been bit lacking over the last week or so, with only the odd trinket of news coming through.  It’s the annual time of peace and quiet – the calm before the storm you might say, because later this month we may have a few cars being launched and in February it’s officially a green light for F1 2010 when the pre-season test sessions get underway.  So, in a bid to keep you all entertained and clued up, here’s Badger’s round up of news trinkets and things we’ve learned about the upcoming season…

he looks a bit odd in Hamilton's clothes...

Drivers – the line up is close to completion, bar the lack of any drivers for USF1 – the current grid, as it stands today can be seen on our Cars and Drivers page, which itself is in development, waiting for the new liveries and driver press shots.  So in short, in terms of drivers we’ve had Button being told he’ll be ‘murdered’ by Hamilton – straight from the mouth of Eddie Irvine.  And in case you’re wondering who this Irvine character is, he’s an ex-F1 driver from Ireland – raced for Jordan, Ferrari and Jaguar.  He had one chance to be remembered, when competing for the title in 1999 – his teammate Schumacher was out for a few races after a crash.  He failed to beat the super fast Mika Hakkinen and Irvine joined the heap of has-beens in F1.  He’ll be remembered as one of the F1 playboys and hasn’t been in the frame for a while – until he heard about Button and Hamilton.  His opinions echo those of many, but will Lewis wipe the floor with Jenson?  – it’s something everyone will be watching for with interest in 2010.

Elsewhere, Heikki Kovalainen has said that his years at McLaren did him good and that he reckons Lotus will be a contending team… contending maybe, but with him and Trulli in the cockpits, it’s not looking too convincing that the team will be scooping loads of points in it’s debut year.  The PR mogul that is Richard Branson has been pretty quiet thus far, but it’s only a matter of time before the Virgin brand kicks off in F1 and shakes up the pack – the team is hotly anticipated as being one of the more exciting teams in the sport, alongside the already party-friendly Red Bull crew.

Branson - ready to rock up F1?

Going back to USF1 – they have been the butt of many jokes during the off-season so far, yet despite not signing any drivers at all, they are doing their upmost to convince that they are ready for 2010 with a brand new shiny website, twitter, facebook and youtube presence.  They’ve even released a video of them crash-testing the nose of the new car – we have to admit, here at the Sett that we’re pretty impressed with the team’s openess so far and hope it continues – so far the team are sticking to the ‘open-door’ policy they promised us… just hope they find some drivers soon, because they’re pretty crucial to the whole grand prix racing and the testing bit too.  On the subject of testing, the all-American team have announced that they are to test in the US come February.

Robert Kubica has informed the world that he’ll be taking part in this year’s Monte Carlo rally event – seems that he’s keen to try it out and see if Kimi’s recent rant about F1 being ‘boring and fuelled by politics’ are true relative to the world of driving around on your own and where driving through gravel is the correct thing to do… come to think of it, maybe Nelson Piquet should have a bash at rallying too – he seemed to enjoy the gravel in 2008 and 2009 and let’s face it – the chances of him getting back into F1 are slim to say the least.

In terms of the recent developments concerning Flavio Briatore – yes he’s won his court appeal and Bernie has said he’s welcome back in F1, whereas Max (unemployed) Mosley has said the ordeal is far from over – personal vendettas have been rumoured before and we’re sure that this political mess that is the start of 2010 for F1 will not the last we hear of courtroom battles… the joy.

Campos Meta – the quietest of all the new teams may have signed a driver by the name of Bruno Senna, but apart from that they haven’t announced much else except that they won’t make the first test in February and that a chap by the name of Tony Teixeira is likely to be buying / financially backing the team.  Tony is currently the boss of the A1GP series, a series which quite frankly was underwhelming.  If you haven’t heard of it don’t worry – you’re not missing much.

Schumacher has of course been confirmed with Mercedes GP and he visited Brackley last week to meet up with his old friend Mr Brawn.  Nothing much came from the visit, except Michael looked a little confused when one of the Mercedes guys showed him the 2010 car so far…

Lewis has been pretty quiet, as have Ferrari and their drivers.  Even Red Bull have been pretty hush-hush so far this year.  It’s definitely the calm before the storm… a storm that may kick off with Fernando Alonso due to make his first public appearence as a Ferrari driver on Monday – watch this space.