With three races left in the Formula One season the musical chairs have begun.
So far, the exchange of drivers will see Fernando Alonso of Spain switch from Renault to Ferrari next season in a three-year deal said to be worth in the region of $36 million to the two-time world champion.
At present, he is due to spearhead the Italians' 2010 title challenge alongside Felipe Massa, provided the Brazilian sufficiently recovers from the life-threatening head injury he sustained this season.
Of course, that means there is no place at Ferrari for Kimi Raikkonen, who won the title for them in 2007.
The Finn is apparently reluctant to leave, but the blow could be softened if, as is rumored, he gets to join Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next year.
All this is very interesting, as the teams start forming their ranks for what will be a very important season for the sport next year, when Formula One will surely hope to banish the memories of another scandal-ridden campaign.
However, just for the sake of argument, how about this for a radical idea to shake things up even further.
Why not make the drivers independent in future? By that I mean, sign them to the FIA but not to any specific team, and make them race in a different car at each grand prix?
As you know, there is an on-going discussion as to whether it is the driver or the car that makes the difference.
And, while it is obviously a combination of the two, it was interesting to hear Lewis Hamilton describe his title defense with McLaren this year as a “non-starter”, simply because his car was not up to scratch.
Here is how it would work. Drivers would test in all the cars during the off-season when the various mechanics and designers would do everything needed to get the dimensions and set-ups as close to ideal as possible for each man.
Come the start of the season, the drivers would then compete for each team in a season-long rotation.
To start the process at the opening grand prix, the last place finisher from the previous season’s driver’s championship would be first behind the wheel for the reigning constructor champions, and so on down the pecking order.
Newcomers to the F1 circuit would take the position in the order of the driver they replaced.
It is a similar idea to the worst teams in the NFL from the previous season getting the first pick in the draft for the following season in order to promote more parity, at least on paper.
Obviously, there would be a lot of technical issues to overcome, and I am interested to hear your views on the impracticalities.
However, some of the plusses would be that the potential for corruption and cheating would be reduced, as no driver would be affiliated to any one team.
It would provide some of the smaller teams, who currently just make up the numbers in Formula One, with a major boost, as a star driver might actually make them competitive.
At the end of the season, we’d not only know which is the best car, as the constructors championship would still exist, but also who is the best driver per se, not who had the best technology behind him.
What do you think?