The off-season in Formula 1 is not without its typical game of musical chairs: this driver moves there, that one is axed in favor of another, and some are left without a seat when the music starts again. But typically once the cars are launched, the contracts are signed and that's that. So when Caterham beat its rivals to the punch by unveiling its new car, we figured we'd heard the last of the driver shuffles for the season. But that wasn't to be the case.
Go to the British Grand Prix and the local fans will be cheering on their hometown heroes Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button. At the Australian Grand Prix they'll cheer for Mark Webber. In Spain they pull for Fernando Alonso. In Germany, it's showtime for Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher. Not every country with a Formula One race is represented on the grid as well, but India will be when the F1 circus rolls into town in late October.
How the mighty have fallen. But when they do, someone else invariably needs to fill their shoes. And so comes two parallel developments from the lower rungs of the Formula One ladder.
Following the sale of Spyker F1 (again), the new owners have announced the team's new name: Force India. Indian investor Vijay Mallya got together with former Spyker Cars CEO Michiel Mol to buy the team from the financially-troubled niche sportscar manufacturer, which it now seems had no business in F1 to begin with. Spyker itself had acquired the team from Midland, who in turn had purchased it from Jordan, changing the name and image with each new owner.