Ahead of tonight's round of the CDM Boremula 1 World Championship at the Hockenheimring, there have been a number of changes to the driver line-up. Some are moving teams for reasons that need a bit of a lengthy explanation, while others are joining the series to replace drivers who, unfortunately, no longer wish to, or cannot feasbily take part in the championship.
The series was set up to roughly mimic the 1997 Formula One World Championship, with teams and driver line-ups being determined by a three-session Pre-Season Test. This has been considered a resounding success so far as the cars displayed in each respective third of the order have been accurate, but the complications begin when drivers can no longer participate, and new, untested blood is brought in to replace them.
Luckily, the whole grid has been incredibly co-operative throughout this first half of the season, and there are drivers that are more than understanding about the fact that some shuffling must take place to continually follow the aesthetic the championship aims to fit.
Here are the changes to the driver and team line-ups ahead of the seventh round, which leads us into a six-week summer break;
Ngoc Khanh Nguyen will leave the team and head to Tyrrell after a tough start to the championship. The Vietnamese driver sits 19th in the standings with just 3 points, off the back of a promising pre-season test.
Taking his seat will be Aaron Smith II, who showed fantastic promise at Silverstone in the Tyrrell, in a direct swap that hopes to put another Jordan in the mix at the top half of the order.
Prost Mugen Honda
Craig MacLeod Evans has unfortunately had to leave the series due to commitments elsewhere, and we wish him the very best. In his place, comes ex World GT Champion Pete Harrod, keeping the driver pairing (with Tim Perry) strong and consistent.
Jakub Szymanski has given up his seat at Stewart, after being unimpressed with his early-season performances, but has been picked up by Lola for the remainder of the season, partnering Martin Kenyon.
Stewart hope to have more points on the board as reigning double NEVO Formula 3 Champion Bart Daelman brings his expertise to the squad. In 1997 there were often Stewarts up front before mechanical failures, so Bart may be the man to replicate that... just without the blow-ups...
As well as Ngoc Khanh Nguyen joining the team from Jordan, Tyrrell will have a brand new driver competing at Hockenheim in the form of James Underhill. James was brought in to replace a driver that had left the series, but due to a mix-up, was left without a seat. As Hasse Rømer is unavailable for the German Bore Prix, and James has put a lot of time in already, he has been given the nod to race as a reserve driver, if you will.
It's great to see new drivers still willing to come in and join the championship, help boost numbers back to what they were early on. Unfortunately, there has only been one occasion where the field met its capacity of 24 - the first round at Phillip Island. Since then, the grid has been less than 20-strong at three rounds.
Still, the positive vibe that the series is creating stays strong, and everyone involved is super excited about tonight's race. It'll be live across the Chaz Draycott Media YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and Twitch Channel - a link to the YouTube Broadcast is below.
All the action will start live from 7:45pm BST, with Chaz Draycott and Jack Johns in the commentary box!
© Images by Gilles Gardner