The gall of the asterisk

Formula 1 documentation is usually rather dull, often consisting of little more than lists. There are new rules, lists of dates, lists of entries, lists of justifications for decisions and so on and so forth. And often in these case the big news is hidden away, the only sign being a small asterisk, indicating that there is a condition attached to the item listed. When the F1 calendar comes out there are often asterisks attached, indicating that the race in question may not happen or highlighting that there are problems that have yet to be solved. This year, for example, there was an asterisk next to the Canadian Grand Prix for some months, indicating that the people in Montreal needed to find a way to make the race work without having the benefit of sharing freight costs with Indianapolis. The problem was solved and the asterisk went away.

The forthcoming Formula 1 entry list should be a list of 22 cars. It will have the numbers for next year (but one can guess these based on the system employed in previous years) and it may have a few names of drivers that we do not know. If not there will be the much-used To Be Announced (TBA) annotation. There may be the name of a sponsor of two but these tend not to be introduced in this way in this modern age of corporate communication.

There may be 24 cars listed, depending on whether there is some regulatory requirement for Prodrive to maintain its entry for 2009, but the most interesting thing will be to see if there are any asterisks alongside the names of the 11 teams that we expect to see competing in 2008. With the FIA still investigating both McLaren and Renault it is possible that we will see an invasion of them, which would, no doubt, lead to hundreds of stories about the teams being at risk.

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