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Onslow-Cole was forced to play second-fiddle to Chilton at Silverstone
In the first two races at Silverstone yesterday, Tom Onslow-Cole moved over when leading to allow Aon/Arena Ford teammate Tom Chilton win the races, despite Onslow-Cole being ahead of Chilton in the standings going into the weekend. Despite some poor attempts from T-O-C to cover it up, these were clearly team orders. But why, you might be wondering, would the team favour one Tom over another?

The answer is easy. The operation is bankrolled by Tom Chilton's multi-millionaire father Grahame, who is vice-chairman of Aon Corporation, who lends its name to the team. Putting it simply, it is likely that Grahame (who is a big motorsports fan) has a large influence on what goes on at the team. Although he may not own the team, he probably has a larger say on what goes on than anybody else. He and Aon could be offering financial benefits to Arena for everytime Chilton Jr gets a victory. Alternatively, Grahame could just decide to take Tom and Aon's money elsewhere if he isn't happy with the Arena operation.

Thus, it makes complete sense for Arena to favour Chilton over Onslow-Cole. Onslow-Cole should just put up with it. He had to sit out the beginning of last year because he didn't have enough funding to get a drive, despite strong performances for WSR and Triple 8 in previous seasons. Team Aon picked him up later in the year and retained him for this year. Without Grahame Chilton's money, he wouldn't have a drive, and that's why he just has to accept being the number two driver.

The situation could be compared to the Red Bull Racing team in Formula 1, who were at the centre of a favouritism storm earlier in the year. There, the biggest influence on the way the team is run is owner Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull. He has funded Sebastian Vettel's career from very early on, so he is entitled to favour him over teammate Mark Webber. Any driver from outside of the Red Bull scheme entering the team should be aware of that.

The same can be said of Team Aon, even if Grahame Chilton is not technically a member of the team.

At the end of the day, motor racing is as much a business as it is a sport for many, and such decisions have to me made.

Photo credit: Pete Mainey (www.psmmotorsportimages.co.uk)
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Grahame Chilton (right) was at Silverstone to support son Tom (centre)
 
 
It was announced today that Lee McKenzie will host the BBC's coverage of the Japanese Grand Prix while regular anchor Jake Humphrey is covering the Commonwealth Games. This got me thinking: what if motor racing was a Commonwealth Games sport? Well here are the lineups, with a maximum of two drivers per nation, and F1 drivers not participating:

Australia – Will Power, Ryan Briscoe
Canada – Rob Wickens, Alex Tagliani
Cyprus – Eftihios Ellinas (won twice in FFord GB this year)
England – Justin Wilson, Oliver Turvey
Gibraltar – Tom Gladdis (lived on the Island during his childhood)
Guernsey – Andy Priaulx
India – Armaan Ebrahim, Narain Karthikeyan
Isle of Man – Greg Mansell, Alex Lloyd
Jersey – James Walker
Malaysia – Jazeman Jaafar, Fairuz Fauzy
New Zealand – Scott Dixon, Brendon Hartley
Northern Ireland – Adam Carroll, Will Buller
Pakistan – Adam Khan, Nur Ali
Scotland – Dario Franchitti, Paul di Resta
Singapore – Richard Bradley, Suriya Balakerisnan (both FBMW Pacific)
South Africa – Adrian Zaugg, Tomas Scheckter
Wales – Hywel Lloyd, Andy Meyrick

It's fair to say that Australia has the strongest lineup, with Scotland, England and New Zealand not too far behind.

Is there anybody I've missed? Perhaps someone with dual nationality that I didn't know about? Just drop me a comment.
 
 
As F1 has reached its summer break, I thought I would take a first look at how the driver market is shaping up for 2011. After the widespread merry-go-round of last winter, we can expect fewer changes for next year. However, there are still many drivers who will need to impress in the latter stages of 2010 in order to retain their drive next year. Furthermore, there are a few young drivers on form and looking to join the grid next year.

Let's start at the top. McLaren will retain their pairing of Lewis and Jenson, while Red Bull have both Vettel and Webber under contract, so it will take another favouritism row to make Webber up sticks and look elsewhere. Ferrari meanwhile took the paddock by surprise by resigning Felipe Massa despite being generally slower than his teammate Alonso. At Mercedes, Nico Rosberg has impressed and is set to remain with the team. Michael Schumacher has another two seasons on his contract with the team, but questions have been asked about whether he should continue with his comeback. Mercedes reserve Nick Heidfeld is a man who has a lot of experience of getting podium finishes out of unworthy cars from his years with Sauber and Williams, and would most likely step into any void left by Schumacher.

Renault have managed to resign Robert Kubica, while the pressure is on Vitaly Petrov to retain his seat alongside the Pole. Like most of us, the team have been satisfied with the rookie's performance, but are aiming high and are exploring their options. Heidfeld, who Renault turned down in favour of Petrov back in February, and Force India's Adrian Sutil are both options for them, while they have also been linked to another German Timo Glock, despite him being under contract with Virgin. The new team are unlikely to offer much resistence though if Glock wanted to leave the team.

At Williams, Rubens Barrichello intends to stick around with the team for his 19th season in F1, while Nico Hulkenberg has started to put in some consistent performances after a disappointing start to his first season.

While Force India would want to hold on to Sutil, he could well be tempted to move to a bigger team like Renault. Tonio Liuzzi is under threat from Paul di Resta for the second seat, while Karun Chandhok could prove a popular signing in the team's 'home' country with the first Indian GP coming in 2011.

Sauber are still without any major sponsors and this could put pressure on both Kamui Kobayashi and, in particular, the ageing Pedro de la Rosa. The two drivers heading the GP2 standings, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez, are both backed by companies from their home nations Venezuela and Mexico. Both PDVSA and Telmex are known in Europe for their willingness to back drivers from the two countries. Furthermore, Mexican Esteban Gutierrez is a Sauber development driver, and he too is backed by Telmex.

Toro Rosso look set to retain both Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, although Buemi could yet be tempted by a move to a bigger team and has been linked with Renault. Tester Daniel Ricciardo is next in line from the Red Bull Junior scheme.

Lotus have both Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen under contract next year, while Virgin have Timo Glock, and have been impressed with Lucas di Grassi's performances so far this season.

Hispania's future is in doubt, and would be looking for the right mix of talent and funding for their drivers.

A 13th team is set to gain entry for 2011. The three teams we know to be in the running are Stefan GP (who signed Kazuki Nakajima as part of their optimistic attempt to join the grid for 2010), Villeneuve-Durango (for whom Jacques himself will driver) and Epsilon Euskadi. Maldonado and Perez's mix of talent and money could prove useful for all of these team