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15 Mar 2011

F1 Preview: HRT, Virgin and Lotus

"The Great Big Preview" INDEX

Here, I'll break down our three newest teams who are about to enter their second year in Formula 1. HRT, Virgin and Lotus all had their ups and downs in 2010, and they will all be looking at making the leap from back-of-the-pack to midfield runner.

Hispania Racing Team: HRT had a forgettable debut season in 2010. Their car was easily slowest of the 3 new teams and they remained that way for a large portion of the year before finally closing the gap in the final third of the year. Early teething problems with the car saw them struggle to finish races, and the drivers often found themselves taking the back row in qualifying. Bruno Senna showed some promise in a terrible car, Karun Chandhok did too. Then the money started talking as driver after driver rolled in with sponsor cash. Sakon Yamamoto was given a drive at the expense of the widely-liked Chandhok, a move that many considered to be cash-related rather than performance-related. Christian Klien also came in, reportedly with a high-value sponsor.

High Point: Double finishes in Malaysia, China and Korea.
Low Point: The way they dealt with their drivers and their cash was.....awful.
2011 Aim: At least become fastest of the newest teams in 2011.

Virgin Racing: After just a little problem (see below), the Virgin team quickly established itself as the second-quickest of the new runners. After failing to finish races, the team made the embarrassing announcement that their fuel tank was not big enough to complete the races. However, the team recovered and began to frequently challenge Lotus for the honor of being best of the newbies. Lucas Di Grassi did not cover himself in glory, but showed that he does deserve to be in Formula 1, albeit with a car not exactly built to showcase his talents. Timo Glock fulfilled his role as the experienced head, out-qualifying his team-mate most races and occasionally beating out the Lotus' in qualifying.

High Point: Double finishes in Spain and four other races.
Low Point: Failing to build the most basic part of the car correctly. Their fuel tank was not big enough to finish each of the first 3 races.
2011 Aim: Virgin will want to become the top new team this year, and look to show that an entirely computer-designed car is effective.

Lotus Racing: Lotus proved to be the fastest of the newcomers of 2010. They earned widespread respect from other teams, experts and fans when both cars finished the opening race of the year, something neither Virgin or HRT managed. Lotus were also the first to make it out of first qualifying at Malaysia (although this was down to rain). Lotus went on from strength to strength and celebrated the 500th race of the historic team at the European Grand Prix in Valencia. Drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli had enough experience to get the maximum from their cars, which got closer and closer to the midfield pack.

High Point: Recorded highest finish (12th) in the Korean GP
Low Point: The team was/is involved in a legal battle over the use of the 'Team Lotus' name, which somewhat turned some fans and media against the team.
2011 Aim: Lotus have the resources and base to go on and join the midfield pack, they will look for a first points-finish in 2011.


Tomorrow: Toro-Rosso, Sauber and Force India.


Aaron said...

(geek mode on)lotus's 500th gp was at valencia actually 8-)(geek mode off)

Peter Owen said...

Thanks Aaron! I was simply relying on my (rubbish) memory there :P changed it :)

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