Mid season review part one: The new teams

Posted on August 25, 2010

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Returning from the summer break, Formula One’s three new teams will know they face a tough run into Abu Dhabi. They’ve demonstrated how tough it is for a new outfit to break into the sport so far this year and the struggle is not over yet.

10th Lotus Racing – 0 points

Mike Gascoyne has built a solid, professional team at Lotus. Credit: Lotus Racing

Hands down the best all round outfit, Lotus have made slow but steady progress. Under the stewardship of Mike Gascoyne, Lotus have been professional and usually the fastest of the three new teams.

In Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli the squad has made a decent showing at several races and they aren’t afraid to race the quicker cars when the chance arises.

With a bit of luck and a wet, high attrition race they might have the chance of squeaking a point somewhere in the final seven races. Spa this weekend, with its low downforce characteristics, might be among the best opportunities left.

11th Hispania Racing F1 Team – 0 points

Running three race drivers is surely a bad sign for Hispania. Credit: Hispania Racing

Slow, lacking in development and now running three drivers in two cars, Hispania look like they might struggle to make it to the end of the season.

It was an achievement to get to Bahrain with the cars not even built yet for the opening sessions. But they’ve made no real steps forward in development and split with developer Dallara in May.

In Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok, they appear to have reasonable drivers. Chandhok is about to be dropped for his third race in preference for Sakon Yamamoto, presumably on financial terms because the Japanese has been trundling round at the back of the pack in his current appearances.

I’ll be surprised if Hispania are in Abu Dhabi and even more surprised if they make it all the way back to Bahrain in the spring.

12th Virgin Racing – 0 points

The team built with the backing of Richard Branson were a disaster for much of the early races of the season. Building a car with too small a fuel tank, which was unreliable and had parts falling off was not the best way to make a first impression.

But Nick Wirth’s fluid dynamics has built a car which is now at least as good as the Lotus, against the expectations of the rest of the pitlane. Whether or not it will be enough to move them closer to the midfield with the 2011 version remains to be seen.

Moreover, in Timo Glock the team have an excellent driver. He’s worth spending money to keep him if they want to develop next year. Lucas Di Grassi has turned out ok too. Now they seem to be basically on top of many of their reliability troubles, Virgin also has a small chance of nicking a point somewhere.

Branson is renowned for building effective businesses and of all the new teams, you would have to expect Virgin to have the best chance of longer term survival, if his interest lasts.

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