The 'New Teams'

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    I have been thinking about, HRT, Lotus (Fernandes) and Virgin, and am wondering what have they been doing. If look back to 1991 when Jordan made their debut and managed to score points regularly in 1991. Stewart, when they started in 1997 started scoring points in their second year. I then thought ok, its a different era and its now a much tougher and more competitive field and then saw an interesting statistic. Super Aguri even in 2007 started scoring points in their second year so why have the HRT, Lotus and Virgin been so far away from the points and on raw pace, indeed still sitting at the back of the field?



    It’s a fair point. You’d think that now with the points going down to 10th place that at least one of the new teams would at least have been able to snatch a point. But you have to look at the reliability of the top and midfield teams over the last few seasons and it is a lot higher than it used to be. I personally think this is a large contributor but there are many other factors.

    I think money comes into it also, we all know how Virgin came into the sport thinking that they were signing up to a cost-cut version of F1 but it didn’t turn out to be the case.

    It is such a shame that they are so far off the pace as it is always a guarantee that we will see the 6 drivers of these teams drop out of qualifying first which means you don’t really need to watch Q1. I can’t wait to see them mixing it with the midfield but when is this likely to happen. We heard Lotus say that they will be there this season but they aren’t, i hope it comes sooner rather than later.



    F1 is more reliable now and the teams get barely any testing time.



    The new teams are there to fill up the grid. I’d personally rather see eighteen cars on the grid who are all competitive, rather than the situation we have at the moment. I can see Lotus eventually catching the established teams, but I see no hope for Virgin and Hispania.



    It’s so sad that gone are the days when F1 cars were allowed to fall apart as they crossed the finish line.

    F1 is not a sprint race any more. With engines and gearboxes having to do multiple races, as well as the qualifying and practise sessions that go with them, F1 is a 12-hour endurance race discuised as a series of sprints.

    Sure it’s money saving, which is I suppose what had to happen in order for the series to continue at all, and I guess it’s “greener” to appease everyone who doesn’t give a toss about motorsport in the first place, but it’s lead to a much more predictable set of points scorers and podium positions.

    I struggle with the F1Fanatic Predictions Championship game now (so mush so that i’ve stopped doing it) but imagine trying to predict the top 5 in some of the races from the mid-90s (when I first started watching F1)…

    1995 Australian Grand Prix. Pole was Damon Hill, and the race was won by Damon Hill. Fair enough, that’s a possibility, but only because Schumacher retired. But then Olivier Panis in his ligier and Gianni Morbidelli in the Footwork 2nd and 3rd?! And followed by Mark Blundell and Mika Salo in McLaren and Tyrrell. Most people would have got 0 points.

    1996 Monaco Grand Prix. Nobody would have guessed Olivier Panis would win from 14th on the grid, beating Coulthard’s McLaren and Herbert’s Sauber to the top spot. In a race where only 3 cars crossed the finish line and barely a handful more were classified. And Schumacher stuffed it int othe wall on lap one, with Hill’s engine blowing at half distance.

    1999 European Grand Prix – Stewart Grand Prix come from nowhere to score a 1st and 3rd, sandwiching Jarno Trulli’s Prost, having seen Heinz harald Frentzen start from pole (although he and Jordan were on a roll that season).

    But stuff like this doesn’t happen any more with these bullet proof cars. Agreed, it would make a Lotus, Virgin or HRT point far more well deserved (although those points do encompass 4 more places, so maybe it doesn’t – Lotus could maybe scrape 10th on a lucky day, but never a 6th)

    There used to be one or two shock victories a season, and a few more shock podiums and points scores. But not any more, and as a supporter of the underdog, that makes me sad.



    1) Reliability. No one retires any more. Half the field should be wiped out before any of these new teams get into point scoring positions. And to make matters worse, it’s usually Team Lotus dropping out, or one of the Virgin’s having troubles, not the midfield.

    2) They’re simply too slow. You mentioned Jordan and Stewart. I’d add Toyota to that category. See what they have in common: good enough speed to take points, even when the top 6 just scored them. Even when they get into Q2 or get a good start, the established teams usually just breeze past them in the opening laps (expect Kovalainen a couple of times this year).

    Next season the new teams run out of explanations. The first year was “oh, we’re new, of course we should be in the back”, now it’s “oh, this is the first real car we’ve actually designed on our own”. But next year, nope. They must deliver.



    Even if it comes down to Reliability and Money issues, Force India did an amazing job in 2009 within just second year of it’s inception, and that is not long time back.

    As I jogged my memory, I also remember they were running 4th in Monaco in 2008 when Kimmi refused to apply breaks (Kimmi fans don’t bash me, this is not the point of debate anyway ;) ).

    In short, all three newbies are definitely way off the mark.


    Prisoner Monkeys

    Yes, but Force India bought an existing team. Virgin, HRT and Fernandes are all start-up operations.



    Right, but in 2009, FI was nearly reborn wrt technology, team, partnership and management.



    I agree with the point on reliability, but their ability to get with teh pace of the established teams has been dismal. True, lack of testing time hasn’t helped


    Prisoner Monkeys

    Right, but in 2009, FI was nearly reborn wrt technology, team, partnership and management.

    True, but they already had a year’s experience.



    Steph hit it on the head. Ridiculous reliability and the lack of testing are holding back HRT, Lotus and Virgin.

    You can’t really compare Super Aguri with HRT, Lotus and Virgin because in their first season they ran a modified Arrows donor chassis and in their second season they ran what was essentially a customer Honda chassis. The only “real” start up team of the last decade would be Toyota if I remember correctly, and they had a bigger budget than Ethiopia’s at their disposal, something HRT, Virgin and Lotus certainly don’t have.



    I’m sure they will get better at making their cars.

    As GeeMac said the only really new team to make their own chassis from scratch in recent times has been Toyota and they did have the budget of a medium sized country.

    One rule that could be holding them back is the fact that a team does need to build the car. They can’t just buy a car like Super Aguri did.


    Keith Collantine

    I’m not surprised they haven’t fared better so far. It reflects less on them and more on how specialised and expensive F1 has become.

    Think of how few new teams entered the sport before 2010. In the space of 12 years from 1998 to 2009 we had two new arrivals: Toyota and Super Aguri. Both of which have come and gone in that short space. And Super Aguri weren’t making their cars from scratch.

    In this sense F1 had clearly become too rarefied. Ten teams was too few and 12 still isn’t enough – at the very least they need to fill all 13 slots. There’s no progress from junior formula to F1 for teams, something that used to happen with F2 and, to a lesser extent, F3000.



    I’ve always thought it was a shame the 2009 rules didn’t come in for 2010, might have have helped the new teams start a bit closer to the front.

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