There has certainly been a lot of concern over the pace of the new teams and just how this may affect qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend. From Lewis Hamilton to Fernando Alonso, they all feel the backmarkers will be a major issue. Even veteran Michael Schumacher weighed in on the decision team bosses made to keep qualifying the same regardless of the increased number of cars running at much slower speeds.
“Some team bosses felt they would rather have the chaos and maybe take the profit from this than to have a reasonable, clean qualifying,” Schumacher said. “So that’s what it is, that’s what we have to deal with, and let’s see who has to suffer or not.”
As we approached the weekend we were keen to see just what the disparity would be and it seems today’s results may be a primer for what is to come. The most dramatic issue is that the GP2 cars were faster than the HRT’s during practice. In fact, the HRT’s would have only been 7th fastest on the GP2 grid if they were in that series.
Clearly we have three teams that couldn’t lead the GP2 field if they were in that series and it makes one wonder just what are the FIA thinking? Would they allow Pastor Maldonado to run in the F1 race with his GP2 car? How can the FIA help the situation without upsetting the balance of F1? Do the new teams pose a significant safety risk? They have been blue-flagged to death this year and it hampers their ability to even properly drive a race. Then there is the no testing rule that compounds the issue.
There is reason for pause. F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and to be honest, I am starting to feel that Lotus, Virgin and HRT are really placing themselves in a dangerous position. I would hate for an HRT to be clouted by a speeding Mercedes or Renault as they came around Casino or the Swimming pool complex at speed.
Regardless, this truly shows that there is a long way to go for HRT and I am wondering if this team will ever find parity with the midfield teams. Can they claw 5-6 seconds back this season? What is the solution? What should we be doing at Monaco or for these new teams to help them achieve a more consistent performance that is on par with the midfield teams? Should we institute the 107% rule? Would new regulations for the new teams allowing for advanced testing or engine development be good? What do you think? As it is, the GP2 cars are faster than F1 cars and something is just not right with that.