As the 2010 F1 season gets underway, there has certainly been a lot of discussion about the new teams and their ability to be competitive. Some suggest that the lack of pace could present a safety concern for the FIA as a car 3-5 seconds slower would be dangerous element to the race.
Ferrari were one of the first veteran teams of F1 to take aim at the new teams but likened the situation to the “holy war” of former FIA president Max Mosley and his attempt to undermine the legacy teams of F1. This sentiment caused quite a stir in the press and was met by alternate views from McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh and now Mercedes GP’s Norbert Haug:
“I think first of all we need to pay respect to these teams,” Haug said.
“It just shows it’s not easy to come into Formula 1. This is a very competitive environment and I would say that you can have at least seven to eight teams that are very, very competitive this year.
“It’s not only four teams. A team like Force India has improved a lot. Toro Rosso is still improving, so I think that is better than ever in Formula 1.
“But the new ones that are coming now need to make big steps but we should give them some time. I think it is a very good sign that new teams are coming amid difficult circumstances. It’s not easy for them to find support and sponsorship money.
“I’m sure the worked very hard and my view is that I pay them a lot of respect. And of course they need to improve.”
It is a difficult time for the new teams to enter such an expensive series and while the FIA’s attempt at budget caps last year were met with disdain by the big teams, there is little doubt that the very vehicles created to reduce cost in the series are the same regulations that are hampering the new teams.
The ban on in-season testing is perhaps the biggest component that will find the new teams limping through the rest of the year with a car that can only be marginally improved one race weekend at a time. With testing, the teams could vet the needed changes and develop the car much quicker. This also would allow the big teams to develop their cars even further and thus the delta between new and veteran teams may stay the same.
It’s all cyclical in nature but how do the new teams develop their car with no testing limited budgets and little time? Can we see Lotus, Virgin or HRT mid-pack by Canada? What is your solution for the disparate pace between a McLaren and say, a HRT car?