What’s 10th place worth? £17m apparently

We’ve talked about the pivotal 10th position before on several podcasts but the BBC has a very nice story about the impact of 10th place in the constructors championship has on a team.

Virgin Racing has been a welcome addition tot he F1 grid this year and while F1B has certainly been a fan of the team since its inception, I would be remiss in not mentioning that I am a bit disappointed at the lack of development and pace compared to HRT and Lotus.

I’m not disappointed in the team or any individual at Virgin, I was just hoping for better results and I sincerely doubt I am alone in that thought. Even F1B’s own Paul Charsley thought the Virgin looked like the most likely car to bridge the gap between the old guard and the newbs on the F1 grid in 2010.

What 10th place actually means to a team is approximately £17m and that’s worth fighting for. What it would require, as the BBC effectively points out, is for Virgin Racing to secure a 12th place finish to vault into the 10th place position int he cosntructor’s title.

When we look at Canada, we are fully aware of Lotus Racing’s surge up the grid at the hands of Heikki Kovalainen. The team seem to be making the most of their creation and I couldn’t be happier for the Malaysian-backed squad. This surge of performance has put Virgin Racing on the heels of the feet and has squarely placed a challenge before them.

It’s not just Lotus Racing who are threatening Virgin’s possible £17m windfall. The Hispania Racing Team (HRT) have recently showed signs of life now that they have parted ways with chassis builder Dallara and sought the help of Geoff Willis. This combination has afforded the team better performances and finishes which is something Virgin is still struggling to find.

There is little doubt that £17m is a major prize to be sought and any one of the new teams would more than welcome the cash windfall. Each of the teams, new or old, need the cash to operate and no one understands that better than three new teams who entered F1 under the guise of former FIA president Max Mosley’s £40m budget cap concept.

For these teams, every Pound counts and the age old resource needed to advance up the grid in finishing position is and will always be…cash. To that point, Virgin Racing needs to fight for every position. Doubtful it is a lack of desire on Timo Glock or Lucas Di Grassi’s part but the chassis needs tweaking and the team needs results. Let’s hope they find it quick lest Virgin’s Richard Branson will not only miss out on a £17m payday but most likely be wearing a flight attendant skirt on an AirAsia plane.

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