Friday Thoughts – Are the New Teams Welcome?

Branson and Fernandes

Branson, Fernandes and the flight attendant uniform

If I am to participate in the Thursday Thoughts adventure it seems the only way is to convert it to Friday ones. Blame the time difference.

Anyway, here is the topic for this week, Thursday of Friday:

The three new teams made quite an impression on F1 this year. What do you think they brought to the sport? How would the year have been without them? Better or worse?

Maybe the question should be rephrased – Are the new teams welcome and is it OK to have on the grid teams several seconds off the pace ?

And few more questions to follow up – Was F1 better with Toyota after the car maker joined the sport in 2002 ? Were we better off with Minardi and Jordan on the grid (not Eddie himself but the team) or without them after the former was turned into Toro Rosso by Red Bull and the latter metamorphosed to Midland, Spyker and finally Force India ? Was F1 better with or without Super Aguri ?

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Last time an F1 team raced with two Latin American drivers…

Pizzonia Montoya 2004

Antonio Pizzonia and Juan Pablo Montoya

Yesterday Williams announced signing of Pastor Maldonado, a Venezuelan driver, to partner Rubens Barrichello, the Brazilian. As a result, Williams will contest the 2011 F1 season with two Latin American drivers. There have been many drivers from Latin America in F1 and Argentina and Brazil also gave the world some World Champions. But having both drivers from that part of the world hasn’t been that common. Here is brief look back to the recent F1 history.

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2011 Formula 1 Drivers – Williams – Maldonado joins Barrichello

Pastor Maldonado Williams

Pastor Maldonado - 2011 Williams F1 Driver

Williams F1 today confirmed that 2010 GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado will race for the AT&T Williams team in 2011 season. The appointment finalises the team’s line up for next year following confirmation of Rubens Barrichello last month.

“Pastor first caught my eye in 2007 when he drove a masterful race at Monaco. Since then, he has regularly reminded us of his unquestionable talent with some skilful wins, particularly during this year’s GP2 championship, taking an unsurpassed record of six successive victories. Of course, we already know Pastor from the time he spent with the team at the Abu Dhabi test, but we are very much looking forward to developing his talent over the winter and a fruitful season with him next year.” – AT&T Williams Team Principal, Frank Williams

“I feel very privileged that Williams has selected me as one of their race drivers. It is a great way to end what has already been an amazing year for me. I tested with the team in Abu Dhabi, but can’t wait to start working with everyone properly to be in the best possible shape going into next year. I will be doing my best over the winter to prepare myself, and I know the team will be working hard to ensure a successful season. 2011 will be the first time in nearly thirty years that a Venezuelan has driven a Formula One car so I will be looking to get some good results in return for the support my country has given me to help get me to this position today.” – Pastor Maldonado

2011 Formula One Entry List (30/11/10 Version)

FIA logo

FIA logo

FIA issued 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list. Six teams have both drivers listed including Lotus (staying with Trulli and Kovalainen). Renault and Williams still haven’t confirmed team mates for Kubica and Barrichello, while no drivers have been officially confirmed by Force India, Virgin, HRT and surprisingly also Toro Rosso.

Team formerly known as Lotus Racing is listed as Team Lotus with Renault engines, BMW is no longer part of the name of the Sauber team. Here is the November 2010 version of 2011 F1 entry list:
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2011 Formula 1 Drivers – Williams – Barrichello stays, Hulkenberg out

Barrichello Hulkenberg Williams

Team mates no more ...

Right on the first day of the off-season Williams announced some decisions on the their 2011 drivers line up. Rubens Barrichello will stay on with team, Nico Hulkenberg however will not. The team will confirm their second driver before the end of the year. Current GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado has been connected with the team.

The AT&T Williams team today announced that Rubens Barrichello will continue to drive for the team in 2011. The team’s second driver will be confirmed before the end of the year.

Rubens Barrichello enjoyed a successful first season with Williams, and his 18th in the sport. The Brazilian drove his FW32 into the qualifying top ten a total of 13 times and claimed 10 points scoring finishes over the year, all of which helped the team move forward to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship at yesterday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team can also confirm that Nico Hulkenberg will not contest the 2011 FIA World Championship with AT&T Williams. Nico joined the squad as a rookie at the start of the season, following a dominating career in Formula 3 and GP2 supported by Williams. Convincing performances in his debut year in Formula One culminated in 14th place in the Drivers’ Championship and an undoubtedly bright future in the sport. The team wishes to thank Nico for his dedication and team work over the past year, and for delivering a memorable first pole position in five seasons for the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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From Bahrain to Abu Dhabi – The 2010 Vettel Helmets Collection

F1 drivers do come up with special helmet designs from time to time, quite often for Monaco GP (see 2008 and 2010), for home GPs (see Piquet’s and Barrichello’s specials for 2008 Brazilian GP) or to pay a tribute to another driver (see David Coulthard for Colin McRae for example). Sebastian Vettel however seems to be coming up with new helmet design for almost every race … Here is the collection of Vettel’s lid designs in 2010 (now updated with Vettel’s helmets used during Korean, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi GPs):

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images.
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Red went missing from Rubens Barrichello’s helmet

Helmet designs should help us to identify the drivers on the track. Sometimes however the drivers depart from their traditional designs and confuse us all. In the last two races (Australia and Malaysia) Rubens Barrichello dropped his traditional red (orange) and white design – design he used throughout his entire F1 career. In Melbourne and Sepang the red (orange) went missing… Here is the gallery featuring Rubens Barrichello and his blue-white helmet:

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How will similar photo taken in Abu Dhabi look ?

F1 class of 2010

Teams and drivers at the start of 2010 season

The drives line up for the traditional start of the season photo (click on the photo to enlarge) yesterday in Bahrain. This year also took their cars with them. Nice picture, but how long will the cast remain unchanged ?

There were no driver changes at all in 2008 (except of course Davidson and Sato loosing ther drives when Super Aguri folded). The 2009 season was much more eventful with many changes happening in the second half of the season – here are the pictures from Melbourne and Abu Dhabi last year:

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The last time 12 teams and 24 drivers turned up for F1 race …

1995 Australian Grand Prix

1995 Australian Grand Prix

We have been used to see 10 teams and 20 cars on F1 grid for the better part of the last decade – the most teams we had was 11, the biggest number of teams was 22. Twelve teams were on cards twice in the recent past. Once in 2002 when Toyota was to join the other eleven teams but following the demise of Prost it was back to eleven. Then again in 2008 when Prodrive was granted the entry. But Prodrive failed to turn up (the whole customer car fiasco), four races later Honda pulled the plug on the Super Aguri venture and instead of 12 teams F1 was back to ten.

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Lotus Racing partners with CNN

LotusRacing CNN branding

CNN logo on Lotus F1 car and driver's helmet

Lotus Racing and CNN International have today announced a partnership deal that sees the Lotus team entering into a long-term agreement with the world’s leading news network. CNN’s logo will feature on the T127 race cars, the drivers’ overalls and on all team clothing.

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2010 F1 Drivers Helmets

New season, new drivers helmet designs. Here is the collection of 2010 F1 drivers helmets (click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images). Most of the returning drivers seem to have selected to stay with their traditional designs (or switch back back to them like Jenson Button). The most obvious changes are related to team changes or new sponsors on board. Drivers with most radically changed helmet designs are Robert Kubica (switch from red to yellow) and Timo Glock (from red to mostly gold). Helmets of all 2010 F1 rookie drivers – Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok, Lucas di Grassi, Vitaly Petrov, Nico Hulkenberg – are included in the gallery. (To see all the different helmets Sebastian Vettel used during 2010 F1 season click here)

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2010 F1 Cars – Lotus Cosworth T127 revealed (photos, video)

Lotus T127

Lotus T127

The new F1 team Lotus Racing unveiled today the first Lotus branded F1 car since 1994 – its 2010 challenger, the Lotus Cosworth T127. The green/yellow Lotus Racing T127 is powered by Cosworth V8 engine and will use an Xtrac gearbox and as all 2010 teams, will be running on Bridgestone tyres. The car will be driven by Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen with Fairuz Fauzy taking on the third and reserve driver duties.

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2014 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
Sebastian VETTEL
Daniel RICCIARDO
Ferrari
Fernando ALONSO
Kimi RAIKKONEN
McLaren
Jenson BUTTON
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Lotus
Romain GROSJEAN
Pastor MALDONADO
Mercedes
Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
Adrian SUTIL
Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
Nico HULKENBERG
Sergio PEREZ
Williams
Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
Daniil KVYAT
Jean Eric VERGNE
Caterham
Marcus ERICSSON
Kamui KOBAYASHI
Marussia
Jules BIANCHI
Max CHILTON

2014 F1 Calendar

14-16 March - Australia
28-30 March - Malaysia
4-6 April - Bahrain
18-20 April - China
9-11 May - Spain
22-25 May - Monaco
6-8 June - Canada
20-22 June - Austria
4-6 July - Great Britain
18-20 July - Germany
25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
5-7 September - Italy
19-21 September - Singapore
3-5 October - Japan
10-12 October - Russia
31 October-2 November - USA
7-9 November - Brazil
21-23 November - Abu Dhabi

Archives

2010 Mercedes GP F1 Merchandise
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