*Listening to INXS – Mystify*
It’s not uncommon to see new Formula One teams struggle to pick up the pace in their first full season. To cut it with the best in the business straight away would be a very tough ask.
Running before you can walk is a mistake many new teams have made in the past, and no doubt Lotus, Virgin and HRT are determined not to make that same mistake and continue with their development strategies to assert themselves as established F1 competitors.
Admittedly they haven’t moved forward as quickly as they might have liked this season, a season in which they have ultimately propped up the back of the field. But the ban on testing hasn’t exactly helped their cause.
Finance is usually the biggest stumbling block for new outfits, and one might think this is why Hispania have swapped their drivers of late as they struggle for sponsorship funds.
On their books they have four drivers with Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna, Sakon Yamamoto and the impressive Christian Klien all on the payroll, and the team say they want to check out all their drivers in race conditions to assess their competitiveness for race seats in 2011.
Employing two more drivers than is necessary in the current climate has without doubt created more problems than is needed, with their wages contributing to what is reported to be a negative balance sheet.
Having said that it isn’t out of the ordinary for new teams to change drivers during the course of a season, and I’ve seen many teams enter with the hopes of F1 glory only to have their dreams dashed.
Prior to that Simtek joined the sport in 1994 and following the death of Roland Ratzenberger (who passed away the day before Ayrton Senna) the team went through a host of drivers including Andrea Montermini, Taki Inoue and Domenico Schiattarella.
Unfortunately for them poor results and low finances forced them to withdraw from the sport, and perhaps these experiences have tempted HRT to take the money and keep Yamamoto in the hot seat.
Yamamoto appears to be in Formula One purely because of the money he can offer. Pedro Diniz, who later proved to be a half decent driver, only got his break with Forti in 1995 because his sponsors paid for his involvement. His father was also very wealthy and owned a business in his native country of Brazil.
If budgets are indeed the problem then understandably a team will do what is necessary to ensure their books are balanced and plan for what is hoped to be a long and successful future, and if changing drivers keeps them in the Sport then I’m all for it.
All the teams have said they will offer more in terms of competitiveness next season, and to be honest they’ll have no choice as the 107% qualifying rule returns in 2011.
If your team can’t get your cars on the grid for Sunday then frankly you don’t deserve your place.