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Rating the F1 Team Principals Halfway Through the 2013 Season

Fraser MasefieldContributor IDecember 14, 2016

Rating the F1 Team Principals Halfway Through the 2013 Season

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    If you thought being a Formula One driver was a tough job, then spare a thought for the team principals. They not only have to manage the day to day demands of their drivers but also ensure all of the other departments are working smoothly and coherently from the design and tech to the powertrain and chassis departments.

    They also have to deal with the demands of the press on race weekends and spread as good a PR message about their team as possible.

    Here, then, is a brief roundup of how F1 team principals have fared so far in 2013.

John Booth – Marussia

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    Booth has arguably one of the toughest jobs in the F1 paddock in running a Formula One team on a shoestring budget.

    As such, Marussia have only been able to run KERS this season but the team has coped admirably this season and arguably been the better of the two propping up the table thanks mainly to the driving of Jules Bianchi.

    Booth clearly knows his racing and even mixed it with the great Ayrton Senna in Formula Ford.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

Tony Fernandes – Caterham

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    Like Booth, Fernandes is in the tough position of trying to attract big money sponsors to a small team.

    As such, Caterham have gone from two hired drivers in Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen to two paying drivers in Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic in the space of a couple of seasons.

    Pic in particular has performed well but with Kovalainen insisting he will not pay to drive in F1, Caterham must drum up more business because I feel they need him.

    Rating: 2/5 stars

Sir Frank Williams – Williams

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    Make no mistake about it, this has been a very tough season for the Williams team. The FW35 has proved a real handful for Pastor Maldonado and new driver Valtteri Bottas but it’s not been Frank’s fault.

    He’s had to cope with a big team reshuffle with four key members of staff including Mark Gillan and Pat Symonds moving on to pastures new. There was also the personal blow of Frank losing his wife to cancer in March this year.

    It remains to be seen how long Sir Frank will stay at the helm with daughter Claire being groomed to take over.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

Monisha Kaltenborn – Sauber

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    Monisha Kaltenborn became the first female team principal in Formula One half way through the 2012 season when Peter Sauber retired from the front line management duties.

    Sadly the car’s development has been hampered by a limited budget which means taking on pay drivers such as Esteban Gutierrez but the car has been a handful even for the excellent Nico Hulkenberg.

    Should Hulkenberg leave to pastures new, the team may struggle even more unless Sauber sells the commercial rights to Mexican multi-billionaire Carlos slim and hires Sergio Perez alongside Gutierrez that is!

    Rating: 2/5 stars

Franz Tost – Toro Rosso

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    Franz Tost is in the good position that Red Bull is able to share some resources to its sister team but he is still doing a great job here.

    The car is quick enough for Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne to deliver some good points and he has been ably supported by technical director James key and sporting director Steve Nielsen.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

Vijay Mallya – Force India

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    For fans of Formula 1 racing, it’s easy to admire Vijay Mallya due to his sheer passion for the sport.

    Despite the fact that he is facing some very public tax issues over the grounded Kingfisher Airlines, Mallya still prefers to hire his drivers on merit rather than funding.

    Both Paul di Resta and the re-hired Adrian Sutil have repaid his faith and taken the fight to the big budget McLaren boys.

    Rating: 4/5 stars

Martin Whitmarsh – McLaren

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    McLaren appear to be in a right little pickle at the moment with team principal Martin Whitmarsh admitting in Belgium that the development of this season’s car has all but stopped in an effort to be more competitive in 2014.

    McLaren’s cause has not been helped by Lewis Hamilton going to Mercedes but the design of the car has been the main issue this season.

    Losing Paddy Lowe to Mercedes was another blow and with no title sponsor to replace Vodafone when the contract expires at the end of the season, the team faces worrying times.

    Rating: 3/5 stars

Eric Boullier – Lotus

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    It’s an open secret that the Lotus team is under strain financially and the fact that they’ve still been doing so well says a lot for the structural management and decision making within the team.

    Boullier can take a lot of praise for that. Signing Kimi Raikkonen proved a masterstroke and James Allison has produced a seriously quick car that suits the Pirelli tyres perfectly.

    The big worry is that Allison is off to Ferrari next season and if Raikkonen also leaves, there could be a big void that’s hard to fill.

    Rating: 4/5 stars

Ross Brawn – Mercedes

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    Everybody who follows Formula One knows only too well that Ross Brawn is a great team leader and something of a tactical genius.

    He is one of the main reasons that Lewis Hamilton decided to join Mercedes and despite the well documented issue of making those Pirelli tyres work in race trim, the team is really starting to turn things around.

    Brawn recently told Sky Sports that the recent success won’t compromise development of the 2014 car, which will be a serious worry for the competition. 

    We've got a very good programme with the '14 car, it's progressing well. Lots of our team our focused on that and they're not going to be distracted by that. There's a small amount of things we can do for the rest of this year and things keep going we'll continue with.

    Rating: 4/5 stars

Stefano Domenicali – Ferrari

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    It appears that one of Stefano Domenicali’s main jobs this year has been to deflect questions about Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa’s future within the team. He’s been very good at it, almost politician-like with his answers.

    Only Domenicali knows the answers but for his sake it’s important that Alonso stays as he’s been carrying the team almost single-handedly this season with his brilliant driving.

    Rating: 3/5

Christian Horner – Red Bull

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    "This is silly, Seb—come on," was Christian Horner’s order to the three-time world champion over the radio not to challenge teammate Mark Webber in the now infamous team order dispute in Malaysia.

    Horner is no stranger to having had to smooth over frictions between the teammates going back to Turkey in 2010. He is blessed in that he has arguably the quickest driver on the grid and the technical genius that is Adrian Newey in his ranks.

    But the Red Bull boss is a great manager of men and it’s no surprise that his team is again the class of the field.

    Rating: 5/5 stars

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