So, the FIA really have made a clumsy decision with their expansion of the grid for the 2010 season. Encorporating new teams who have for the most part struggled to get out of the starting blocks, it has begun to become an embarassment for those involved in the initial decisions.
For the new teams able to produce at least a stable car for the season opener in Bahrain there is now the ever increasing possibility of an us and them scenario evolving. The established teams have welcomed them with open arms but are expected to destroy their lap times in at least the first few races of the season.
Of course we should not determine too much from pre-season testing, as different teams try different fuelling levels to discover the ins and outs of their cars. Their lap times as a result can be misleading. Yet for a team like Lotus, with single lap specialist Jarno Trulli at the helm, reports to be five seconds off the pace already are demoralising.
Compare this to the backenders last year – Force India, who managed to keep within two seconds of the front of the field week in week out. Their deficit looks pale in comparison, leaving Lotus requiring multiple mini miracles to reduce the gap to a similar distance.
The other rookie teams appear worse off too.
With Campos racing under new management and a new name already, Virgin Racing yet to establish themselves regularly on track, and with US F1 deferring their entry for a year the future looks decidely grim for the new boys. Only Stefan GP’s overly confident claims of a 2010 campaign appears to be providing any form of excitement for the rookies.
What then will be the resulting effects on the rest of the pack as the season progresses?
Will the spectatorship and competitve edge actually become enhanced as was originally planned and will we as spectators be enticed more into the sport?