Harsh Lessons Still In Plentiful Supply For The Rookie Teams

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMay 9, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 03:  Lucas Di Grassi of Brazil and Virgin GP drives during qualifying for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 3, 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The current readings for the three rookie teams does not bode well. Between the Hispania, Lotus and Virgin Racing teams they boast thirteen retirements, three non starts and a combined total of forty-one times lapped when races have reached their conclusion.

These alone are the startling statistics that portray the still enormous deficit faced by all three teams.

They began the season expecting to be largely adrift from the rest of the pack, but amid feelings of optimism and determination they had hoped to reduce the gap race by race.

This doesn’t seem to be happening however and today’s race highlighted more so than any other the dangers of having such slow and unable cars in the pack.

As Lewis Hamilton appeared out of the pits after his first stop the Virgin of Lucas Di Grassi almost caused chaos as Lewis had to come off his racing line and risk his and Vettel’s car into turn one. Failure to do so would have left him running into the back of Di Grassi and into almost certain retirement.

This was not Di Grassi’s fault entirely as he did his best to stay out of the way. Yet it highlighted the inability for the backfield teams to perform at a standard that would be due some credit.

If he had just a bit more pace available to him, then he would not have had to slow into the first corner to let both Vettel and Hamilton through. He could have instead yielded the position a few turns later and saved us all from witnessing the scary on track moment.

In similar scenes to the previous four Grand Prix we were also constantly subjected to scenes of coasting drivers who had near enough grind to a halt in order to let the much faster cars through.

This is an occurrence happening time and time again, and cannot be making comfortable or satisfying driving for the ‘racers’ behind the wheel of the lacklustre performing cars.

The likes of Bruno Senna do not deserve it.

So where do we go from here? As the teams at the front progress with new developments, Virgin, Hispania and Lotus must do the same but to a greater magnitude.

It sounds simple when you hear it as those with the most to gain are afforded more in the way of a capability to improve.

It becomes like a competition between a morbidly obese and an obese person to lose the most weight. The larger opponent in this instance has more chance of gaining the biggest improvement as they have the most to improve upon.

Yet whilst this theory is optimistic in its ideals it may not be as simple for the rookie teams to achieve. They seem to lack the funds and experience to make these leaps and bounds. In fact they seem more likely to fall further backwards.

So what the F.I.A must take from the current stance of all three teams, is the view that a team entered into the sport so swiftly need to be able to produce a greater epitome of accomplished machine, that even at the foot of the field offers a glimpse of hope for the drivers.

It is a sad thought that the careers of Senna and Di Grassi may suffer for the deficiency of their cars. They may fade back into obscurity and the lower levels of the motor racing world.

This is something that should never be forced upon a driver, when the teams are more accountable to blame.

The season for each of the teams still has a long and possibly torturous way to go. As it stands neither team is providing us with a reason to continue racing next season.

So this must be their target for the remainder of the season; to portray to us the spectators and to the FIA a reason for us all to will each team on to future inclusion in the sport.