Whatever Happened to The New Teams?


A year ago I was updating my blog on the fortunes of the three new teams, Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and Hispania. In the end, Heikki Kovalainen romped away with the Drivers Championship, a long way ahead of the battling trio of Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli. It was a similar story in the Teams Championship, glory for Lotus, in a dull battle with Virgin clearly in second and Hispania clearly last.

For this year I thought to step away, safe in the assurances that they may have actually improved and be nearly caught up with the midfield teams.

If anything, they have got worse.

So, I thought to take a look at what the tables would be looking like if I had kept on doing it. It takes some interesting reading and makes me wish I had bothered to carry on. (Don’t worry, I’ll continue to look at this at thirdly intervals.)

What’s New for 2011?

Only three drivers from 2010 remain, the two Lotus cars of Kovalainen and Trulli, as well as Glock. F1 veterans Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi joined Hispania, while the only rookie of the six was Jerome D’Ambrosio in the Virgin.

Apart from that, everything was the same. Apart from Marussia buying into Virgin and Lotus Racing now being called Team Lotus, and nothing else. But that was just trivial stuff.

Drivers Championship

After Round 7 of 19

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 49
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 32
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 28
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 19
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 17
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 11


Jarno Trulli
1st – 49 points
Despite being beaten 6-1 in terms of qualifying against Heikki Kovalainen, Trulli is slaughtering the opposition in his Team Lotus this season. Five times he has beaten Kovalainen in the race, including four ‘New Teams Championship’ wins, and don’t think its down to the Finn’s poor reliability either, in the occasion both cars have finished, Trulli has finished ahead both times. This guy still has it by the looks of things.

Heikki Kovalainen
2nd – 32 points
It looks bad reading for Kovalainen compared to Trulli. He has a superior qualifying record but the Team Lotus car is letting him down badly. Heikki in fact has the most retirements (three) out of any of the six cars, only one down to his own fault (crashing in Spain). If he can get more reliability, it will be interesting to see if he can catch up to his team mate.

Jerome D’Ambrosio
3rd – 28 points
Marussia Virgin have looked dreadfully slow this season, and he should be far worse off compared to his experienced team mate Timo Glock. But the Belgian is constantly finishing and giving off impressive performances, and is even in reaching distance of the reigning champions.

Timo Glock
4th – 19 points
Glock is struggling. Whether he doesn’t want to be a part of Virgin anymore or the car does not suit him, he can’t seem to be anywhere near his inexperienced team mate, which looks embarrassing. Five times he has finished behind D’Ambrosio in a race, this is out of seven, its not looking good for the German.

Vitantonio Liuzzi
5th – 17 points
I think it is fair to say a Hispania shouldn’t be two points off a Virgin, but they are. The car looks and performs awfully, but Liuzzi, out of nowhere, finished 13th in Canada, ahead of everyone else. Lets repeat that, ahead of everyone else. In a Hispania. Madness. Credit must go out for managing to guide that car around the track in one piece nearly every single Sunday. It isn’t a job I would want to do.

Narain Karthikeyan
6th – 11 points
The Indian hasn’t embarrassed himself at all this season, again the car isn’t in his favour and he is managing to get it around a track in one piece every Sunday. OK job so far.

Teams Championship

    Team Points
1 Lotus Racing 81
2   Marussia Virgin 47
3   Hispania 30


Team Lotus
1st – 81 points
I’m not going to lie to you, I think Team Lotus can afford to open the champagne*, it looks easy and out of anyone they are probably the most likely to score an actual World Championship point (which is ironic considering they are the last team I want to do that). Easily the fastest in qualifying and the race. It is a walk in the park.

Marussia Virgin
2nd – 47 points
Oh dear. The performance of the Virgin has slid so far downhill that in Canada they hit rock bottom (being outqualified by a Hispania and being saved by the stewards in terms of 107%). The consequences have been harsh on Nick Wirth, sacked ahead of that race, and drastic change is needed to make sure they don’t finish last here, which is ever so possible if Hispania keep their pace up. With news attention is soon to focus on 2012, this could turn to humiliation.

3rd – 30 points
They failed to qualify in Australia, lucky to just get in in Malaysia. The laughing stock of the grid, but they have went up the gentle incline of improvement. Not by long they have reached the pace of Virgin, upgrades have been made, the drivers aren’t doing too shoddy a job, things are actually looking up for once (even if they have the worst livery on the grid).

What Next?

I could probably guess, but the next seven races (next update will be after the Italian Grand Prix) will probably go like this: Team Lotus drivers to continue to swap wins, Hispania to become clear second best team, Marussia Virgin to flirt with 107% each qualifying session.

Though, as that is probably what is expected, it probably won’t happen.


Posted on June 14, 2011, in New Teams Championship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Marussia Virgin to flirt with 107% each qualifying session

    flirting won’t begin to cover it. if they really have given up development, they’ve almost no hope of taking part in the final three races this season.

    wish you’d carried on this year too, was a highlight of 2010. you could backdate a couple of posts and we’ll pretend we never noticed you stopped?

    • Yeah, future not so good for Virgin.

      I must admit (personally) that I’ve missed doing these and I really have enjoyed the time I spent on doing this post itself. I probably won’t backdate, but there’s every chance, say, to continue race by race from Europe…

  2. I expected Lotus to be miles ahead, Virgin a mild but fair gap behind and Hispania to have peanuts. Of the three I think Virgin haven’t even made a laptime gain over last year relative the opposition. Hispania are doing well, I like a team which quietly improves race to race without making an arrogant fuss about it (that’s the only part about TL I don’t like) and they are doing just that – they could turn out to be quite dangerous to the others if they got decent backing with strong leadership because the core seems to be there.

    Good to see an update to this, if you don’t want to do them every race then perhaps monthly?

    • Yeah, funny thing is everyone will still slag off Hispania no matter what…

      I’m not sure that I don’t want to do it race by race if I’m honest, I had fun doing this for sure, had fun last year too.

  3. About the races when both Trulli and Kovalainen finished, it is worth to note that :
    – In Turkey, Kovalainen suffered an hydraulic leak which affected the DRS and forced Lotus to disable his differential and his clutch.
    – In Monaco, even though Heikki is undeniably behind his teammate, he only finished 0.4 sec off Jarno.

    • Some very sound points there mate. Something I certainly have not yet taken into consideration.

      Although at the end of the day, you are judged on where you finish and so far he’s been behind Kovalianen for most of it.

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