This is Day 6 of our F1 Advent Calendar 2010. Welcome! We're reviewing the season in these short mini-series style podcasts, with each episode featuring a key moment from the year that was F1 2010. Today we’re onto Day 6 - Troublesome trio.
Whilst Ferrari were busy taking a 1-2 victory and making the best possible start to their 2010 campaign, there were three teams, who to be frank, were really just happy to have made it to Bahrain at all. Lining up on the grid for the race, no matter what order they were in, well, that really was a victory in itself.
Hispania Racing were having the most difficult time of it. Originally known as Campos Meta, before the season began they were already having financial troubles. In February, shareholder José Ramón Carabante took full control of the team, and they were renamed Hispania Racing, to be known in the paddock as HRT. Bruno Senna was already on board, and they brought in Karun Chandhok as their number two driver.
Preparations resumed, but the team missed out on pre-season testing completely. In Bahrain, Bruno Senna managed to get three installation laps done in FP1, whilst Chandhok's car was still stuck in the garage. 17 laps for Senna in FP2, still nothing from Chandhok. On Saturday, we were hoping for better things but it wasn't until qualifying that Karun put in his first lap behind the wheel. Scary stuff. It was no surprise that the pair of them lined up last on the grid, Senna just ahead. Neither car finished the race, but to have even started was a bonus.
Virgin Racing were a step ahead of this. They launched their completely-CFD designed car in February, and participated in some pre-season testing. Lucas di Grassi, making his F1 debut, found himself sitting out FP1 just like Chandhok. He had twenty laps running in FP2, but found himself out of luck again on Saturday morning. He and Glock were split in qualifying by both Lotus cars, with experience helping Timo get ahead. Unfortunately, experience did not help the fact that the team soon discovered their car couldn't finish a race properly even if everything was working - they'd only gone and designed the fuel tank to be too small. They were given dispensation to increase its size, and quickly began remodelling the car.
Lotus Racing, then, can be considered the best of the new teams, and they proved themselves right from the start. They have the heritage in the name, of course, but they started from just as blank a canvas as the other two. Mike Gascoyne often refers to the fact that his partner would be answering the phone as receptionist in the factory, then putting people on hold to transfer them to HR. Only she would be HR as well.
To the track, though. Both drivers were present and correct for all three Free Practice sessions in Bahrain, and they qualified 20th and 21st, with Trulli just ahead of Kovalainen. They even got both cars to the finish line on their debut race. Kinda puts the others to shame, just a little bit. But like I said at the start, all three were winners really, given the tight deadlines and limited budgets they had to work with.
That's all for Day 6 of the Sidepodcast F1 Advent Calendar 2010. Thank you for listening, and I hope you will leave your thoughts about this or any of the topics we've covered so far over on sidepodcast.com. Oh, and join me tomorrow for Day 7.
All content in the series F1 Advent Calendar 2010
Filed under Mini Series
References Bruno Senna, Caterham F1 Team, Karun Chandhok, Lotus Racing, Lucas di Grassi
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