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Five things to look forward to in 2012 (Part 3) - Survival of the fittest // Pondering which of the new teams will be able to make their mark

Published by Christine

F1 Pocket Handbook

In my new book Pocket F1 Handbook : Guide to the 2012 Grand Prix Season you'll find a top ten list of things to look forward to in the coming year, highlighting what may be different and better from 2011, and what could make this year in Formula One stand out. As the first race draws ever nearer, over the next week, I'll select five items from that list - expanding on them and building up to the brand new F1 season. Our third exhibit is a battle right at the very back of the grid.

3. Survival of the fittest

With Caterham expected to make the leap to the midfield, both Marussia and HRT are left fighting not to be last. Although HRT were the team who struggled with the 107 per cent qualifying cutoff initially, they turned things around in the races themselves. For both 2010 and 2011, HRT have managed to finish ahead of their rivals, leaving the team formerly known as Virgin dead last. Both squads have new owners and a new philosophy for the coming season, though, and it’s a last ditch effort to pull themselves out of the gutter and start chasing Caterham towards better results.

HRT - all of a blur
HRT - all of a blurCredit: HRT Formula One Team

There's plenty of doom and gloom over the potential future of HRT and Marussia. Both have struggled with crash tests and have missed out on testing their 2012 cars in Spain ahead of the season start. However, that just makes them an underdog, and sometimes those provide the best stories.

Everyone involved is looking forward to the Australian GP weekend, and there have been positive quotes aplenty, starting with Narain Karthikeyan who actually got some time in the new F112.

I'm feeling positive ahead of the Australian Grand Prix after having completed 10 laps with the new F112 last Monday. Of course this was only a first contact and we didn't push it to the limit but the important thing was to get the ball rolling. It's not ideal to miss testing but we must look forward now.

- Narain Karthikeyan

Meanwhile, over at Marussia, team principal John Booth believes things are as anticipated, or perhaps even better than expected.

It has been a tough time for everyone but it is situations like this that really test the mettle of a team. The early years were always going to be tough for us but I have never had any doubts about the ability of our people to ride whatever storm comes our way. It is that faith rewarded that sees us heading out to Melbourne in a rather more orderly fashion than you might expect.

- John Booth

Of course, being happy with your orderly fashion doesn't really equate to being fast. Marussia know they have nothing to lose at this point. They have finished last for two seasons in a row, and have everything to do to make any impact on the season at all. That could make for some interesting racing ahead.

You can find more top ten things to look forward to in 2012 in the Pocket F1 Handbook, available now on Amazon. I'll be back tomorrow with another installment as we build up to the Australian Grand Prix.

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