28
Nov
10

2010 Formula One season in review: Lotus

Of the three “newbie” teams to compete this year, Lotus finished a commanding 10th overall and threatened to score points on several occasions, the most memorable of which was the Japanese Grand Prix at the glorious Suzuka circuit.  Also… LotusC’mon.  They have history on their side (present name-spat with Group Lotus notwithstanding), as well as the only Finnish driver remaining on the grid.  Of course I’m gonna cheer for them.

Mostly I’m writing this post to link to F1-Fanatic’s article, which covers the Malaysian team’s season at a fairly abstract level but includes a tremendously satisfying selection of T127 porn:

I like their chances in 2011, and I think they’ll be the first of the noobs to score championship points.  Taking Mike Gascoyne from Force India was a major stroke in their favour, and running a pair of experienced drivers in their first season can’t have hurt their cause in the slightest.  The way I see it, the biggest challenge the newbie teams faced was coming to grips with their cars and developing a database of information on the tracks; Lotus has a lot more depth of experience in their key technical players, and it showed.

Switching to Pirelli tires in 2011 is going to do a lot to level the playing field; until they became the sole supplier for F1 Bridgestone developed their tires specifically for Ferrari.  Now, while I’m not going to advance any conspiracy theories, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suspect that the Monsters of Maranello had a fair bit more data on the sort of rubber Bridgestone fielded and were better able to take advantage of the tires than many of the other teams.  Switching from Michelin seems to have had a particularly bad effect upon Renault’s performance (though I was pleased to see their strength come back this year), so it’s not outrageously unlikely that Ferrari will fall back into the midfield starting next March.  All this puts new teams like Lotus at less of a disadvantage, since everyone will be starting essentially from scratch in trying to figure out how the new tires react to each of the given tracks.  (I guess the established teams will still have plenty of aero data, but the DDD ban should help that as well.)

Also: perkele!


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