The ‘new’ teams



I admit the term ‘new’ may no longer be applicable, but it is a clear way of separating the teams that ultimately face the biggest upward struggle with those who have emerged victorious from this battle.

I don’t mean to put a downer on the season so close to its inception in Australia but we can’t forget the fallen team, HRT. Yesterday’s countdown blog post said goodbye and thank you to the drivers we will miss in 2013 – this team is no exception.

Often we joked of the frequent punctures and anti-climatic times but the reality is mechanics and team personnel now find themselves hunting for jobs in this insecure sport.  HRT are the team that fell into a sea of fallen hopes and dreams. Their demise from the sport left a trail of woe in its wake, sadly it wasn’t surprising either.

Marussia and Caterham joined the sport at the same time, all three teams arriving following the success of Brawn in 2009. The key difference: Brawn was born from the foundations of Honda, a team who had established team members and drivers.

These teams started from the very lowest tier of the Formula 1 ladder to build a car worthy of the races. Mike Gascoyne, Caterham Group CTO, built a team around him (which started as a group of just four key people) using his previous experience at Force India and the then-named Lotus.

This year, the two remaining teams both have completely different driver line ups. Charles Pic switched the red of Marussia for the green of Caterham after signing a new multi-year deal with the team. He will be joined by rookie Giedo Van der Garde who, after numerous failed attempts with fallen teams, finally has his chance to drive in the racing pinnacle.

Marussia welcome both Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi to the Formula 1 line up. The average age of the drivers has reduced by three years in just a matter of months as the youngsters look set to dominate both the present and future structure of the sport.

The extent to which these ‘new’ teams have improved is ultimately debatable. Points are yet to be scored and any entrances into second qualifying sessions are infrequent.

However their presence has taught us a great deal. Firstly, they have proven that teams who publically lack funding can still earn their place on the grid despite an ever looming cloud of financial woes hanging over their futures.

Secondly, Marussia, Caterham and even HRT have shown that fan bases can be found without race wins and points. Merchandise is still sold by the bucket load, drivers are still adored and the teams are contented to be just one chapter in what is sure to be a great 2013 story.

They also do a great amount of good. As if 2013 wasn’t competitive enough imagine having even less seats to fight for! We wouldn’t be seeing young talents such as the above mentioned and (‘Future Star’) Alexander Rossi.

They may struggle and don’t appear close to replicating the success of Brawn but let us not forget that their circumstances are now different. I for one would rather have more teams and drivers fighting on the grid, than a select few. Surely then, money would be an even more dominant factor than it already is now?

Slow teams don’t make bad seasons, too much dominance does. The variety should be celebrated.

This blog post is the fourth in this year’s pre season build up. For the next ten days, ‘stoodonthepodium’ will be bringing you exclusive interviews, stories, analysis and more from the world of Motorsport.

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