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New teams’ line ups taking shape
New teams’ line ups taking shape
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Nov 2009   |  8:38 pm GMT  |  58 comments

As the old season fades from view attention is now on the new teams. Campos Meta team yesterday unveiled Bruno Senna at a ceremony in its native Murcia region of Spain.

Picture 22
He is the first driver to be officially confirmed by one of the four new teams entering F1 next season. Campos is backed by the Murcia region, but is dependent on sponsorship from drivers to secure its place on the grid. Senna has some money from Embratel, but according to Adrian Campos, it is looking less likely that Pedro de la Rosa will get a seat as Spanish sponsors are sitting on their hands at the moment. Vitaly Petrov, who raced against Williams new boy Nico Hulkenberg for the GP2 championship this season, has a good chance of getting the other seat.

“I hope, in a short time, that everybody remembers me for being Bruno and not for my uncle’s surname,” Senna said. “I’ve learned to live with it and although it helped me at the beginning to find sponsors and find contacts, to be a driver you need to have a natural talent.”

Senna says that Campos seems very well advanced with its chassis build programme and has already passed key crash tests. Among the staff it has recruited is Ben Agathangelou, one of the aerodynamics engineers at Jaguar and Red Bull who is very highly rated among people I speak to in F1.

Campos’ target for 2010 is to be the best of the new teams. That is the natural goal of all the new teams and Lotus’ Mike Gascoyne has already said that he believes his team is the most advanced and most likely to head the pack, “We have to be realistic but our aim during 2010 will be to head the group of new entries and continually reduce the gap between our performance and those of the established teams,” he said. Lotus has backing from Malaysian companies to the tune of £55 million, according to the BBC website.

Jarno Trulli is being linked with a seat at Lotus and so is Anthony Davidson, a favourite of many JA on F1 readers. These two would provide enormous experience and pace. Trulli gives the engineers an exact picture of how fast their car will go and Davidson is not only quick, but also a very handy development driver, who knows exactly where Brawn are up to as he has been their third driver and simulator driver this season.

Manor is split in three parts; the race team in Sheffield, the engineering and design in Oxford and the commercial department in Hammersmith, London at Virgin. I’m hearing Lucas di Grassi’s name linked to this team. He won Macau at the wheel of a Manor F3 car and has current F1 experience as a Renault tester. He has proven that he is on a level with the top GP2 drivers, so he deserves a chance.

Interestingly Toyota has made it clear that the intellectual property on its 2010 car design is for sale. It’s too late for any of the new teams to take advantage of that, as most are well down the road with their won designs and builds, but for a well funded team it might be worth looking at what a real state of the art car design looks like and to absorb some of the DNA. Toyota started and ended the 2009 season with a competitive car, one which was equipped with a well evolved double diffuser, which will be a fundamental part of a 2010 car design.

I have a feeling that the difference between the new teams and the existing ones will be of the order of two to three seconds per lap next season. It takes time to come up with a ‘state of the art’ package and that is what even the lowliest existing teams have at the moment. In fact one of the lessons of 2009 is that there aren’t really any ‘lowly’ teams any more. Toro Rosso ended up last, but they won a race in 2008, while Force India made great strides in 2009. Manufacturer backed Renault finished 8th out of 10 with a double world champion in the car!

Final note on new teams, the N Technology law suit against the FIA alleging irregularities in the way the new teams were selected has been thrown out by the court in Paris. The reasons for the judgement will be published soon.

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Hi James,

I was just wondering if any of the new start-up teams have invested in redundant ex-employees of downsized current teams alá Brawn (down to 400+ from 750?)?

Surely this will be helpful seeing as they are start-up teams, and have any of these teams pulled a real coup in your eyes and got a guy who could really make a difference? In the same way that Lotus have got Gascoyne?

I happen to think that all these teams have quite interesting backgrounds to them, with each having their own way of going about things (Lotus with the Malaysian govt. investment, USF1 with their American Dream, Manor with their CFD and computers, and Campos with good old fashioned management and a good deal with Dallara)… who’s your favourite to sneak a point next year?


Toro Rosso will be full constuctors for the 1st time in a few years too – what a scalp that would be for a new team.

GP2 seems to be getting a bit unreliable in terms of highlighting talent. Kobayashi finishes 16th and impresses in F1, whereas Grosjean, Piquet and di Grassi have not impressed. Petrov was also out performed by Grosjean and di Grassi. Winning the championship in the 1st season (as per Hamilton and Hulkenburg) seems to be the only choice.


Does the 107% (or whatever it was) qualifying rule still exist?


The new teams (and several existing ones…) should be falling over themselves to sign Anthony Davidson. He’s added so much to the BBC coverage and part of me wants him to not get a drive but that is just being selfish; he would add much more to a team and I’m amazed he hasn’t already been signed.


I agree, he is a natural behind a microphone and his 5 live and red button work this year has been outstanding


James, what can you tell me about Lotus? Am I right in saying they are only Lotus in name? They have nothing to do with the uk factory and are Maylasian based and back! I’ve read some forums from Lotus fans and they seem less than impressed! Whats your thoughts James?


It’s quite confusing. Lotus cars are owned by Malaysians (Proton) and this group has Dannu Bahar (ex red Bull and Ferrari) and Claudio Berro (ex Ferrari) in management. There is a slight connection with Lotus F1, but they are not running it. The Lotus F1 programme is backed by several Malaysian companies. I’m still getting to the bottom of it myself!


I recall talking to a guy at Pacific when they added the Team Lotus suffix for 1995 who said there were 7 variations on the “Team Lotus” limited company (good old Colin!) and they had bought out 1. David Hunt owns the rights to “Team Lotus”, but Mike Gasgoyne’s team is “Lotus F1 team”. Being licensed by Group Lotus (Proton) is a lot closer to the proper Lotus, who built production cars to fund racing as per Ferrari, than a Lotus badged Litespeed (back of the British F3 grid team) or Pacific team would ever be.


As I understand it Proton are one of the Malyasian companies behind the F1 team – obviously though the name ‘Lotus’ inspires more than ‘Proton’ in motorsport circles lol


Sorry if this has been addressed elsewhere, but is the 107% qualifying rule still valid?


No that’s long gone, Might have to come back, mind


Hi James – if you consider that Williams will have the same Cosworth engine as the newbies, where in general do they “find” 2-3 seconds?

Is it purely aerodynamics, or what other key parts can be improved to make a difference?


Yes it will be aero, mechanical grip etc. Big chunks everywhere


Trulli – Pace. Not two words I would normally put in a sentence together. Unless there were the words “lack of” somewhere in-between.


I disagree somewhat about all of the new teams being rooted to the back of the grid.

Manor are making an all CFD design (which most are saying is a massive gamble), but lets not forget they know what they’re doing. The prototype they made in the same way was a race-winner in ALMS. Not saying they’ll win a race next year, just don’t count them out for a couple of surprises.


Yep. ANd whilst on the subject of LM prototypes, I have to say I view *them as the “pinnacle” of technology these days. The only thing F1 leads in is the ‘spending obscene amounts of money for microscopic aero gains’ category!


“…’spending obscene amounts of money for microscopic aero gains’..”

You are right on the money with this Rich, the mish-mash of bits and bobs on front wings is ridiculous.

“…aerodynamics drives performance in F1 …” is a recent Mike Gascoyne quote on the Autosport site. Isn’t it time that was changed?


Cool – and you are entitled to that opinion 🙂

The weather might intervene and if it chucks it down then we may have a surprise or two… but generally I can’t see it. I think that one or two of the newbies will improve as the season progress, but they will struggle for points… McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Brawn will occupy most of the scoring positions most of the time (as we return to more evolutionary reg changes – 2009’s reg changes were revolutionary compared to what had gone before). You’ll get Williams in there sometimes and maybe Renault too – Kubica is fast. But the top eight, will be locked out from the newbies.

I’d love to be wrong… but I can’t see it Lentulus.


Williams haven’t done anything for 4 or 5 years now, with evolutionary or revolutionary rules. Renault have been bad for 3 years and may not be around next year (or they still might be as Nissan – watch this space).

Don’t forget aswell that Toro Roso are esentially a new team in having to build their own car now.

I’m going to nail my opinions to the mast – I think Manor will beat TR next year, and maybe Williams too. I won’t count Renault because they may not be around anyway.


Personally I am hoping koba and Sato or Koba or Ant for the Lotus team.

Trulli needs to spend more time in his vineyards.


Come on Little Ant! He really deserves a drive.


I really hope Kobayashi can find a seat somewhere. Maybe Renault should take a look at him.

Reading through mobile, I was stuck with the Alonso visit story for many days, finally get updated today.


Just hoping Ant gets the call…

I’d rather have insight into Brawn than Toyota… and I guess given his employment of some of the Toyota old guard already Mike G may also see it that way too…

Here’s hoping…


Hi James,

I was wandering is Kamui Kobayashi going back to make Sushi? I hope he does find a seat for himself as he has been argubly the rookie of the year. Do you have any idea where he will end up?


James – your site is playing up. It hasn’t “updated” (for me) since you posted the “Alonso gets down to work at Ferrari” story and now today, there’s a whole host of additional stories – which is great; however, it would be easier to respond to \ comment upon articles (if the desire takes me) in more “real-time” ie, when the article has been posted. [Btw, this occurs from two different locations with entirely different ‘net access rights and setups].

Re: new teams – this is going to be the biggest change in driver dynamics since, well, since I can remember 🙂

I fear we may see three “tiers” on the grid, next season… Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull and Brawn up front; then Williams, Force India etc (the rest of the ’09 runners); followed by the new teams… I just can’t see any of the newbies being competitive in their first season, despite their technological and people powers.

If I were Bruno, I would be looking at coming top of the third tier… to then boost him into a seat further up the grid – sounds like that’s how he’s thinking.

I can see a lot of the drivers in the front four cars moaning about “traffic” in 2010 😉


“If I were Bruno, I would be looking at coming top of the third tier… to then boost him into a seat further up the grid – sounds like that’s how he’s thinking.”

Which is in fact what his uncle did, too: Toleman > Lotus > McLaren. B-)


Sure Lustigson… it’s why I mentioned it 🙂

I was one of those who wanted to see Bruno in a Brawn for the 2009 season, I (wrongly!) thought that Rubens had lost his mojo and I thought Bruno would be there for a few years. But as Brawn had to wait so long for FOTA confirmation, engines, money etc, etc. Rubens was the only sensible choice. [I can’t see Bruno racing for Brawn in the foreseeable, as the Mercedes tie-up seems to have strings attached]

Hamilton’s elevation to a competitive race seat, was the exception rather than the rule. [It’s why I’m happy Lewis had a shocker at the start of 2009; it put some hairs on his chest, made him realise it’s not plain sailing in F1 and that nothing is guaranteed… he’s matured massively this year, which is great! He’s lost his arrogance and shows more humility… yet he still drives the pants off the car.] Most, if not all newbies, should earn their “racing stripes” by competing for the “lesser” teams. It also means that if you are a particularly good driver or “fit” F1… you will stand out e.g. Alonso at Minardi.


I agree with you, we are going back to the 1990s here, but then it is important to get some new teams into the sport and they have to start somewhere.


I too think that we are likely to have tiers of teams this season, however, I am less inclined to say that I fear this. With the exception of the 09 season, have we not really had a tier system in most years – the key difference being that there was a two-team tier at the top and then ‘everybody else’.

Most sports – either formally or informally – have such tiers. I think it’s part and parcel of any given sport that you follow. The important thing (for me, at least) is that the tiers are not set in stone and provide ample opportunity for both ascent and descent. For all the problems it has caused this time round, period regulation changes, the current addition of new teams and the forthcoming budget caps, will serve to ensure that this remains the case.

My one fear is that the new teams will be so far off the pace that owners and management boards decide that the gaps is too big to warrant pumping in more cash, resulting in teams appearing for a season or two and then disappearing again, leaving a whole on the grid. In this respect, I share Ferrari’s concerns about the quality of F1 becoming diluted and pray that Bernie made the right choices with the entrants he allowed to join F1. It would be a crying shame if we are deprived of Sauber’s continued presence, and to a lesser extent, the presence of a name like Aston Martin (albeit indirectly) on the grid in favour of easy-come, easy-go teams.

Also, I second Stevie P’s comment about the site. I have had this problem recently as well. Despite refreshing, emptying cache, etc, and also accessing the URL from different computers, locations, networks and browsers, there are often periods when it appears that the site has not been updated and then, you check back again, and it turns out you’ve missed 2-3 days of comments and posts. I experienced this week and, to the best of my knowledge, it was the second time that it had happened. Sorry, I wanted to send this in an email to avoid going off topic but couldn’t find the address. Maybe your technical team can use the feedback.


Thanks, that’s odd because we have not experienced that, but we will look into it


Absolutely… new teams are welcome by me 🙂 And sure they have to start somewhere… I wasn’t knocking them.

Everyone knows Brawn GP weren’t a new team… they evolved from Honda, who evolved from BAR, who evolved from… and so on. Most existing teams have this “F1 bloodline” running through them.

I want to see the grids full of cars… which is why I was happy to see some teams suggest 3 cars, instead of 2, IF the new teams don’t make it.

I’m still unhappy with Ferrari’s belittlement of the newbies – I don’t understand their agenda on this, at all (unless they are utterly desperate to run 3 cars to fit Schumi in).

New teams provide spaces for more drivers. I think a lot of people on here, would love to see Ant Davidson in an F1 car – I would for sure. I think 2010 gives him his best shot for that and the likes of Di Grassi and Bruno Senna – who maybe 2 or 3 years ago would not have been able to shift the current incumbents of the seats.

I don’t like the blue flags, I never have, I think it throws in another random element to the racing… but I do feel the marshalls will have to toughen up their arm muscles for next season… it’s gonna be blue-flag mayhem 😉

[P.S. Nice to see the site functioning today – thank you! :-)]


It’s been functioning no problem for the past couple of weeks..?


Are any of the new teams likely to do a “Brawn” in 2010 and shock the F1 world? You mention Lotus could go with Trulli and Davidson, but do they have the engine?


Brawn was basically a manufacturer funded chassis (megadollars) with a choice engine bolted to the back (Mercedes).

I do not think you’ll see any of the new teams be in such a fortuitous position in 2010… expect them to be tail enders (and possibly even fail to qualify sometimes or often) as James says…


They have the Cosworth. With no DNA to build on, this is a start up so no chance of competing near the front for a few years.


James, I really enjoy reading your stories here on the website. Could you write a story on which drivers and which engines will be best suited for the rules next year? With the driver’s, in respect to which of the driver’s are “easy” on their tyres, and are good at managing fuel economy? Also, could you clarify the position on KERS? Will Williams use it in the end? Thanks, Padeepa


Thanks. I will take that idea on board. As for KERS, no they will not use it next year. Patrick Head confirmed that to me in Abu Dhabi.


Hi James,

Good news re Anthony Davidson potentially getting a well deserved opportunity.

I gather that you haven’t heard any more about who will be driving for USF1?

Also, do you believe the rumours that they are in trouble?


So hard to tell. It has suited some people to suggest that that they might be. Peter Windsor assures me that they are not.


James, everyone talks about F1 not making it for 2010. Do you know where all this started? What did USF1 do to start those rumours?

Who would gain by spreading those stories?


Any news on Raikkonen, James ?



if young Senna is a good as he thinks he is ,why has one of the bigger teams not picked him up. I cant believe they all do not want rookies in the team…


I don’t see Campos as being on top of the new teams next year.Seems to me Lotus will have the upper hand,especially if they get the experience Trulli and Davidson.I don’t know how far along Toro Rosso is with thier new car but,looking into the Toyota design would be well worth it I suspect.

New to the site btw…very nice.


I agree I think Lotus will be at the front of the new teams because, I think Gascoyne has had issues with dealing with management (or they have issues dealing with hearing the truth) As he now seems to be more in control of a team than Renault/Toyota allowed him.


“…a well evolved double diffuser, which will be a fundamental part of a 2010 car design.”

No! Say it ain’t true! I’ve heard – and read – many times recently that the DDs undid much of the work that the OWG did; why let such a detrimental loophole remain?


DD were deemed legal under the current rules which barely change for 2010.


I’m not sure this is true. The whole point of a diffuser is to smooth air flow; I have read that an under-body arrangement terminating in a diffuser produces a quarter of the drag (and therefore turbulence) that a wing or winglets would for the same amount of down-force. On that basis, if the cars are still producing too much turbulence to be able to follow one another then it would surely be down to the wings still being too big rather than the diffusers.

I’d be very interested to see some definitive comment on this from someone directly involved in F1 aerodynamics.


James – really unusual to have so many new teams on the paddock in 2010 – especially with the demise of Toyota and potentially Renault. Where do you think F1 would draw the line in terms of numbers?


13 teams is the maximum in the rules unless all the teams agree to more, which is very unlikely


Reasons for the judgment are political and will be pure rubbish as always.



do you really think that the new tams could be as much 2/3 seconds off the pace? One advantage they have over previous privateer teams (in the 80s and 90s) is that engine performance will be relatively similar. I have been following F1 since 1980. I could not believe the gap between pole and the fastest normally aspirated car at Hockenheim for the German GP of either ’81 or ’82 (one where Piquet and Salazar came to blows). Alboreto was 7th or 8th 7 seconds slower!

One promising note with these new teams is that all the drivers you have mentioned and I have seen discussed elsewhere will be creditable competitors unlike some of the drivers we have seen in the past.

Finally, any news on the British GP yet? When is the cut off date whereby it will not take place next year? As far as I am concerned this is the biggest story at present.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

James, I have been trying to send you an e-mail as well but keep getting delivery failure notices.

I am an ex-friend of the colourful Malik Ado Ibrahim (ex-Arrows owner) and had some funny stories for you!!

Separately, what do you make of all the news surrounding Symonds, Briatore, and Piquet?

Bernie seems to be welcoming back NPJ with open arms, presumably to legitimise the comeback of his friend Flavio. Pat Symonds is co-appealing with Flavio. Flavio is citing Bernie’s conflicting position on the World Council as part of his appeal.

This all seems quite contrived.

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