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New teams and the challenge of surviving in F1: Fans’ Forum video 5
New teams and the challenge of surviving in F1: Fans’ Forum video 5
Posted By: James Allen  |  04 Jul 2010   |  7:11 am GMT  |  10 comments

There are three new teams on the grid this season and next year there is set to be another. USF1 failed to make it along the way. So what is it like being a new team and what do established teams like McLaren think about how they are performing?

This was one of the subjects being discussed at the Fans Forum in London this week, where 150 fans came face to face with key team members and set the agenda for the discussion.

The panel for the Forum was led by Martin Whitmarsh, FOTA chairman and team principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and featured Tony Fernandes, team principal of Lotus Racing, Jock Clear, Senior Race Engineer, Mercedes GP Petronas F1 team, Luca Colajanni, Head of Motorsport Press Office, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and Paul di Resta test and reserve driver, Force India F1 team.

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I have had a professional on and off relationship with F1 extending back to 1991. This year I visited 6 grand prix as a spectator and got to see many old friends among the crews. I was appalled at the fear expressed by many seasoned team members as to the draconian contracts they have been forced to sign, mainly regarding secrecy. Also the diminishing lack of camarardary between rival teams. Formula One seems much more isolated from its fan base thank almost any other motorsport. I was priviliged to be a team guest at a NASCAR event and the contrast could not have been sharper. Not only do the fans get to see the cars and teams close up but drivers mingle freely with fans but they are approachable and many genuinely appear to enjoy the contact.

I have the utmost admiration for Bernie as one of the most honest but sharpest people I have ever known, however I beleive he is losing the plot but making the Formula One elite even more isolated


I have a suspicion that of the new teams only Lotus is serious about staying in the sport. I suspect that without the budget cap the others will be thinking of putting their limited recourses somewhere else and being more successful there. After all is said and done what sponsor wants to be associated with losing team or being associated with something that is considered as second best?


Funny how people are moaning about certain cars being too slow this season, (F1 and IRL), but I’m guessing the lap time difference between the fastest and the slowest is far less in recent years than in previous years, say the 50s to the 90s, and somehow everybody managed to get the job done then! The other thing is if a car is quite slow compared to a faster one, then it will only take 1, 2, 3, or 4 corners or straights to get by, whereas if a driver catches another driver who is only marginally slower he could take half the race to get past! I would have thought that would be far more frustrating than only being held up for a few corners! I might be wrong about that, but when I raced there was probably 15 seconds between fastest and slowest, and it was allways easiest to pass a slow car than a fast car!


I’ve got a funny feeling some of the currant drivers are so far up themselves they think everybody else should jump when they say “jump”.


Hi James

These videos are immense, really provide a proper insight into the thinking that is going on in contemporary Formula 1! I was just wondering, what was Colajanni’s response to the new teams, and what was Whitmarsh’s response to the partnership between Maclaren and Force India (I’ve always wondered how that relationship worked, in terms of customer car regulations).

Thanks again, I’ve been a long time reader, and have recommended this blog to anyone i know who wants to get more into f1. Keep up the good work.


Thanks. There was so much to get through that they didn’t get to express on those things. Keep spreading the word!


Yes they’ve sold themselves on that false “pinnacle” idea and developed quite an elitist attitude.


Shame we couldn’t see a response from Luca about the new teams – I guess it would have been something like “Yes, they should have their own championship, but on a different day and different track to the rest of us. Any championship that doesn’t involve 21 Ferraris is an absolute farce, and the FIA should be ashamed of themselves for letting anyone dare try and compete against us”, etc, etc 😉


The more new teams the merrier I say! David Coulthards rant of the current new teams being too slow is rubbish, 10 years ago it was common for cars to be 5-6 seconds off the pace, yet I never remember him or LDM dissing them. The new teams (HRT in particular) have done a great job, remember they’ve all built a team and car from scratch just 6months before the season started.


Oh snap! What’s there between Lotus and McLaren? In previous video, Tony made a joke on Martin about fuel tanks, which is hilarious and now Martin did a rather nasty one on Lotus and Tony. Yeah, both were funny but I wonder whether this relationship have a history.


I just took that as a sign of their good sense of humour, and just how relaxed they were that they were able to show it in front of fans without some PR moron neutering them.

Another reason why we should be thankful to James Allen for organising such a great event.

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