Concerns are growing over the pace of the new F1 teams with some believing that Lotus, Virgin and HRT could end up being little more than moving chicanes.
In pre-season testing, Lotus and Virgin appeared to be well off the pace. HRT meanwhile have had a disrupted pre-season thanks to financial worries meaning their car has yet to make it onto track. Expectations for HRT’s new car are not high with many believing that it will lap around the time of the Virgin and Lotus cars.
Although established teams have said little about the pace of the new teams – Lotus and Virgin were around four seconds a lap down – Red Bull’s Christian Horner has recently broken the silence to say that his drivers will “just to try to stay out of their way.”
“The danger is the time different is going to be so big,” Horner explained to ESPN. “The difference in the closing speeds is massive. You might start a lap eight second behind someone and think you are OK but you will catch these guys before the end of the lap. And then, will they be looking in their mirrors?
And it isn’t just the race where there are concerns – the new teams have the potential to ruin qualifying for the top teams.
“The potential for them to cause an incident is reasonably high,” Horner continued. “Teams are going to have to work hard to get track position so their drivers don’t run up to the back of HRT, Virgin and Lotus at the end of a flying lap.”
Tony Fernandes did little to quell these pace fears by admitting earlier in the week that his team was slower than the top F1 teams, and that their main aim was to finish races.