90 days to go!

I’m sure it wasn’t so long ago that I was telling you only 100 days were left until Bahrain Friday Practice in 2011. But it has in fact been 10 days since that date. There are now only 90 days to go! According to the BBC, it will start at 7am GMT.

What can we look forward to in 2011? Well, it’s the battle of the Lotuses: Lotus Renault GP against Team Lotus Renault. One may run under a French or British license, and the other runs under a Malaysian license. Group Lotus, who own 25% of the Renault team, are owned by a Malaysian company – Proton – who make cars. Both Lotuses are based in Norwich, one in Hethel (Group Lotus), and one ten miles away in Hingham (Team Lotus). Both claim to be the ‘real’ Lotus in Formula One and have the rights to use the name in the sport, though only one can be right. Both have announced their intentions to run with black and gold for 2011, to echo the John Player special colours that the old Team Lotus had. However, after a public poll on Twitter we may see green and yellow for Team Lotus.
This story will run and run. But there are other things happening in 2011. Adjustable rear wings! Pirelli tyres! Team orders! Yes, team orders are back. What will this mean? I doubt most teams will take it as far as Ferrari did this year and in previous years. The sport still has a reputation to uphold. However, it’s a smart move to take this item out of the sporting regulations. It’s difficult to police as it is, and adding clarifications could get complicated.

You can draw pairings between most teams on the grid, now. Aside from Renault and Lotus, there’s Red Bull and Ferrari as the fastest cars of 2010, McLaren and Mercedes, Hispania and Virgin (if Hispania make it to the grid), Force India and Williams, and Sauber and Toro Rosso who competed against each other at the start of the season before Kobayashi got into it. I’ll have to wait until 2011 really gets going to see if these pairings do work out for the season. But in the meantime, expect comparisons to pop up over their 2010 performance during the winter.

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