Thank you very much to Force India for finally announcing their driver lineup just six days before the start of the first test in Valencia. They are: Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta, with the amazing Nico Hulkenberg as reserve. Sutil continues in his sixth season for the only team he’s ever been in, and it’s good to see that Nico Hulkenberg has a place on an F1 team still; he’s young so there are plenty of years ahead for him to be a main driver. And of course Paul di Resta as second driver is brilliant. He’s earned his place through good driving, and Liuzzi’s poor performance lost him a seat. Force India are still clearing up those contractual issues.
Meanwhile, HRT have hired concept vehicle designer Daniel Simon – who designed vehicles for the new Tron film as well as working for VW. And now he’s moving into Formula One. He will not be designing their cars, though! He’ll be working on their image, which does need a boost. (Maybe they could hire me – I’d be cheaper and I’m already a fan)
The Spanish team’s only driver so far, Narian Karthikeyan, has said that the 2011 car will not be launched until the fourth test in Bahrain. This isn’t much time to get used to a new car, but it’s more time than Senna and Chandhok had last season. Colin Kolles has said that they will be developing an all-new car, and without FOTA’s Resource Restriction Agreement I guess they have more time to test it as well. But since Toyota backed out of the chassis deal, it’s taken them longer than anticipated. The remaining drivers will also be announced soon, though they haven’t yet decided on a second driver (Liuzzi? I hope so!).
The 2011 car will be called the F111, since last year’s was the F110. However, I like to think that they’ve discovered my blog, realised I’m a fan, and named it after me!
Team Lotus are going to exclusively launch their 2011 car online at 5am GMT, and you can sign up to see it on their website. They’ve fired their engine for the first time, and many other teams are getting to that point. They won’t be running their car on Tuesday so that they can get a private day of testing on Friday 4th to do filming.
Ferrari have named their car the F150, signifying the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.
Finally Toro Rosso, who will be using a good KERS system from Ferrari in 2011. The smaller Italian outfit didn’t adopt the F-duct last year, which seriously hampered their performance in the second half of the season, so it will be good to see them starting the season on a technical level with other teams. In fact, because they’re using a Ferrari KERS they might even be up in performance on teams where the KERS is untried in race situations. I can’t see them being the worst team this year. I have no doubt that there’s some exciting technical innovations coming, however, especially from McLaren, and it remains to be seen what the other teams do to adopt and adapt them.
By the next Wednesday Team News, cars will have begun their testing in Valencia so I’ll let you know how that’s gone. It will be interesting to see how times compare to each other, but remember that this is testing, and the point of testing is to improve the cars. I can’t wait to see how the new Lotus TL11 performs!