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F1 Update, New Teams And New Regulations

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On: Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 1:19PM | By: John Welch

F1 Update, New Teams And New Regulations

You gotta love it when "the man" takes one on the chin. In this case, "the man" is Bernie Ecclestone and the Euro-racing elite. Ecclestone has been very open about his feelings regarding the four new teams entering F1 in the 2010 season. Specifically, he doesn't believe some of the teams will make it to the grid; more specifically, he does not believe USF1 will make it to the grid.

Well, how's that crow taste Bernie? Not only is USF1 the obvious leader as far as the new teams are concerned, they appear to be one of the most well prepared teams, period! First, we go over the new "Sporting Regs" and how they will affect the look of the car, then we will update you on each new team on the grid . . . assuming there is anything to update .. .

First, the new rules. For 2010 there are several small changes that will have a huge impact on the look and performance of the cars. Re-fueling, banned! KERS, banned! Wheel-Spats, BANNED! Those are the biggies, but the FIA has also regulated a smaller front tire to equal out the grip in-balance between the front tires and rear tires seen on the 2009-spec cars.

A detailed outline of the rule changes can be found here, along with visual representations of their effects. The bodywork will be longer and wider, and the wheel-base increased as well. The fuel tanks will be nearly twice the size of the tanks used last season, from 605kg to 620kg. So that's like, 7 gallons to, like . .. twelvvvvuuhhhrrggghh . . . . they're just bigger, okay?! If I could do math I'd be designing those glorified gas-tanks instead of pontificating about them.

Veteran teams have been designing their cars since the summer, but the new teams have had a three month head start. Let's see where they all stack up, based on info gained from their websites and other media outlets . . .

Virgin Racing: Having already announced their drivers, (Pedro de la Rosa and Timo Glock), Virgin has chosen to say little else. Literally, nothing else. The VR website has not been updated in a while, or, never. They do have corporate sponsors and fancy Virgin-branded leather jackets . . . also this project was well underway when Virgin bought the naming rights for Manor GP from John Booth. Though there is nothing new to report it would seem that no news is good news, because . . .

Campos Meta F1: . . . is producing news, and it ain't good. The Spanish team has been essentially silent since announcing Bruno Senna as its a-numero-uno driver late in the summer. Nelson Piquet Jr., a complete side-show in his own right, was stirring up the rumor mill toward Christmas, but now it is clear that his daddy (former F1 champ Piquet Sr.) can't bail Andrian Campos out of this debacle. Campos Meta needs an influx of money, and it doesn't look real promising that they'll get it.

A source close to Campos Meta One reports: "It is not a secret that we do not have the budget - and time is scarce," says the confidential source, "If we can find a good investor, we could sell part of the team to them. If necessary, we could sell the whole team, but the basic conditions would have to be right." Yikes, that does not sound good. Campos better get their ess together; a Serbian team by the name of 'Stefan GP' has purchased the defunct Toyota teams TF110 chassis engines and gearboxes. They are preparing as if they have already been granted a spot on the grid, just in case Campos Meta One drops out.

Lotus F1: The storied name of "Lotus" will be making a return to F1 in 2010, though the team will have a slightly Malaysian flavor. Just like the Lotus that builds Toyota-engined rocket-sleds, the F1 team is owned by a Malaysian consortium. So, a little less British than one would like, but at least they seem to be on the right track to make the February FOTA launch that Campos Meta is probably going to miss.

Two veteran drivers, Heikki Kovalienin and Jarno Trulli, and a private wind tunnel have put Lotus ahead of their (already!) rivals from Virgin Racing. According to the team's website, Lotus F1 is a week ahead of schedule for launching their test car, and they are more than ready to present their hard work in Valencia this February.

Asked for an update, Mike Gascoyne, Lotus F1 Racing Chief Technical Officer, said, "We had been looking at firing up our engine for the first time on 12th February, but with the efforts everyone’s been putting in we have now been able to bring that forward to 5th February. This is obviously a great boost for everyone involved in the team, and shows how much hard work has already gone in since we had our entry confirmed on September 12th."

"With the engine fire up date now in the diary, we are also in a position to confirm that we will be on track for the first time at the third official test at Jerez from 17th February, and then at Barcelona from 25th February. We are also aiming to run chassis two for the last two days of that Barcelona test."

Good luck, fellahs! To be the best of the new guys, you're gonna need it!

So, this brings us to the patriotic portion of the blog post, wherein I wax all philosophical about our F1 team, USF1/USGPE. Not much waxing needed; the team is being as forthcoming with technical information and production videos as they possibly could be. Not ready, my ass. The drivers are the only thing that USF1 has yet to put together. As this video shows, the car is ready for its debut in Alabama at the Barber Motorsports Park. The grand unveiling will take place in early February, followed by a test session alongside their rivals in Spain. After that, it's on to the Bahrain GP and USF1's maiden race!

This crash test is done on the nose cone of every car before it can be approved for racing.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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