With less than a week to go before the 2012 F1 season gets underway in Australia it is time to have a look at the grid to see what’s new from last year. The front of the grid is largely unchanged but there are new drivers further back and some surprise performances in pre-season testing which hope to unsettle the big players.
So, to introduce the 2012 season I will take you on a virtual walk up the grid to introduce the new teams and give a hint of what to expect when the wheels turn in anger on Sunday.
Marussia-formerly Virgin (Timo Glock, Charles Pic)
Pic comes fresh from GP2 where he finished fourth last year but the Marussia car failed a crash test and so Pic will go fresh into a race weekend with only the 62 miles allowed at a ‘filming day’ under his F1 belt. He combines with Glock at a team which failed to score a point last year but which has taken Pat Symonds on-board, he will use his experience as Renault’s engineering director to improve the car which has not been competitive in the last two seasons. Marussia’s fortunes, however, will rely on some luck as their main rivals boast significantly more experience.
HRT (Pedro de la Rosa, Narain Karthikeyan)
Having first driven the car about a week ago HRT are not expected to be especially quick at the start of the season but both drivers reported being happy with it and Karthikeyan saw it as an improvement from last years start. HRT has followed the popular F1 policy of bringing back an old hand, de la Rosa had his F1 debut in 1999 and has since raced, tested and commentated on the sport having been affiliated with Arrows, Jaguar, Mclaren, Sauber and the debacle surrounding Prodrive. HRT hope that he can pass his experience on to his team mate but they are not expected to be racing beyond the back three teams.