Archive for February, 2012

F1: Trulli finally out

February 21, 2012

It was a last minute decision, but it finally happened: Jarno Trulli has been replaced at Caterham by Vitaly Petrov just before the start of 2012 season. A few days after this decision it was announced that Caterham would have a new Russian sponsor.

There were several comments on how this change shows that decisions on drivers are mainly motivated by money. There is some truth in this but in this particular case, the spotlight should be on the fact that Trulli’s performance over the past two seasons at Lotus / Caterham has been truly awful, especially when compared with teammate Heikki Kovalainen.

Trulli was a real F1 survivor. Having been unfairly forced out of Renault in 2004 after falling out with team principal and his own manager Flavio Briatore, Trulli managed to land a lucrative contract with underperforming big spenders Toyota. After a good 2005 season his performance dropped significantly but he was rewarded with a new 3 year contract. He did some occasional good performances for Toyota but was lucky to continue in F1 after the team shut down at the end of 2009. Now, after two lacklustre seasons at the back of the grid, his F1 career is finally over. Vitaly Petrov is no superstar but regardless of the big roubles he deserves a seat in Formula 1.

F1: 2012 driver line-up is complete

February 4, 2012

The news that Narain Karthikeyan signed to race for HRT are not really a surprise given that the team was expected to take the weirdest decision possible. It would be interesting to know the background but it can be hypothesised that Narain falls into a narrow category of drivers that have money, are able to get a superlicense, are desperate enough to drive for HRT and believe that HRT are actually going to show up in the first race of the season.

Anyway, this means that the 2012 driver line up is now complete and it is interesting to note the high churn from last season, which has been concentrated on the midfield teams. The Team Formerly Known as Renault has replaced Senna, Petrov and Heidfeld and given a chance to Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean. Of these, only Senna was able to remain in F1. Toro Rosso has axed Buemi and Alguersuari. Force India has upgraded Nico Hulkenberg to a race seat forcing Adrian Sutil to the sidelines. Williams has put an end to Rubens Barrichello’s long Formula 1 career whilst HRT has said adios to Tonio Liuzzi and Virgin has continued its “Timo Glock + A.N.Other” approach to drivers.

All in all 8 drivers have lost their seats (9 if Karun Chandhok is included) including two top ten championship finishers, the only two drivers who finished on the podium outside the top 5 in the championship, and a former GP winner. Life in the middle of the F1 grid is pretty tough these days…