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'What would Ron Dennis say?' and other highlights from GCM's post-Australia column
My translation of Gian Carlo Minardi's column on Minardi.it
The start of the championship leads us to make some initial reflections. If on the one hand it has led us to understand the real strength on the grid and the development of the teams in the winter months, it unfortunately let us grasp the economic crisis on the other hand, which does not spare the golden world of Formula 1. As we know Manor (fka Marussia) showed up in Australia but left the cars of Stevens and Merhi in the box. Even today we don’t know when they will be able to make the grid.
Lotus has already asked Bernie Ecclestone for an advance on the FOA funds (for the results achieved in 2014). In the past a request like that came from small teams in the second half of the season. Force India, which was in dire straits already before the start of the season, and could only shake down its car in the final days of the winter tests, seems to be in search of new financial solutions (maybe through Mr. E). To this already quite worrying panorama which was the subject of several meetings in the winter which didn’t yield any concrete results, we can add the technical crisis of constructors such as Red Bull and Honda. During the weekend Red Bull didn’t hide its chagrin over its engine partner (which lost Lotus to Mercedes this year). The time after Australia will be the full of fiery meetings.
McLaren wasn’t available. They came in last in qualifying, some 5 seconds off Hamilton’s pole and they came in last in the race with Button and Magnussen having to forfeit before the green light. The Japanese appear to be in big technical trouble and the problems don’t appear to be solvable in the short term. These aren’t happy prospects as we are talking about two teams that don’t suffer from the economic crisis but the lack of results could make investors, Mr. Mateschitz e Takanobu Ito, the new president and CEO of Honda, impatient. I’m keen to know what will happen in the coming days and above all, what Ron Dennis will say. He’s always been very critical in the past about small teams that were 2 to 3 seconds off the pace. According to him such teams weren’t worthy of a place on the starting grid.
After having dominated the sport for four years, what will happen to Red Bull? Rumours have it they will wave good-bye to the circus. Among other things, Renault itself is said to be interested in buying Toro Rosso.
In summary, Formula 1 is running on hot coals. The first race has only brought 11 cars to the checkered flag of the 20 signed up, with McLaren, Lotus and obviously Manor out of the scoring ranks. That hasn’t happened for a long time.
Jenson Button's fastest qualifying time in 2015 1:31.422