Nine teams have scored points in Formula 1 so far this year. The three that haven’t are, of course, 2010′s new teams: Lotus, Virgin Racing and HRT. So how do you rank them, if they’ve scored no points?
The way the constructors’ championship does it is by best result. As autosport.com explains, that puts Lotus top (13th), followed by HRT (14th twice) and Virgin (a single 14th).
So that, I suppose, is the correct answer. But is it the fairest reflection of performance over a season? Probably not.
One alternative is to pretend that the established teams don’t exist, and award regular championship points to just the new teams. Everything F1 has done that, and again you end up with Lotus on top, then HRT, and Virgin last.
I’m not sure that’s right either though: the rewards seem too great for just finishing the race.
Let’s have a look at the order the new team drivers have finished in so far this season, from the classified finishing positions, white background representing a non-finish.
It’s hard to argue that Lotus isn’t top of the new teams. So don’t try it, sunshine.
But it’s not so clear cut between Virgin and HRT. Clearly Virgin suffered most from unreliability for the first four races or so, but since then, they’ve generally finished ahead of HRT, when both teams have finished.
Let’s adopt a points system, and see if we can quantify that: one point for a classified finish, and one point for every driver you finish ahead of. Again, data from here.
That, to me, feels about right. Lotus come out comfortably on top, then it’s close between Virgin and HRT, but Virgin edge it.
I think it’s a fair reflection of the drivers too. Heikki Kovalainen is deservingly top of the new team drivers – under this and the other two classifications. Apart from in Britain, when he’s finished, he’s been the first one home. Which is about all you can ask for, really.
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock come out equal second on points, followed very closely by Karun Chandhok. It’s Chandhok second under the other two classifications, chiefly because he’s only failed to finish two of his races. Clearly second best of the new team drivers is a tough call to make.
But what is clear, is that Bruno Senna suffered the brunt of HRT’s unreliability, retiring from six of the first eight races, only one of those after an accident. That’s left him ahead only of HRT ‘super sub’ – for want of a more accurate term – Sakon Yamamoto; and adrift of Lucas di Grassi, who’s been pretty respectable for Virgin.
While it’s fun, of sorts, to debate relative performance at the back of the grid, that all important 10th place in the constructors’ championship – and the money it brings – could well come down to a fluke result for one of the teams in a crash-packed race. Not terribly satisfying, but that’s life.
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