- Qualifying: Sutil (13th) Liuzzi (16th)
- Race: Sutil (13th) Liuzzi (ret)
The end of the season probably came at the right time for Force India. After looking like they were pushing the top teams earlier in the season they ended the campaign, not to put too fine a point on it, badly.
The race itself wasn’t much cop for Liuzzi, who’ll probably just be grateful not to have taken Michael Schumacher’s head off. If that’s your criteria for success, then Liuzzi did very well.
Emerging round the third corner he was confronted with a cloud of smoke and, when it cleared, could do nothing to avoid an accident. All a bit of a damp squib, really.
Sutil had, by his own admission, “not such an exciting race”. He ran long and, when he did pit, emerged side by side with Rubens Barrichello, who passed him soon after. As he said though, it wouldn’t have made any difference as it was points they needed.
More broadly, the team are putting a positive spin on their performance this season, with team principal Vijay Mallya saying “Sixty eight points is something I, and the whole team, can take great personal pride in. When we bought the team we scored zero points the first year, then 13 last year and now more than five times that in 2010.”
What we at Badger are more concerned about though is that they’ve gone backwards steadily all season. Good effort, but something to work on.
Badger’s best: Sutil
- Qualifying: Trulli (19th) Kovalainen (20st)
- Race: Kovalainen (17th) Trulli (21st)
Heikki Kovalainen absolutely loved Abu Dhabi.
“The race itself was just great, right from when the lights went out. I got the best start of the season, made up places immediately and from that point on I just got my head down and got on with it. Everything went perfectly according to plan.” Well then, that’s that. He finished at the top of the drivers from the new teams and, if there’s a team and a driver looking most likely to get in amongst the midfield next season, it’s Lotus (or whatever they’re going to be called) and him.
As was so often the case this year, Trulli had a different experience: “My race was one of the ones I’ll want to forget. I had a problem with the front wing to begin with, and then a rear wing failure finished the race so I’m pretty glad it’s over! This year I’ve had all sorts of bad luck” Never was a truer word spoken. We at Badger think that with a bit of luck and a following wind, Trulli could surprise a few people next season with his qualifying performances.
More broadly, to be the best of the new teams and to have put in some very encouraging performances this season means it’s definitely mission accomplished for the team. We’re looking forward to next season already!
Badger’s best: Kovalainen
- Qualifying: Glock (21st) di Grassi (22nd)
- Race: di Grassi (18th) Glock (ret)
For what could be his last race for the team, Lucas di Grassi will have been happy at least to have finished ahead of his quicker team mate, even if it was the result of a mechanical failure.
He was saying all the right things after the race, calling Virgin a very close family and obviously angling for another crack next season. Sadly for him, with the new investment from Marussia it looks as though they’ll want a Russian driver in the car. To be honest, he hasn’t done enough to deserve to stay anyway.
Timo Glock was able to stay on the same pace as the Lotuses, but more mechanical frailty cost him and the team when his gearbox got too hot and conked out. Welcome to his season.
It seems absolutely nonsensical that Virgin contrived to finish below HRT but, there we go, they managed it. We know there’s a reason for it and that it’s completely rational – it just seems odd. Very odd.
Badger’s best: Glock
- Qualifying: Senna (23rd) Klien (24th)
- Race: Senna (19th) Klien (20th)
With yet more tales of unpaid bills the problems seem to be mounting for HRT. Will they be around next season? Maybe, but this column wouldn’t mind if they weren’t. Writing the same thing race after race gets quite tedious after a while.
They’ve changed their drivers, they’ve brought in other technical help but they’re still slow. No getting around it.
We wonder how far they’ve got with next year’s car…
Badger’s best: Senna