Sunday, March 1, 2009

What do the teams really think of each other's chances?

I was reading Vijay Mallya's comments about Force India's prospects for the upcoming season:
Vijay Mallya says his Force India team have 'no excuses' not to score regular points in 2009 thanks to their technical partnership with McLaren-Mercedes.
He's wrong, of course, in a pinch excuses will be found; but this got me wondering about how the various teams view each other.

There are two ways to analyze this statement. Firstly, and most obviously, there is the publicity angle. I don't think any team is formed, in any league at any level, to just "show up". You want to do well, you want to be improving. There will be ups and downs of course, but the ultimate goal is to one day win the various championships. As such, you don't want to be quoted in the media as saying things like "well our chances are pretty bad and we expect to be at the back of the grid all year long again". Such talk does nothing to encourage sponsors to be associated with your effort.

The second, and in my view more interesting, way to interpret the statement is that the team has evaluated the rest of the field and thinks they have a legitimate potential to do as well as they say they do.

This made me wonder -- just what do the various teams think the relative performances of each other are? Naturally, everyone except Ferrari and Mclaren presumes they are in the top half -- and Ferrari and Mclaren know they are in the top half. Everyone else is more or less up for grabs. But if you could get all those evaluations, then average them somehow, and then compare those predictions to the end of the season... that might be interesting.

It'll never happen, of course. But it is still fun to contemplate.

Oh, and while we're contemplating, here are the studio photos from the Force India launch.

Update: Technical analysis, too.