Friday, February 11, 2011

Deadpool 2011

So let's review my predictions from last year:
I would say that the bubble teams are Campos Meta and Lotus, with Stefan GP not being able to show up even if asked. Virgin could end up on the bubble next year depending on results.
Campos Meta became HRT, but somehow made it through the whole season -- possibly through not spending a dollar on car development. HRT has shown computer-generated images of their 2011 car, but nobody's actually seen it yet.

Lotus and Virgin both made it through the whole season, with Lotus comprehensively winning the "best of the new teams" category for 2010.

Implied in my prediction was that USF1 would survive 2010. They didn't.

For the more established teams, I note that the Renault team's ownership has been further diluted through the infusion of Group Lotus. I remain certain that Renault will divest themselves of the race team within a couple of years, at this point Group Lotus looks like the most likely buyer.

I also predicted that Toro Rosso would be sold last year, and that didn't happen. Between HRT and Sauber grasping for money to keep going, there was a surplus of teams available for purchase, so the Toro Rosso deal never even got started.

For 2011:

None of the premier establishment teams (Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren) are at risk.

Of the remaining establishment teams:
  • Lotus-Renault has momentum from last year and should survive.
  • Sauber is showing signs of weakness, but I think they will make it to the end of the year. I'm going to say they don't get sold.
  • Toro Rosso will get sold if a ready buyer steps up.
  • Williams will survive, but this season marks the beginning of a sea change. Patrick Head is basically selling off his shares (he is going from 27% ownership to 5% ownership) in the team through a stock-market scheme. He and Frank Williams are both in their 60s, and won't be able to do this forever. If this is a short term way to boost financing issues due to a lack of sponsorship, Williams is probably doomed next year or the year after.
  • I continue to not understand how Force India continues to get around, but they will continue to get around for at least this year.
For the new teams:
  • Team Lotus will be the best of the rest, possibly regularly beating Toro Rosso and Sauber. Finance is a bit more of a question though. I say they make it.
  • Barring some kind of disaster, Virgin will continue through into 2012.
  • HRT is my candidate for not making it, since they are only showing computer-generated imagery of their car thus far, and said imagery is very short on sponsorship.
As always, tune in next year for the laughing and pointing.