Saturday, April 12, 2008

Toyota|STR|SA and Force India

I've discussed a little about Force India's driver lineup, management and technical depth in the previous articles. This one is going to give hard facts about the competition that Force India will face on track next season. Ferrari, BMW Sauber, Renault, McLaren, Williams, Red Bull, Honda, Toyota, Toro Rosso, Super Aguri. These are the teams that Force India is going to fight with and of these, we can rule out at least the first seven teams as not a direct competitor to Force India. The remaining three teams, Toyota, Toro Rosso and Super Aguri are more likely to be the teams that they are going to have to fight with for track space. And, I don't think, including Toyota in the list of Force India's direct rivals is overly ambitious. The latter might not have the financial power of Toyota, but fighting with them is a realistic prospect.

Super Aguri will be, mostly, inheriting this year's Honda RA107 and with probably the scenario of next to no development throughout the season, it won't be surprising if they turn out to be the back-markers of the 2008 season. I'm basing my opinion on the fact that Super Aguri achieved little with the excellent RA106, which was Honda Racing's Grand Prix winning 2006 car. Yes, they brought home some points and that's great for such a young team. But, you can't hide the fact that it's mostly thanks to the development work done by the Honda guys on their car during the 2006 season.

Toro Rosso have Red Bull backing them, and should they get this year's Red Bull Racing RB3, that'll be fantastic for them--the RB3 proved to be quite a quick car if only overly unreliable. A few developments to the mechanicals of the car and it will reward the team with a good, reliable car throughout the season.

Coming to Toyota, I cannot solidly say what can be expected of them. The budget is there, but other than that there's nothing worth while to write home about. I usually discourage myself from making bad comments but, I do think that a change in the technical department might be of some help to the currently under-achieving outfit.

That brings us to our team. Force India. Mike Gascoyne says we are gonna see a lot of new aerodynamic parts on the car for the next season. He is a guy who delivers on promises. Vijay Mallya says he has given what the technical team wanted in terms of financial resources and personnel. We've to see if that's true and that's easy enough to check. But only after some races are completed. We've to closely watch out for Gascoyne's words before and after each race and each test session. I believe, his words will paint a truer picture of the team's stand more than what the on-track results would. You don't have to worry about that. I will be doing it here--intercepting his words to find out whether Mallya's promises have been delivered. I very much hope I can be on the affirmative throughout the whole 2008 season and if that actually is the case, Force India CAN fight with Toyota (and come out on top) and get points scoring finishes. How many, I don't know at the moment.

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