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Just as the title fight between Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso went down the wire in Brazil, Marussia and Caterham were also fighting in Brazil for 10th place in the standings which is worth about $10 million i.e. the team that finishes in 10th place gets $10 million dollars more than the one who finishes in 11th place. While Hulkenberg and Hamilton crashed out fighting for the lead at Senna S, they've were interrupted by Kovalainen and Glock who themselves were fighting, albeit a lap down from the leaders. So, here's the Part 1 of our season review where we review the performance of Caterham, Marussia and HRT.
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
After leading the fight for being the best among the 'backmarkers' for two seasons as Team Lotus(not to be confused with Lotus F1 team), the team had hoped to mix up in the midfield and fight for points in 2012. That certainly didn't happen and in fact they had to fight hard for 10th place in the standings against Marussias. The Russian team took over 10th place in the standings after finishing in 12th place at Singapore. Both teams fought till the end in Brazil where Vitaly Petrov beat Charles Pic to 11th place and help team regain the spot of best among the bottom three.
Heikki Kovalainen who drove exceptionally last year to the praise of fans and F1 fraternity alike seemed to have lost his charm in 2012. In the second half of the season, he was often outpaced by younger teammate Vitaly Petrov - both in qualifying and race. The fact that he has 6 seasons in belt including one race victory with McLaren makes his case worse. Making into Q2 thrice was his highlight of the season.
Meanwhile, Vitaly Petrov performed much better than what was expected from the Russian. He brings a lot of money through his sponsors which got him a seat at the very last moment. Also, his 11th place finish at the final round in Brazil is almost worth $10 million. Despite impressive performance, he doesn't have a contract for 2013.
Best race finish - Petrov's 11th at Brazil
Best grid position - Kovalainen's 16th place at Bahrain, Europe and Germany
After sitting at the bottom of the table for two years, Marussia had hoped for better results under new ownership and name. And they did upped their game as they took 10th place in the constructors standings only to lose it at the final race in Brazil. Before the start of the season, they had a change in driver line-up with rookie Charles Pic(who finished 4th in GP2 series in 2011) teamming up with experienced Timo Glock.
Charles Pic impressed us throughout the season and is our rookie of the year. It did took time for the Frenchman to get used to, but soon he was up and able to match and even beat his teammate Timo Glock. His perfromance was enough to get him a drive with financially stronger Caterham team for 2013.
Timo Glock, a potentital race winner has failed to perform well with a team like Marussia. Without a doubt he was very impressive with his tenure with Toyota(much like Rosberg with Williams), but with Marussia he has failed to show his talent. His drive to 12th place in Singapore was the high point of his season.
Best race finish - Glock's 12th place finish at Singapore and Pic finishing in the same position at Brazil
Best grid position - 19th position by both the drivers at multiple times
In 3 years of existence, HRT has failed to impress us or their fans. They've constantly faced financially problems and had a massive change in ownership in 2011. They put their team on sale again but this time failed to find a buyer until the deadline of 2nd December and is likely to close despite no official word from the team. Talking about their performance on track, HRT were much behind Marussia and Caterham in terms of raw pace and finished at the bottom of the table.
Pedro de la Rosa returned to race seat with HRT this year and has played an important role both on and off the track. His experience in Formula 1 has helped the team to grow and in the race has been much faster than Narain Karthikeyan.
Narain Karthikeyan brings a lot of funds to HRT essential for team's survival, but when it comes to performance on track, he failed to impress. In Malaysia, he made contact with Vettel which punctured latter's tyre starting a fight of mouth between the two with Vettel calling him a 'cucumber'. The Indian's 15th place in Monaco was the best result of him and the team.