Missed the Apex 2010


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Top five disappointments of the year. Feel free to add your own suggestions.

5. ART Grand Prix
The junior series giants suffered a triple whammy this year. The GP2 team (former champions including Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hülkenberg) could only muster a single win and finished third in the championship. The F3 team lost the Euroseries title they had held continuously since 2004 to Edoardo Mortara and VW. An F1 entry application also had to be withdrawn when expected support was not forthcoming. There was some compensation with the inaugural GP3 crown, however. For 2011 things are looking up, with Lotus sponsoring the GP2 team and a proposed sportscar programme to replace the F3 team.

4. Mikko Hirvonen
In 2009 Hirvonen ran Sébastien Loeb close for the World Rally Championship, scoring 11 podiums in 12 events and finishing just a point behind the Frenchman in the final standings. 2010 started well with a win in Sweden, but the remainder of the season yielded only one other podium, in Turkey, and from mid-season his Ford team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala had comprehensively gained the upper hand. Mikko will have to improve on his sixth place in the championship (150pts behind champion Loeb) in 2011 if he wants to keep his much coveted drive.

3. Michael Schumacher
Enough said about him already. His fitness was not a problem, we were told. His motivation as high as ever. So other than the tyres not really being his cup of tea, what was the problem, Michael? Very disappointing on track - slow and often wild - and strangely subdued off it.

2. Peugeot Sport
They won the Le Mans Series, but there was little opposition and in years to come nobody will remember that. The big one, particularly for a French team, is the 24 Hours, and again there was a massive national marketing effort put behind the quartet of 908 HDIs. Qualifying went well, but qualifying usually does, and everyone expected the rival Audis to be closer in the race. As it turned out, however, that wasn't the case, and the home team were able to disappear into the distance with surprising ease, building an advantage of nearly two laps as the lead Audi, for once, tripped up. Come the morning, however, and the light was not coming from the rising sun, but the succession of frazzled turbos and roasted bodywork. A comfortable victory was transformed into a total defeat, with none of the Peugeots running at the flag. Zut alors!

1. The new F1 teams
It wasn't all their fault, of course. They didn't have much time to prepare. There wasn't much money going around in the world economy at the exact moment they needed it. And they were lumbered with an engine and transmission setup that they had had little (or no?) control over.

Still when Lotus, Virgin and HRT turned up at Bahrain, the lack of performance of their cars was a shock. Not only, one suspected, to fans, but to the teams themselves. At HRT, an early falling-out with technical partner Dallara did not help matters, while chronic budget problems contributed to a revolving door policy on drivers in the latter part of the season, and zero developments coming on to the car. The chassis is likely to be retained as the baseline for their 2011 car...yikes. Virgin's Nick Wirth was more than a little embarassed at the start of the season when it emerged their car lacked the fuel capacity to complete the race distance. It didn't help that he had been the one doing the most to talk up his team's chances in pre-season. Lotus largely avoided such episodes, and their drivers did a good job with what they were given, but the team's own target - to be on the pace of Toro Rosso by the end of the year - was missed by a very wide margin. Truly they were the "first of the losers".

They should all get a second chance to get things right next year and I very much hope their time as tail-end cannon fodder is over. After last season, however, I'm not placing any bets.
Looking at North America, there were two main instances where people and/or their respective series missed the proverbial apex this year, a couple of them all closely related.................

(1)the IndyCar Series, Dale Coyne Racing and Milka Duno. For a series rising from the near-ashes of King Tony's disastrous reign, this was pathetic on its' own. For them to let a no-talent hack like Duno compete was embarrassing(one of the running jokes on the Internets was that she was the Yuji Ide of Indycars....and that might be an insult to Monsieur Ide. For Dale Coyne Racing to hire her as a driver was disappointing(although DCR's hiring of Duno allowed them to hire Alex Lloyd to drive for them also.....). For Duno to grace the series' presence........ :censored: :censored: :censored: :censored: :censored: :censored:

(2)the American LeMans Series. Although I'm more of a Grand-Am fan than I am of the ALMS, the racing over there in Atherton-land is pretty good, but for them to boast of having a better tech-saavy series than Grand-Am and then bringing in two spec-racing classes(LMPC and GTC) to artificially increase car counts was disappointing, to say the least. Of course, hearing them blather on-and-on about how green the ALMS was 'bout made me :givemestrength: (if I want to hear about green things, I'll break out Al Gore's "Lies, More Lies, and D***** Lies""Aa Inconvenient Truth" and watch that over and over..... :o :o :o )

Other than that, it was a pretty good year for motorsports in North America; how many days is it til' the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona? 8-)
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