Midland F1 competed in Formula One last year after buying out Eddie Jordan’s Jordan Grand Prix. They kept the name and branding in 2005, but this year sees the proper induction of the team onto the grid. The team managed a podium last year with Tiago Monteiro, but it was the farcical US Grand Prix, and realistically speaking a couple of points finishes would be all they could muster. And unfortunately, I cannot see how they are going to improve on that for this year. Like in 2005, they have the Toyota engine in the back of the car, but as they didn’t use it to its full advantage in ’05, why would they this season?
The one good decision they have made is keeping Tiago Monteiro on the books. He seemed to do very last year, a given that he was a rookie, managed to complete almost all the races. In comparison to his then team mate Narain Karthikeyan, Tiago looked very good with an old head on young shoulders. Sure, Narain drove well and was probably the outright faster of the two, but being the fastest does not always mean being the winner.
Monteiro has praised the Midland car in testing, and has also hinted at an increased budget for this year. But I get the impression Midland F1 were a little shocked at how hard it is to compete in F1. Partnering Tiago in the sister Midland is Christijan Albers, who drove for Minardi last year and again showed signs of a good level-headed driver.
Compared with Red Bull Racing, you’d have to say that Midland aren’t that serious about racing, and whilst I have lambasted them in the past, I am willing to wait to see what they can produce. If Midland can utilise the engine better, then they should start to make progress, but so far the signs aren’t there. We will have to wait and see…