2015 Formula One Rejects Microprose Grand Prix Series season
The fifth season of the Formula One Rejects Microprose Grand Prix Series is held in 2015. This season sees the introduction of pre-qualifying for the first time in the series' history, as well as a calendar expanded to eighteen races, optimised as ever for maximum travel efficiency.
The calendar expands to include eighteen rounds, twelve in Europe bookended by three far-flung races at each end of the season - the Americas at the beginning, and everywhere else at the end. The series will visit the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria and South Africa for the first time, with the loss of the "flag of convenience" races at Imola and Barcelona, run under the flags of San Marino and Andorra in 2014. Also, with Scottish secession from the UK a near-certainty after the referendum of October 2014, the British Grand Prix will now be run as the English Grand Prix.
Imola is not completely lost to F1RMGP, though; pre-season testing will be held there on 10/12/14 March.
Sir Bernard Shekelslike's amazing influence on the world continues unabated. Never mind his ability to bring drivers back from the dead via his Hologram Projection Unit, this now extends to circuits as well, with the inclusion of very old-school layouts of Kyalami, Paul Ricard, Zandvoort and the Österreichring, even where it had previously been thought that those sections of track had been destroyed forever. Legend further has it that Sir Bernie has also provided assistance to F1RWRS, for example allowing them to race on the decommissioned 2000-09 "Bridge" layout of Silverstone.
|1||Brazil||Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo||1990-2015||71||18 April|
|2||Mexico||Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, Mexico City||1986-2015||69||2 May|
|3||Canada||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal||1995-2015||69||16 May|
|4||Monaco||Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo||1986-2015||78||30 May|
|5||France||Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet||1970-1985||53||6 June|
|6||England||Silverstone Circuit||1994-1995||60||20 June|
|7||Belgium||Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps||1981-2003||44||4 July|
|8||Netherlands||Circuit Park Zandvoort||1980-1989||72||11 July|
|9||Sweden||Anderstorp Raceway||1968-1977||80||25 July|
|11||Austria||Österreichring, Spielberg||1976-1987||53||5 September|
|12||Hungary||Hungaroring, Budapest||1989-2002||77||12 September|
|13||Italy||Autodromo Nazionale Monza||1976-1994||53||26 September|
|14||Portugal||Autódromo do Estoril||1994-1999||71||10 October|
|15||Spain||Circuito de Jerez||1994-2015||69||17 October|
|16||South Africa||Kyalami, Gauteng Province||1967-1985||75||31 October|
|17||Japan||Suzuka Circuit||1983-2001||53||14 November|
|18||Australia||Adelaide Street Circuit||1985-1995||81||28 November|
The field consisted of 21 teams, all entering two cars. The field saw its most dramatic shake-up between seasons since the series had begun in 2011.
Team and engine changes
- Five teams left the series at the end of the 2014 season: Ginsters Team Toleman, Monteverdi Onyx Grand Prix, EuroBrun Racing, Genii Team Malaysia and one-season wonders David Price Racing.
- Five engine suppliers also left the series: Judd, Renault (and the rebadged Dacia subsidiary), Motori Moderni, Toyota and Proton.
- Having obtained the required signature of a hologrammatic Colin Chapman, the forced partnership of Tony Fernandes and Dany Bahar was dissolved, with Fernandes' half of Genii Team Malaysia returned to Keith Wiggins, thus bringing Pacific Racing back into the series for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
- New teams joining the series for 2015 were Hispania Racing (as distinct from the Thesan Capital owned HRT Formula One team), Shekel Racing, Ice One Racing, FIRST Racing, Arrows Grand Prix and Polestar Racing (distinct from both the Formula Atlantic team and the team founded by Luke Knight that was intended for F1RWRS).
- Scuderia Andrea Coloni and Minardi Formula One Team both entered a partnership with Alessandro Linari's Il Barone Rampante group, thus bringing them a supply of engines from Lancia. The teams became known as Scuderia Alitalia Andrea Coloni and Lancia Minardi Racing respectively, for sponsorship reasons.
- The Hyundai Motor Group became the second all-new engine supplier to the series, supplying engines to FIRST under the Kia badge, for reasons which will become apparent when the 2015 Bathurst Enduro is run. The Volvo engines run by Polestar, whose entry was submitted right at the deadline, are widely believed also to be rebadged Hyundai Group engines, even though Volvo and Hyundai have no business connection.
- Four engine manufacturers which had so far only supplied one team expanded to two teams for 2015: Koenigsegg and PURE supplied engines under their original badging to Ice One and Pacific respectively, whereas the diesels were badge-engineered. Hispania gained Audi engines badged as SEAT and Peugeot supplied engines to AGS, badged as Citroën.
- The Mugen engine used by Super Aguri and Dome was expanded to a 3.6-litre V12 - but only for Super Aguri, Dome having to make do with the old 3.0-litre V10 configuration.
- Ford do Brasil continued to supply 2.3-litre inline-4 engines to Forti, but traded the turbocharger for a supercharger.
- Moteurs Guy Nègre ditched their ancient 3.5-litre W12 in favour of a new 2.0-litre inline-5, and designated Shekel Racing as their works team, who were expected to be hopeless. A spokesman for MGN said the team's predicted failure would pay dividends at the mid-season Grand Reversal, where two top-drawer drivers would then be able to show what the engine was truly capable of.
- With the withdrawal of EuroBrun, Arrows took the second supply of Neotech engines - though it is well known that Arrows effectively bought EuroBrun's entry to obtain them. Spyker became Neotech's works team.
- The final change was HKS, now supplying engines to Stefan, after the withdrawal of both Monteverdi and Toyota.
- A massive fifteen drivers left the series at the end of the 2014 season. They are, in the order they finished in the 2014 Drivers' Championship: Bruno Giacomelli, Volker Weidler, Claudio Langes, Ralph Firman, Pierre-Henri Raphanel, Allan McNish, Emanuele Naspetti (again), Stéphane Sarrazin, Jacques Villeneuve, Olivier Grouillard, Fairuz Fauzy, Kazuki Nakajima, Plamen Kralev, Ricardo Teixeira and Christophe Hurni.
And also in the order they finished in the 2014 Drivers' Championship:
- Jan Magnussen moved from Viking Racing to the new Ice One team, after losing the Drivers' title for the third year in a row and having a final meltdown at the 2014 Bathurst Enduro.
- Luca Badoer signed for Scuderia Alitalia Andrea Coloni, from Forti...
- ... while Pedro Chaves moved the other way.
- Gabriele Tarquini also joined the Lancia-powered revolution at SAAC, leaving AGS. However, as he signed first, he took the number 27 while Badoer - wearing 27 last year at Forti - took 28 at SAAC.
- Marko Asmer, the shock winner in Hungary last year for Simtek, was in demand by many teams. Viking and Ice One fought hard for his services - in the end he joined Ice One.
- Philippe Alliot ended his long tenure at Prost, and their successors, SPAM, to join AGS.
- Jean-Denis Délétraz and Andrea Montermini were fired from F1RM and Forti respectively, for failing to provide adequate support for the teams' number one drivers. They both signed for Pacific, where they had driven together for two F1 races in 1995.
- Ousted by the Scotalian regime at SAAC, Perry McCarthy joined Stefan.
- Enrico Bertaggia had been part of the nascent SAAC partnership at the 2014 Bathurst Enduro, and was recruited to spearhead Minardi's Lancia-powered challenge.
- Fabrizio Barbazza, left without a drive for about five seconds after Monteverdi's withdrawal, was signed by Leyton House to replace the retired Bruno Giacomelli. That he was granted access to a Forti for the 2014 Grand Reversal and won the race in it helped his cause no end.
- Olivier Beretta moved from Spyker to AGS, creating the closest thing possible to an all-French line-up without actually being one.
- There was no room at Minardi for Alex Yoong, who moved to Dome.
Finally, with fifteen exits and two new teams, that means nineteen new drivers joined F1RMGP for the 2015 season. Well... eighteen debutants and one returnee.
- Vincenzo Sospiri returned to the series after a year away, driving for Arrows.
- Tommy Rustad signed for Viking, if only for this one year.
- Eric van de Poele signed for F1RM, even though there was speculation that either Pedro Chaves or Marko Asmer would get the drive.
- Adrian Sutil attempted to revive his motorsport career with Forti.
- Michael Ammermüller signed for ATS Rial and promised not to crash, for at least ten minutes.
- Sakon Yamamoto and Norberto Fontana both signed to drive for Hispania, the first of four new teams to sign two drivers also making their debuts in the series.
- Emmanuel Collard and Christophe Bouchut missed out on F1 drives in the mid-1990s as Larrousse floded - 20 years later they were finally united again to drive for SPAM.
- Domenico Schiattarella renewed his brief mid-1990s partnership with Simtek, to the sound of loud groans of foreboding from commentators round the world.
- Miloš Pavlović answered his country's call to join Stefan.
- Karun Chandhok became India's first driver in the series, signing for Spyker and bringing a large number of rupees with him courtesy of the Pune Warriors cricket team in the Indian Premier League - not to mention that the team's "after show parties" will be much enhanced by the prospect of some Indian catering afterwards.
- Vitantonio Liuzzi was rewarded for setting up a tent outside the Arrows headquarters, before their entry had even been confirmed, with a race drive - and the award for the worst hairstyle in the paddock.
- And finally, as alluded to, there are three new teams who all brought in F1RMGP debutants. To start with, the Israeli family connections of Shekel Racing brought in Chanoch Nissany to the team, whereas Tallulah Shekelslike's complete inability to see a lie for what it is also resulted in the signing of professional faker Adrian Shankar.
- FIRST Racing initially appeared to sign pensioner Larry Schumacher, but soon revealed their driver line-up was the veteran Eliseo Salazar and occasional Champ Car driver Joël Camathias.
- Polestar, that's the Swedish Touring Car team, was effectively strong-armed into the series as a Viking B-team designed to evaluate who might take the second Viking drive for 2016, with the candidates over a season-long shootout being Kasper Andersen and Sebastian Hohenthal.
Driver changes mid-season were once considered unlikely but after four rounds, Esteban Tuero became the first driver to be shown the door during a Main F1RMGP Series season, and was replaced by a hologrammatic recreation of Colin McRae. Domenico Schiattarella followed two rounds later, with his seat at Simtek taken by Jérôme d'Ambrosio; Schiattarella returned for once race at Dome due to the suspension of Marco Apicella for grave misdemeanours in the chaotic race at Anderstorp, before taking over again later in the season when Apicella quit the team in disgust after failing to qualify in Hungary. Jean-Denis Délétraz failed to pre-qualify in Austria and was bottom of the timesheets, below even the painfully slow Shekel drivers, and walked away from the sport forever in sheer embarrassment. To everyone's surprise, his seat at Pacific was taken in Hungary by double F1RMGP Drivers' Champion HWNSNBM, returning to thrill his home crowd and also to see if he could still cut it after two and a half seasons upstairs running the F1RM team, even though he was massively hindered by driving one of the least powerful cars on the grid. Scoring Pacific's first points since their return to the series, HWNSNBM agreed to drive the car at the remaining European rounds before handing over to series debutant Tora Takagi, who half the world had been clamouring to see drive in this series.
The following teams were required to pre-qualify in each third of the season:
|Rounds 1-6||Rounds 7-12||Rounds 13-18|
Drivers' and Constructors' Championships
Tables will be inserted at the end of the season. Until then, follow the progress of the series on its forum thread.
That Row-Man Gross-Gene, is there no stopping him? This time, it was newboys Hispania Racing who were caught with their pants down - Thesan Capital may have made off with the Formula One team, but couldn't Campos and Carabante have protected their old designs just a little bit better? At the team's old offices in Germany, the design for the F111 was left lying around on a Transformers 'Ravage' USB stick. Ravage can walk without making a sound, so the background information says; so can Row-Man, who had soon infiltrated the offices, swiped the USB stick and sold the design to every team on the grid, for 75p and a packet of Rolos - which is considerably more than that legendarily awful car was worth. As per the regulations, the last vestiges of the aerodynamic flippy bits that the 2009-onwards regulations somehow still allowed were cleaved off, the wings were simplified to fit the teams' budgets (which has never been very high, even at the sharp end) and 21 all-new F1RMGP cars were created.