The third part - I hope to be done with this on Thursday, when I will also post the Reject Of GT results. As you might have noticed, I only rate each driver once which leads to Trueba only having #28 rated since I went through all drivers who had/have the #29 already
#22 - Barii Mori: If there was any driver who had an egg on his face at the end of 2013, it was Mori - Kamaha had dropped down the grid, while their former long-time driver Kay Lon pretty much was one of the best drivers last year. How the tides have turned, Mori's smart decision to go with the Yamaha engines paid off and now Mori and his team are looking very strong. While reliability still is an issue, and he is losing his qualifying battle with Steele, the odds of Mori's coveted first win have increased significantly.
#23 - Nicolas Steele: The American driver always has this tendency to go rather unnoticed when compared to his slightly more media savvier team mate. This does not change the fact that Steele has twice the points that his team mate has and is on his way to take a decisive lead in the qualifying battle. Just like Mori, we could very well see the American take his first win this year if everything goes his way.
Prognosis: Kamaha have made a large jump in performance and can afford to spend the second half of the year working on their 2015 car and the reliability issues of their current car. Now, that Kamaha have finally recaptured their 2012 glory, big things are in stock for them - for now, it's not unreasonable to believe that Sammy Jones' team might face a challenge from his rival's team.
Grades: B / B+ ---> B+
Virgin Melrose Racing Team BMW
#24 - Nathanael Spencer: 2012 F1RWRS World Champion, driver with most points in F1RWRS history, most starts in F1RWRS history - Spencer's records speak for themselves. His current performance pretty much confirms why he has all those accolades, when his car allows him to, he wins and his five poles in a row are a world record. However, things are not as bright as they could be: three races in a row Mark Dagnall outqualified him and he just started 11th in Brands Hatch. However, he's still one of the top three title candidates.
#25 - Phillippe Nicolas: Just like Nathanael Spencer, his loyality to BMW and Melrose has paid off and he was rewarded with the most powerful car on the grid. His win in the first race made the French media wet their pants in excitement. However, that hype has calmed down and not for no reason - no race finishes for Nicolas after his win. Good news for Nicolas however is, that he has managed to outperform his team mate in recent races.
Prognosis: "BMW P89" - an engine for which most teams would murder someone, it has undone all the power problems of MRT. However, it is not as reliable as it should be which hurts Spencer and Nicolas in their fight for points. Furthermore, these long strings of retirements may very well cause a loss of motivation, and if there's one thing a world title contending team does not need it's unhappy workers both in and outside the car.
Grades: A- / B ---> B+
Red Bull Team Phoenix Audi
#26 - Phoenix McAllister: We were talking about Kay Lon as the guy that was made fun of, which makes some wonder why McAllister isn't just as ridiculed? It's not like he isn't amongst the first to talk trash when a microphone is near him, he should have recieved a suspended ban after Paul Ricard as well. So why? Because while the team that carries his name is awful, McAllister has done everything he could have with the only thing to go against him is his DNQ in Monte Carlo.
#27 - The Stig: The most popular driver of all times - right behind HWNSNBM, of course - entered the F1RWRS - perhaps not a wise move, given the kind of car he debuted in. Even though the Phoenix car is horrendous, Stiggie himself really hasn't endeared himself to the public by simply being too weak. At least his sponsors keep pouring in, so his seat should be save until the end of this season.
Prognosis: The (rumored) departure of Red Bull really isn't going to help Phoenix - or as it will be known from 2015 onwards: Aeroracing - who need every cent they can get their hands on. It will need some opputornistic performance by McAllister or an improvement by The Stig in order to score some points and grab some prize money for it.
Grades: B+ / D ---> C+
Scuderia Trueba Alitalia
#28 - Giovanni Roda / David Kozco: Older fans remember the old Giovanni Roda who rocked on in different series long before the reckless adventures of modern F1RWRS drivers and asked themselves "What happened to that man?" - the answer is, he grew up. Struggling to take proper care of his team, he chose to keep some of his dignity and sold the team to retire himself. His driving was acceptable, given the standards of his team. Just like we said to Gary Cameron: thank you for the memories, Giovanni Roda. New Trueba owner Alasdair Lindsay brought in F1RWRS classic David Kozco. While his skills really aren't emphasised by the car, being the last one if all but one car finish in the points is just embarrising.
Prognosis: A new owner and new sponsors - everything should be fine for the team. Sadly, that new owner is completely off his rockers and already managed to get his Scuderia fines in a eight-digit amount which is either pathetic or hilarious, depending on your point of view. The staff should better call their mamas, 'cause it's either about to get funky in there or the team goes down the drain.
Grades: C- / C- ---> D-
Tropico GP powered by CR Motorsport
#30 - Darren Older Jr.: We don't know whether the Tropican car is so awful or Older Jr. has just become beyond awful - thankfully, the entrance of Leonhard Von Gottorp from Norisring onwards should be a helpful indicator of which option is the true one. However, Olden Jr.'s outings just were bad anyhow. He finished every single pre-qualifying session dead last but one. It makes his replacement easy to understand.
#21 - Miko Fäkkinen: Just as with Older Jr., rating Fäkkinen's performance is hard given that he has perhaps the weakest car on the grid. Since we are generally optimistic folks, we decided to assume that his skills are very good in a bad car and not just average in a not as bad car with Older just being pathetic. His job is safe to the end of the season and if he continues to pour in decent run after decent run, he might even edge out Cara or Jimenez for the second seat in 2015.
Prognosis: El Presidente's investments, assumed to not be that large at all, have so far been wasted. The team could have as well stuck with their old combination since they won't leave pre-qualifying this year. However, the abuse of driver sponsorship which has caused the F1R Council to consider a driver sponsorship cap and the new income rules may very well allow Tropico to finally be able to beat a team or two next year.
Grades: D- / B+ ---> F
Bruno Spengler does not approve of your tomfoolery.