The new Midland Formula One team are preparing to step up development with Bridgestone in a bid to hit the ground running ahead of an intensive winter testing programme.
Team owner Alex Shnaider bought Jordan Grand Prix at the start of this season and have run and developed the team under its original name before re-naming the team MF1 Racing last month.
With the new name will come an increase in commitment to push the team forward and Team Principal Colin Kolles said: “It is a completely different approach for next year, more testing, a new look, everything is changed. This will be a new team with the right people. We have 90 percent or 95 percent of the right people here and we hope that we will improve. This is our aim, to do a better job than this year.”
“We have a lot of things in place to do that. We are working on a new car, new projects, bits and pieces, the workshop, the structure. We did a lot of work this year and I think we are not that bad at the moment with the structure.”
Kolles said the team are updating the headquarters at Silverstone as part of their long-term development and they are already well on the way to completing their new 2006 car design.
Midland has joined Formula One with a view to making the team a profitable one, and to do that they recognise it must be successful both on the track and also in the business boardroom.
This season has been a struggle, but extra resources have been invested in the team to ensure a much better showing next year.
“We hope to get regular points next year, that is our ambition,” said Kolles. “The ultimate aim is to win, but you have to be realistic. I am not going to say we will win a race in five years because it depends on a lot of things.”
“Also, Midland is a privately owned company; it has no consumer brand like Red Bull does, so the strategy is to make it a successful running business, that is the point, so we have a different approach to this.”
“Every team has to be financially successful, this is also one of the important things for us because we have to generate money, it is not as if the manufacturer is paying us money.”
“So right now it is almost impossible to win except in special events like heavy rain or something like that, when something different happens, because under normal circumstances you cannot really compete with the manufacturers.”
“It is just a matter to be at the right time at the right place. But I am enjoying it here, everything is bigger, more important, there is more press, there is more everything.”
This season saw Jordan driver Tiago Monteiro, of Portugal, finish in all but one Grand Prix, better than the rest of the field, and claim a podium in the United States Grand Prix as well as a hard-earned point in the Belgian Grand Prix.
But most importantly for Kolles, the season has been one where Midland has successfully built up a team of engineers and management equipped to take the team forward.
Albers and Monteiro to lead the team on track
And asked if the 2005 season has been a useful one, Kolles said: “From my point of view, yes. Some people say it would have been better to build up the team from scratch but I think now the team is in better shape than last year.”
One of the things learned this year is how to develop the working relationship with Bridgestone, and Kolles has been particularly impressed with the Japanese tyre firm’s involvement.
He added: “We have a close relationship with Bridgestone, we are very happy with them. They have had some hard times this year but we have to fight together and bring back the results.
“That is the point, a Bridgestone team has won the world championship seven times in the last eight years so one year is a bad year but next year could be a good year. I think we will be able to help them.
“We will start testing in December, not the end of February like this year, so that is already three month’s advantage, which is quite a lot of time in Formula One.”