After a torrid 2015 season where the team finished last for the first time since their second return to FF1M in 2006, Exolite will be hoping their 2016 season is far more fruitful. At the launch of their 2016 car, the exciting driver partnership of Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean along with the switch to Megatron engines should make this team one to watch.
Alonso had already won the drivers championship for the third time with Tornado before making the switch to Exolite early for the Japanese Grand Prix. He came back down to earth with a race-ending puncture on the second lap. Meanwhile, Grosjean couldn’t build on his tally of race wins with Pedersen with just one podium finish last season at Estoril and a surprise pole position at Shanghai.
Exolite just have the one constructors championship to their name, which came during the 1989 classic season in the hands of Ayrton Senna, who also won the team’s first ever drivers championship. If the engine is reliable enough, and Whiteley pays enough attention to his testing programme, then this team could be the surprise package of 2016. However, with the team under pressure to perform, and with potential new entrants waiting, then this could be the team’s swansong.
After the first pre-season test, Exolite boss James Whiteley had a few words to say to FF1M’s lead commentator, James Brickles.
Q: Thank you for sitting down to talk with us James. 2015… I imagine that’s a season you’d want to forget in a hurry?
A: Yeah it was shit.
Q: The good news is that you were one of the first to start development on their 2016 car. How significant will that be for your season?
A: Ermm, well it should be okay I guess.
Q: As a result of your 2015 struggles, you’ve completely reshuffled your team and now have an explosive driver line-up of Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean. How do you see those two getting on in 2016?
A: They both have Latin temperaments so it could get a bit spicy. I’ll keep em in line though.
Q: You’ve also switched engines and are now using your good friend from Shake ‘n’ Bake’s Megatron powerplants. How do you see that partnership working out?
A: Probably badly as I wouldn’t trust Courtney Cass to open a can of beans.
Q: There are a few new testing parameters for this season including tyre preparation and engine mapping. How will that affect your approach?
A: We’ll see.
Q: Last ones from me, what are your main aims for this season? And who of the other teams do you see as dark horses for the championship?
A: Development season, and probably Tornado as that Tobias kid has way too much time on his hands.