The 2011 GP2 and GP2 Asia Series marked the first year for the Carlin team in the F1 feeder series - and now it's over it has left team owner Trevor Carlin with much to think about over the winter as he plots the team's course next season.
"The whole team and I are looking forward to the 2012 season and we're looking forward to bringing our car further up the grid in our second year of GP2," said Carlin. "We've taken a huge amount of information on board this year and learned a lot - so we're already very excited at the prospect of what we can achieve in 2012."
Carlin entered 2011 with high hopes of making an immediate impact in GP2, but the season has brought him down to earth with the realities of performing in such a high-level, high-profile championship.
"We had quite realistic aims before the start of the season," Carlin insisted. "But I think our early pace elevated our expectations and we ended up putting a bit more pressure on ourselves to do well."
The difficulty for any new team in a series is working out exactly what lessons to learn: what factors are down to things that the team can control, and what are down to sheer ill fortune that is out of their hands.
"There were some race weekends where pure bad luck ruined any chances of points and great finishes - sometimes this was completely beyond our control and of course every team has moments throughout the season like that," agreed Carlin. "Unfortunately we seemed to have more than our fair share and they seemed to strike when our drivers were heading towards a great finishing position. In some races we really didn't get the results we should have.
"If you're not quick it's quite clear why you're not getting top results," he added. "But when you have the pace in qualifying and don't turn that into points and podiums, that's when it gets frustrating."
The team's lead driver Max Chilton qualified in the top 12 seven times in the season, but his best race weekend was at Monaco when he finished seventh and six in the feature and sprint races respectively after qualifying on the front row. Chilton scored three of his (and the team's) four 2011 championship points that weekend, but otherwise there was meagre return for all that hard work they had put in all year.
Chilton proved to be a good, reliable choice for Carlin as their main driver, the team having already paired up with the 20-year-old for British Formula Three in 2009 that saw the Briton take his first win in the series in the last race that year at Brands Hatch.