In 7 short days, the 2013 Formula 1 season begins in Melbourne with the Australian Grand Prix!
Last year, your author watched more than half the races, many of them live at completely obscene hours of the morning. So if you’re looking for a devoted perspective, you’ve come to the right place. It’s easier for our European friends to watch F1 races live, but the TV schedule is rather more challenging for us igloo-dwellers 8 time zones away!
While we followed F1 more closely than ever before in 2012, most of our thoughts on the matter were published on Twitter. Only Jenson Button’s cries for a RHENOCÉROUS were loud enough to prompt an article on these pages. Interestingly, that article was more prescient than most, as Button’s boys at McLaren have followed Ferrari’s pull-rod (i.e. “rhino-faced”) front suspension design for the 2013 season, the only other team to do so. We already knew Jenson was quite the hobbyist, running marathons in sub-3hrs, but who knew he was such a lobbyist too!
The 2009 World Champion, the off-season triathlete who is now only a Schumacher re-retirement away from taking an Old Fogeys of F1 podium, is confusingly envious. The loathsome nose exhibited on every other 2012 F1 car, other than Jenson’s majestic McLaren MP4-27 reminds me of the scene in Midnight in Paris when Salvador Dali, played by the notable nose of Adrian Brody, goes on at length about the RHENOCÉROS(!), a creature known for its bi-horned beak (I’ve included the scene below for the unfamiliar). Come to think of it, if you crossed Brody with a rhino, a 2012 F1 car wouldn’t be far off. Except the very pretty McLaren. Yet the monstrous muzzle is the apple of Button’s eye! How can this be?!
After Peter Orosz’s compelling thesis in favour of McLaren’s beautiful sniffer swept me off my feet, Button’s clear uncertainty regarding his team’s 2012 design direction, despite his admitted preference for the new seating position, doesn’t instill confidence.
C’mon man! You’ve got two weeks to grow a pair! As Tina Fey famously said, “Confidence in 10% hard work and 90% delusion”. And it sounds like Jenson might be too experienced (read: old) to delude himself any longer.
Motor racing is one of the most technologically advanced, visually arresting, exciting sporting spectacles in the world. Highly competitive race series around the globe are a potent sensory assault combining the heady smell of hot tarmac and petrol, the sleek, intricately designed, vividly liveried vehicles, and perhaps most importantly, that piercing, high-pitched whine of high-revving engines.
For many, the noise of motorsport is the primary appeal. I’ll always remember going to my first Formula One Grand Prix, the cars could be heard several seconds before they barreled past in a cacophony of millions of explosions occurring simultaneously inside the 3 litre engine. As they passed by and changed gear I could feel it in my chest, consolidating the emotional, passionate connection I felt with the sport, the cars, and the gloriously deafening noise.
As my half-empty flight from Munich made a harrowing descent into Madrid Barajas, the green flag dropped on the 2011 Spanish Grand Prix and the drivers were off. I was back in Spain, not two years after my last visit, and I was arriving just in time for the nation to cheer on its most successful product in F1 history from 4th on the grid. Little did I know that after the first turn, the very same Fernando Alonso would be in 1st place. Surely, this would galvanize Madrid into a furious spectacle of uniquely Spanish exuberance, despite being 600km away from the race.
My expectations of the atmosphere were higher than Yuri Gagarin’s expectations of the atmosphere. I envisioned Ferrari and Santander banners festooning Gran Via with Nando’s chiseled mug slapped on everything from coffee mugs to t-shirts to billboards. Confetti would be snowing down from rooftops, fighter jets ripping by overhead, fireworks illuminating the sky – it would be absolutely over-the-top in a way that no F1 celebration in Canada could ever be.
Yesterday was a big promotion day for the Toronto Indy, Honda, and Make-A-Wish® Canada so we decided to get on the phone with Canadian open-wheel racing legend Paul Tracy.
On this podcast, you can hear the 2003 Champ Car Champion talk about Osama bin Laden, Twitter, Audi and Le Mans, Taylor Swift, and his old NSX.
There are definitely some nuggets that came out of the conversation and it was easy to tell why Tracy is so popular with fans. His candor and and openness are unusual in an era where professional athletes are primped and preened to say something without actually saying anything at all, much like politicians.
Without further ado, CarEnvy.ca presents Mr. Paul Tracy.
Catch up on the week that was with all five legs of the Australian version of the Targa Newfoundland. In usual Targa style, the racing was close, the weather was demanding, and the cars were inspiring.
Ultimately, Rex Broadbent and co-driver Chris Randell would take their fifth consecutive Classic Competition victory in their yellow 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS. After 5 wins, Rex was quick with a smile and a cheeky offer to race in Europe, should anyone out there be looking for an aging Ozzie with the reflexes of a 20-year-old. Rex, with the usual Australian modesty, attributed his success to the reliability of the 911 platform. I can’t honestly say that these videos make me want a 911 any less, so watch them at your peril.
Video documentation of legs 2-5 is below, including plenty of Walter Röhrl and his 1981 911 SC.