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.
Most automotive news outlets have only written reviews of the mad new McLaren from a glorified press day in Portugal, but while everyone was distracted with that, the blimey blokes at Autocar have managed to put 2000km on the clock of one. Better yet, they made a couple videos so you can actually hear the twin-turbo 3.8L V8 spin to 8,500 rpm and see it tuck its nose into corners effortlessly.
Autocar’s Steve Sutcliffe, resident supercar afficionado, also took the passenger seat next to Jensen Button for a few hot laps with the aging F1 star.
Those sodding limeys have it good.
Watch the videos and tell me that the new Macca doesn’t make the Nissan GT-R look like an even better value. Just try.
Kuala Lumpur’s Sepang circuit was the stage for this Sunday’s 2010 Malaysian Grand Prix and the typically rain marred race did not disappoint. Heavy rains were the story during qualifying, with some teams gambling on intermediate tires for faster times and other teams playing it safe with the full wet rubber. As a result, this was easily the most mixed up starting grid this years. Big names like Button, Hamilton, Massa, and Alonso didn’t even make it to Q1, meaning they weren’t even in the top 10 in qualifying. Those four heavyweights started behind second-tier cars including both Toro Rossos, both Renaults, both Sauber, both Williams’ and both Force Indias. Apparently, those “second-tier” teams are only second best in the dry and they shine in the wet. Who knew?
While Ferrari and McLaren struggled in the rain, Red Bull and Mercedes dominated with Webber and Vettel qualifying 1st and 3rd, respectively, and Nico Rosberg splitting them in 2nd. Rosberg continues to out-duel teammate Michael Schumacher despite the media’s focus on the 41-year-old. Force India’s Adrian Sutil impressed all with a 4th spot on the grid as did Kamui Kobayashi with a 9th place start.
If Malaysia was engrossing at the start due to rain, the surprisingly dry race made for even more captivating action. See below for the full field results and an impressive gallery of photos.
This would be the last time Herr Vettel would smile at the 2010 Australian GP. Just as two weeks ago in Bahrain, his Red Bull car would give up the ghost and cost the talented Teuton another race win. This time though, his RB6 car also robbed him of any points, as a brake failure would send him into the gravel, rendering him unable to finish. Red Bull looked set to dominate this weekend’s Grand Prix with Vettel and Webber qualifying 1-2. The usual suspects of Ferrari’s Alonso (Q3) and Massa (Q5) and McLaren’s Button (Q4) and Hamilton (Q11) were also near the front of the grid. Another strong contender was Renault’s Robert Kubica, who found himself on the top of time sheets in practise Friday, but stumbled in qualifying into 9th on the grid. After a tumultuous start to the race that saw Schumacher’s front wing damaged, Kubica jumped up to 4th and Alonso and Hamilton were sent further back. Kubica would finish the race is a solid 2nd.
The race started with a wet track, but warm weather was on the way. Button used his gut feeling to pit early on lap 7 for dry tires and used this strategic manoeuvre to vault past other cars still on wet tires. Using his characteristically smooth driving style, he didn’t need to pit again and would go on to win the Australian GP for the second consecutive year – also marking his first win with McLaren. Hamilton used a two-pit strategy and made for a very interesting second half of the race as he closed in on the two Ferraris ahead of him who were on older tires. Hamilton closed a 20+ second gap in no time but couldn’t get past the cunning Fezzas. Massa and Alonso would stay ahead of Hamilton for the duration of the race and finish in 3rd and 4th, respectively. Naturally, Hamilton started whining over the radio to his pit crew about how Button had only pitted once and he had pitted twice. Boo hoo. Hamilton ended up in 6th despite a late race spill with Mark Webber’s Red Bull. Webber would finish in 9th.
Away from the drama at the front of the pack, both Virgin cars, Sutil’s Force India, Petrov’s Renault, Senna’s HRT, Buemi’s Toro Rosso, Hulkenberg’s Williams, and Kobayashi’s Sauber all failed to finish the race.
Schumacher snagged a 10th place finish after spending about 30 very frustrating laps stuck behind Toro Rosso’s Alguersuari. Mercedes GP teammate Nico Rosberg finished in 5th, once again ahead of his 7-time World Champion teammate, proving that he isn’t afraid of a challenge.
It was also a big day for Force India, who secured crucial Constructor’s Championship points after a 7th place finish by Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Those who were concerned that the 2010 season would lack drama and excitement quieted down after this morning’s race. It turns out that it was the Bahrain event itself that was lacking. All the season needed was a little rain.
The full gallery of haps, mishaps, and candid driver moments is below.
McLaren MP4-12c? Take away the McLaren name and you might be forgiven for thinking you were buying a Blu-Ray player, not the most important supercar of the new decade. The most important? Really, CarEnvy? Ya, really. Well, thus far at least. And we haven’t forgotten about the flamboyant Merc SLS, the fizzy Ferrari 458 Italia, and the slightly uncouth Lexus LFA either. Wait, what? Didn’t we just wax lyrical about the Lexus LFA and how it was soooo amazing (despite needing a few more horses under-hood)? Well, yes, but that was then, and this is now.
Now, a small company from smaller town in Britain has developed a lighter, more powerful, faster, less expensive, and (I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention) better fuel economy than the powerhouses of Stuttgart, Maranello, and Toyota City. How?
Earlier today, Scuderia Ferrari unveiled their 2010 Formula One championship contender, which they’ve named the F10 in firm hopes of channeling some of their illustrious past victory. Will this herald a return to winning ways for the beleaguered team? We know about as much as you do on that score. Follow the jump for more, including a full gallery. Oh, and also, a video of something that isn’t quite the 2010 Mercedes Grand Prix car.