The Jerez days
It’s a little while yet to the 2015 F1 World Championship…or maybe it isn’t. It depends upon your point of view. Mercedes’ Paddy Lowe, I know, would be quite happy for the racing to commence right now. Indeed, he’s even suggested as much to the powers-that-be. A quick test in Jerez and then let’s go racing. The costs are the same; and the public – in theory – much prefers the purity of the result. I’m sure that McLaren-Honda and Red Bull-Renault – to name but two – feel otherwise but then wouldn’t it be boring if we all thought the same way. Me? I love the idea of the “Flying Farewells” to which we refer in our Jim Clark 1965 narratives elsewhere on this site: a five-lap sprint race just to keep everyone awake. Wouldn’t that be a dazzling end to the upcoming Barcelona tests? Four o’clock? Right. Testing over. The grandstands are packed. The TV networks are ready. Line up on the grid according to the numbers you drew from a hat. Light fuel, soft tyres…
In the meantime, back in what amounts to the world of “Bleak House” – the aptly-named pub near the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey – here are some thoughts on what we actually saw at that first test. I’m joined in Joe Macari’s showroom – our regular base, for obvious reasons – by my friend and colleague, Craig Scarborough. I’m very fond of Scarbs. He’s a racer; he knows his stuff; and he’s a true, hard-working pro.
The series also includes more penwork from the hand of that very talented Argentine design engineer, Enrique Scalabroni. I first met Enrique at Williams in 1985 – “Henry” designed the rear suspension of the FW10B-update that won the European, South African and Australian GPs that year – and have since been astonished by his creativity and depth of detailed knowledge. In this instance, Enrique talks – draws – us through the lower front roll centre of the 2015 Ferrari and explains the benefits thereof.
Yeah, was a good test this one.
Don’t know if the exhaust system is the same – some say yes, some say no – but the cars are more fun to watch trackside. Even if they’re only pushing the PUs harder, that’ll do for me. It’s the kind of Formula 1 I like; hopefully they’ll unleash the beast in the V6 sooner rather than later because it’s capable of some impressive performance and angry punk rock singing. Heavy metal would be too much though.
A big improvement in the looks department as well for most cars; Williams wasn’t too ugly in real life despite its Lego nose and Massa was rocking hard on the track (or maybe the track was too technical and was rocking Massa?).
Anyway, should be a good season. 20 cars on the grid in AUS would be awesome, that would produce the right effect. Let Matryoshka GP use their 2014 car or sump’n.
What always amazes me regarding F1 testing is how the teams are treating it: it’s the good old “more is less” slogan in action. If you look at NASCAR or TUDOR USC – who are using a different business model, I know – it’s always such a massive show and the way they use the internet/media/social media is amazing. It’s like WOW, so much information, those guys really want to make me a part of it. Healthy looking drivers come out in their overalls covered in sponsor logos and do their usual “thank you to the Mighty American Tractors and Chevrolet for bringing me here” speech with a huge smile on their face. Testing before the start of the season turns into something else in the US. In F1 you don’t get any of that; starving drivers are controlled by press officers, no sponsor logos anywhere, sour faces and “for sure, y’know”. C’mon fellas, wake up, don’t you want to plug your hybrids and coffee? I’ll never get that.
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