Rob Wheatley continues his breakdown of that car racing circuit that Americans forget about: Formula 1!
McLaren are the most successful team ever in F1, but you wouldn’t think it given their recent history.
It is generally recognized that they currently have the best car in F1, but due to a whole string of operational disasters and sheer bad luck this season, are now only third in the Constructors championship, and both drivers are considered now to be out of the 2012 title race.
They’ve just signed rising star Sergio Perez for next year, obviously hoping that the luck of the Mexicans can change their fortunes. Oh hang on, that’s the luck of the Irish. Dammit !
Team Principal : Martin Whitmarsh
Whitmarsh took the top McLaren job in 2009, but the team has struggled in recent years despite their great name in the sport. The team haven’t won the Constuctors title since 1998, which is a diabolical record from this legendary outfit. How long Whitmarsh gets to keep his job is anyone’s guess, but in this game which is run on 90% rumours, no names have come into the frame to replace him as yet, so it looks like the team will stick with him for at least another year.
Driver : Lewis Hamilton
Lewis is just about the most exciting driver on the grid at the moment. He’s incredibly fast, an exceptional natural talent, and is the current owner of the weirdest facial hair in F1. Hamilton has been with the team since he was 13 and still playing with go-karts. McLaren took him under their wings with massive hopes and were almost proved right until he just lost out on winning the championship in 2007, his rookie year, due to a puncture on the last lap of his title race. Hamilton fought back hard in 2008 and won the championship with a dazzling and controversial last corner overtake, which gave him his only title so far.
Since then, Lewis has been either amazing or downright terrible. His on-off relationship with Pussycat Doll Nicole Sherzinger and the split with his Manager and Father, Anthony Hamilton, did funny things to his head and his racing really suffered for it.
This year the young Brit has been on fantastic form. Unfortunately, the rest of his team have not, and a series of pit-stop disasters, car failures, bad strategy calls and even an under-fueling incident have shafted poor Lewis out of the running for this year’s title. He doesn’t care though, because courtesy of his management team, the same bunch who have looked after David Beckham and the Spice Girls , he is off to join the extremely average Mercedes team next year in a move that has had the whole of the F1 world scratching their heads and crying “WTF, man ? WTF ?”.
Driver : Jenson Button
Button joined Mclaren in 2010 on the back of his world championship title with Brawn racing in 2009. Whereas his current teammate can drive fast and furious in anything , Jenson is much more sensitive to car set-up. If it isn’t right, then he drives like Stevie Wonder. Give Button a car he can feel at one with and it’s a different story. His seemingly effortless, smooth and flowing style is really something special to watch. Mix that with his totally controlled aggression and you can have one hell of a race on your hands. His 2011 win at Canada in torrential rain where he suffered a puncture, a collision with his team-mate, an unprecedented 5 pit-stops, and had to claw his way back from last place, is one of the all time great drives. His girlfriend, Japanese model Jessica Micibata, just so happens to be one of the most beautiful women on the planet. He runs marathons and competes in Triatlons at the highest level, used to own a Bugatti Veyron, but now has to suffer with his new ‘company car’ the McLaren MP4-12C, and is an all round nice guy. Am I jealous ? Of course not. By the way, did I mention his girlfriend ?
Team Principal : Tony Fernandes
He owns an English football team, an airline, and an F1 team, Caterham. They were called Lotus, but now Renault is called Lotus because they thought it sounded better to have a name of an extinct British car manufacturer than a global French brand, (you do the maths, nobody else can), so Lotus is now Caterham.
They joined the sport in 2010 and still find themselves floundering around the arse-end of the grid despite big hopes. Oh well, the green and yellow cars look nice, and they’re nowhere near as bad as the HRT team, so….er…
Driver : Heikki Kovalainen
Heikki holds the world record for having his name mispronounced the most times by the same person. UK racing commentator and all round motorsports guru, Murray Walker, has never got it right in 150 years of commentating on the sport. This smiling Fin used to be with top team McLaren, but is currently on the naughty step of his career. His talent obviously deserves a much better car than he has, but there are far worse drivers out there with far bigger sponsors, so he’s sort of left out in the cold, which is fine because he’s from Finland, and it’s bloody freezing over there.
Driver : Vitaly Petrov
Russian Vitaly used to drive for Renault, who are now Lotus, but now he drives for Caterham, who used to be Lotus. At least he gets to wear nicer overalls than those filthy looking black and gold things , but it’s hardly relevant as Vladimir Putin isn’t interested in F1 any more, and Vitaly can’t find anybody else to pay for his drive. Enjoy his last few races in F1, he probably won’t be around next year.