Greetings F1 fans! I write to you from a Virgin Blue flight which started in a very wet Sydney, Australia – and is destined to Cairns at the top of the east coast. The stereotypical gorgeous weather somewhat a rarity of late you may be surprised to know...
Apologies for the lack of site updates recently – I’m still alive, promise! I planned to go travelling during the F1 off season and will be away for another few months yet. The website however, will be alive and kicking through the 2012 Formula 1 season and here’s hoping it’s a gooden!
So what have I been missing whilst on my travels? As far as I can tell, nothing too dramatic although there have been a few driver swaps up and down the pit lane.
The big one for me is Renault (who are now officially the Lotus F1 Team), clearing out both Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna. In their place are now Frenchman Romain Grosjean, and some Finnish fella called... Kimi Raikkonen. Hurray! The 2007 World Champion finally returns to Formula 1 after a 2 year absence.
The thing that makes me laugh about Kimi Raikkonen and his hyped return is he is actually widely thought of as one of the most boring personalities to grace Formula 1, certainly in recent years anyway. He often comes across seemingly lacking in personality, backed up by that distinctive flat tone to his voice. But I think F1 fans (including me!) realise the man isn’t truly like this, not all the time anyway. He’s been around long enough for us to realise he clearly hates media duties, and this is probably the reason for the slightly “dull” tag on his head. He has shown moments of a great sense of humour and I think that is why for the most part, we really like him. Who could forget him telling Martin Brundle “I was having a SHIT!” in Brazil 2006. Some of his boozey antics as well show he is human after all...
He was of course super fast during his first stint in F1 and fully deserved a championship after years of trying. He’s certainly different and in the modern era of Formula 1, that’s actually a breath of fresh air. I reserve judgement on his comeback, for the sole reason that he has only completed running in an old Renault F1 car. The stop watch never lies but I’ll wait until qualifying in Melbourne, rather than preseason testing before my thumb turns up or down – emperor style!
Talking of the Melbourne Grand Prix – did I mention I’m going again this year?! When I went in 2009, I swore then I’d go back and that is exactly what I intend to do. If the rumours and rumblings are right, that the race in Melbourne is under threat from 2014, I will make the most of the race this year as it could well be gone by the time I visit Australia again. It’s a superb circuit and location for a race. The TV cameras don’t do it justice but Albert Park is...well, a park! And a lovely one at that. So putting 24 of the fastest cars in the world through that place is beyond belief. Goose pimples just thinking about it! Where to sit though? Turn 1 is always a good shout and that’s where I was in ’09. You’re pretty much guaranteed a tangle on lap 1 of the race and some sort of action thereafter. Hey, and it’s only 200 meters from the tram stop too!
Being a McLaren fan, February 1st is an important day for the team. By the time I land in Cairns, ditch the bag at my accommodation and grab a welcome beer – the MP4-27 will be launched back in the UK at the Woking HQ. I’m gutted not to be there! I was privileged to go to the Fan Forum at the factory last summer and loved every second of it. But more importantly than that, here’s hoping for a screamer of a car from the get go by McLaren this year, eh? From what I read last night, McLaren have come up with some radical ideas for the design, so as to try and avoid being slow out the blocks like the last 3 seasons (heartbreakingly so I assure you.) And rumour has it they have put far more effort into 1 lap pace to try and get on top of the mighty Red Bull qualifying pace, shown on Saturdays in 2011. These are merely just words on the internet though – my fingers are crossed tightly there is some product to back up the claims come the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
No post from me is complete without banging the Lewis Hamilton drum! It really was gutting to see him falter last season in the way that he did. Who knows what his head will be like coming into 2012. No doubt refreshed and recharged, but there is also pressure to regain his form as well, especially as Jenson Button beat him fair and square in the championship standing in 2011 A decent MP4-27 in preseason testing will surely provide the motivation he needs to get back to the top...
I’ll leave it there for now. Martin Porter has posted two great articles to also check out, one looking at how Formula 1 has moved on in the last 12 months, and the other about the stepped nose designs we can expect to see on many of this year’s cars. Check them out!
This page was published by James Wilson