It’s been a busy week in the Formula One world. Although it is still an agonizing five week wait till the season opener in Bahrain, the teams have been unveiling their new cars and heading on to the Valencia tarmac for testing.
We all know how these big car reveals go, the drivers stand beside a big sheet in front of the worlds media waiting with eager anticipation. Then when everyone is about to burst with excitement, the drivers pull off the sheet and Ta-Daa, the new car is on show. That’s when everything goes a bit flat. Is that it? All this excitement and being whipped into frenzy, you get a car that makes you look hard to notice any difference from the previous year’s entry. With the exception of a few technical differences due to rule changes, not a lot has changed. Let’s face it, the only thing that’s going to get the average fan excited is a livery change. The only team to do this is of course the team formally known as Renault. As part of their ongoing argument over the Lotus name, they have decided they will go with the classic John Player Black and Gold Lotus livery. ‘It’s coloured like a Lotus, therefore it must be a Lotus’ seems to be their argument.
McLaren were an exception to the rule when it came to big unveiling of their new championship contender. In front of the large crowd in Germany, a team of mechanics put the car together, whilst others bought along a few bits to attach. Finally Jenson and Lewis turn up and there it is, the New McLaren. Personally, I think it would have been better if they arrived with a handful of nuts and bolts and asked where they were supposed to go.
Not only was the McLaren’s launch different, they have produced another big talking point. On the whole the car looks similar to the last, however this one has one large change. The side air intakes. These come in an L shape and give the car a unique look. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into this design so whether it makes any difference will remain to be seen, but it has given something for fans to discuss.
One thing I really don’t understand from the world of F1 now is this. Why are so many teams announcing so many reserve and test drivers? With a limit now put on testing in Formula One, what is the need for all these guys on the payroll. There are some teams that have three or four test / reserve drivers. But why? I know there is simulator work to be done and a reserve driver is there to step for a driver suffering injury or illness for example, but there are only two first team drivers on the grid, so there is no need for more than two reserve drivers. If you ask me, two reserve drivers is one too many.
Also this week, Peugeot also unveiled their new Le Mans Series challenger, the 90X and with their disappointment of last year’s Le Mans 24 hours, they will be hoping this new car will bring them victory. Unlike the New Audi R18 who have changed from an open cockpit car to a closed cockpit, the Peugeot doesn’t look massively different to the last. It’s only the new compulsory centre fin that has made much of a difference. But with their driver line up of Alex Wurz, Marc Gene, Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Minassian, Franck Montagny, Stephane Sarrazin, Sebastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Simon Pagenaud, no one can write off their chances.