Remember how we started the F1 season? I know it’s a distant memory – it is for me. So much has happened since then. But remember the beginning? Our greatest heartache then, was those ugly-ass noses. I mean, for crying out loud.
Wondering why I am bringing that up right now? Friday was supposed to be a shiny, happy day. I settled down to work, focused on the task at hand, determined to get through a pile of pages that needed editing. My phone beeped. I buried my head deeper. Distraction was not an option. It beeped once again. I sighed and checked my messages. It was Twitter gone mad! Absolutely cuckoo, I say. I don’t blame them, really. The news was such.
I shoved the pages aside and logged on. People came and went, but my attention was solely on that one piece of news: Hamilton was going to Mercedes. The team would make it official soon. What? What? Whaaat? No sane person could work under such stressful conditions. It’s impossible. This was silly season to the power of infinity plus 1. Then, McLaren woke up. It would be Sergio Perez and Jenson Button in 2013. Whaaat? That was the end of my work.
I jumped into the melee, tweeting furiously, until I stopped – for a minute – and remembered ugly noses. I chuckled. To think the only excitement we had at the start of the season were those noses. Now? The Championship is in complete disarray. Every race is unpredictable, even the predictable ones. And now, we have the biggest driver toss-up in such a long time.
Lew-Lew Turns Silver
We figured Lew-Lew had decided to leave the team that discovered and nurtured him. Pit-stop problems, team issues, car trouble, the list is long. We know some of it, and probably don’t know a lot. But, the general consensus was Ferrari. After all, Felipe Massa, we figured, was more or less on his way out. But the Silver Arrow? It is an interesting move. The official team release says Hamilton has signed a three-year agreement starting 2013. He will join Nico Rosberg, his teammate from Karting days, who will continue racing for the Silver Arrow team. Hamilton said in the release, “It is now time for me to take on a fresh challenge and I am very excited to begin a new chapter racing for Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. Mercedes-Benz has such an incredible heritage in motorsport, along with a passion for winning, which I share. Together, we can grow and rise to this new challenge. I believe that I can help steer the Silver Arrows to the top and achieve our joint ambitions of winning the world championships.”
Team principal Ross Brawn said that they have assembled a team that is technically strong with better resources. “The potential is now there to match any other team on the grid, which is the minimum standard for a Mercedes-Benz works team. Our task is now to translate that potential into on-track performance for next season and beyond,” he said. McLaren however, has said, in a news story that any one leaving the team would be making a mistake. But that, of course, only time and 2013 will tell.
And what of Michael Schumacher? I haven’t really been nice to him on this blog, but I must admit, I felt really bad when I heard the news. There has been no mention of Schuey. There have been nice things said, right things said. But it’s almost like he has been dropped like a bag of hot potatoes. Brawn thanked Schumacher, in a press release, for his contribution. “His energy and commitment have never wavered, even when results have not matched our own expectations, and we are determined to finish the 2012 season together on a high.”
Norbert Haug, vice president, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport said, “It takes a great driver to replace such a legendary and successful one as Michael Schumacher.” He called Schumacher an “exemplary ambassador” and thanked him for “his loyalty, team play and commitment”. So far, the only thing we have from Schuey-team is a quote in the team press release: “I have had three nice years with the team, which unfortunately did not go as well as we all would have wanted on the sporting side. I wish Lewis well and for the team to achieve the success we worked so hard for in the build-up. I would like to thank the team for their trust and all the guys for their unconditional commitment. I will now concentrate on the next races.”
Will he retire? Will he continue racing? News reports suggest Schuey is still unsure. But there is a rumour that he is talking to Sauber. Guess we will know soon.
Checo and Button Get Tooned
Guess we will now see Button and Checo in those delightful McLaren toons. That should be interesting. It is no doubt the best move for Checo. Two podiums in his second year at F1 is no easy achievement. He has made his mark, as a driver to watch out. The McLaren was a surprise, given that Perez was rumoured to be replacing Massa at Ferrari. His happiness and excitement at this move however, is infectious. He told F1.com: “The McLaren name is one of the greatest in the history of Formula One. For more than 40 years, McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for – I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna’s many world championship triumphs for McLaren – and I’m truly honoured that they’ve chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013.” Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said, “His (Perez) performances throughout 2012 have convinced us that he’s an extremely exciting prospect for the future. It was a string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment.”
Indeed, the 2013 driver line-up looks interesting. The circuit battles are bound to be fascinating. There will be racers determined to prove their mettle and capability, while many will be fighting for the coveted Championship title. Oh, and they won’t have those ugly noses any more either!
Headline courtesy: Alison Raffaele