Alex Palmer Writes...

A couple of things from the recent media coverage of new cars have caught my attention.  Did anyone else chuckle reading or listening to the interview with Sergio Checo Perez at the recent unveiling of McLarens MP4-28?  His use of the word incredible to describe everything from the car to the team to the opportunity he has with McLaren this year gave the impression that he is like a kid with lots of cash in a candy shop that needs money.  Oh wait, yeah he probably is just like that kid!

I found it interesting reading through the media coverage of the various team launches, and the stories which I assume have been released by the teams in the lead-up to the  launches to generate buzz.  Reading the stories I wonder if it is an indicator of the type of hard-core fan base each team has.

Lotus E21 was launched online on their youtube channel, so theyre obviously not chasing the older demographic as their fan base.  The team has decided to forego the vanity panel on the nose to minimise the weight of the car and has focused on some key technical aspects of the cars development as the big news at their launch.  Surely Lotus will be the thinking fans team in 2013 - even if thats just so someone can come up with a good reason why the car is called "E21" (theres no E in lotus??)

McLaren seem to be worried their fan base will desert them.  The stories coming out of Woking focus on reassuring fans that there is life after Lewis, highlighting Jenson as the most experienced driver in the paddock, and stating (or hoping!) that Jenson and McLaren will be good for Checo.  Theyre also promising the reliability and consistancy of performance (really??) that prevented them from seriously challenging for the championship last year has been addressed.  Hmmm....

And the Ferarri teams big story seems to be how they came up with the name for this years car - the F138 - being "F for Ferarri" (doh), 13 for 2013, and 8 for the V8 engine (the last year of the V8 engine) and the continuing apology to their fans for last years performance.  Im not sure that they need to apologise, so long as the car is red, goes moderately fast and looks nice I think that should satisfy the Prancing Horse fans (who - I might add - could be the best groomed and presented fans at the track, even if they do seem to have the habit of constantly looking for their reflection in shiny surfaces).

More to come as the rest of the launches roll through - watch this space!

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Another race in two halves - I saw it described by one commentator as "interesting first lap, snooze-fest for the middle and intriguing last 10-12 laps".  Maybe.......but I think theres actually more interesting action throughout the pack than the Director overseeing the FOM feed to the worlds television stations seems to think.  Even as a Lewis Hamilton fan I think theres a limit to how much time I can spend watching the Silver Arrows fly in formation.  Interested in others thoughts on that one....

In other news, what a great barnstorming finish from Vettel.  Like him or now, the guy is talented and with the collective genius of Red Bull behind him its only a matter of time before he and Ricciardo are both challenging the Mercs up the front - particularly seeing he secured the fastest lap of the race for the first time this season.  Ricciardo did a good job to - as one of the Sky commentators put it - pick up his ...second "first podium finish" in F1..., a fact also acknowledged in the radio message from the pit wall as he crossed the line  (ie "...you should be able to keep this one!").  Im sure Ferrari would be reasonably happy with their result but theyll have to manage a cranky Kimi who made his point about the teams strategy favouring Alonso when he refused to answer questions about it after the race.  I wonder how one deals with a cranky Kimi......

Im sure it was a big night for the paddock last night, unlike most rounds so far there was no frantic hurry to pack up and move on with many of the teams staying on in Barcelona for some in-season testing next week.  Watch out for the Mercedes testing a new, noiser exhaust system, and for Susie Wolff getting a run in the Williams.  I will keep an eye on things for you - dear reader - and let you know of any startling developments.

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