Lotus-ing the way to Banter Wars victory
Two and a half weeks ago the Banter Wars winning car was unveiled, and what a machine! The Lotus T127 clearly stunned the F1 World because Force India and Red Bull - who both launched their motors the following week - scrapped their 2010 designs and unveiled photocopies of their 2009 cars.
The distinctive green and yellow livery hankers back to the Loti of decades past, rival that no competitor - not even the Ferrari who've for some reason turned weak at the knees and painted half their car white this year - can match. If the Norfolk-based team had employed the services of a Senna, Nakajima or even a Piquet - of which were available throughout this off-season - the nostalgia would have been intoxicating.
Perhaps thankfully then - I don't fancy being intoxicated - the young raw talent that is Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen have been hired to haul the yellow rimmed giant-killer into the 21st century. And when accompanied by the services of the unstoppable Fauzy into the 22nd century and beyond!
There are one or two chickens to get in order when launching a Formula 1 car - not least when it's the one everyone's been waiting for.
Firstly a venue; Royal Horticultural Hall, London - check (and note cunning flower quip).
Second; invite a shed-load of people - check (judging by the pictures it was packed).
Thirdly - and most importantly; have a chap deliver an excruciating speech while everyone just wants to see the blinking car. Enter level-headed guy-with-the-cash Tony Fernandes - check.
Finally; have a young teaboy - we'll call him Geoff - to press the git-big 'Live' button for the website when big Mike gives him the nod - check (Geoff your 50p's in the post).
T-H-E BEST F1 launch - PERIOD. Virgin really should take note.
To hijack the MasterExpressClubCard adverts... Hiring two of the most experienced Formula 1 drivers (Clarkson voice) in the world - fifty bajillion pounds; shoving F1 rookie Fairuz Fauzy in at the wheel for the T127 debut - priceless. Or alternatively just odd.
That said little ol' Fairuz did manage to find his way out of the garage before lunchtime - cough-Virgin-cough - and managed to lap in under 5 seconds of the established teams - cough-Virgin-12-seconds-off-first-day-cough.
Not rubbing it in or anything (obviously) but on that first day Fauzy - the rookie - completed 76 laps, or 336 miles - compared with Virgin Racing's 385 miles in total over 4 days the week previously, oh and Fairuz didnt have any steering.
Lloyd, wipe that smug look off your face, the clock's still ticking for you - in more ways than one!
Here at Lotus banter HQ I'm happy with testing, but under no illusions that we'll be anywhere but the second page of the classification. The car does seem to have a few niggles, but so does the RB6, and the F10, but thankfully those niggles aren't not on the same scale as Virgin's.
Bring on Bahrain, lets see the lay of the land - let's get to the finish and you never know - a couple of years back Bourdais and Raikkonen retired but still picked up points at the first race.
Bring it on :)