I’m sure that every Formula 1 fan already knows of Racing Point – owned by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll (is it just me who thinks he looks like a complete asshole?) – signed Sebastian Vettel to drive for them starting next year when the team will be known as Aston Martin (which Larry Stroll also owns) Racing. As a consequence of all this, Sergio Perez will lose his drive despite having a contract. As seen numerous times before, a contract doesn’t mean much in F1, apparently.
In the video by Formula World on YouTube – this is an excellent channel for F1 fans, by the way – Otmar Szafnauer, team principal at Racing Point describes how difficult a decision it was to bring Vettel on while letting go of Perez. I call Canadian bullshit on this. Stroll Jr. has played second fiddle to all of his team mates, including Perez. Vettel during the last couple of years has been absolutely trounced by his younger team mate, Charles Leclerc. So we are to believe that pairing 2 second drivers is going to produce a winning line up? Canadian bullshit. Daddy Larry wasn’t to demote his son and Vettel is the only former World Champion he could afford to hire. Kimi’s too old. No fucking way Lewis would go to a second tier team and Fernando would rather be at Renault.
The Italian bullshit referred to in the title of this post? If you are old enough, you’ll recall that Ferrari set out on a mission to create an all-Italian F1 team a number of years ago. As a result, they’ve stacked the team top to bottom with paisans which hasn’t led to much success for a very long time. And the only Italian driver promoted from within their young driver academy is the awful Antonio Giovinazzi. The only way they’ve been able to win is to cheat – look at 2019 vs. 2020, but let’s leave that for another discussion. But I digress. Toward the end of the video, none other than Jacques Villenueve comes to the same conclusion about the Scuderia. What do you know.
Lexus: All models in the Japanese maker’s lineup remained pretty much the same – although they FINALLY added Apple Carplay to their 2020 line up (what took so long, I have no clue). The shining star in the booth was the LC500 convertible. I’ve pined for the hard top version since it’s inception and the convertible is no less sexy. The LC500 is what the Supra SHOULD have been. To hell with the price. Nearly 500 horsepower from a V8 is what it SHOULD have been. Not the poor excuse of a Z4 skinned like a MkV. Lame.
At BMW: Two cherries and… um… something to fill yet another imaginary gap in the line up was present. The M2 CS – the “real” M3, in my opinion – accompanied by the new M8. The styling of the latter doesn’t quite feel right. The M6 Gran Coupe is a sexy beast and the M8 4-door variant should have elicited the same emotional response. It didn’t… but the performance figures look healthy regardless. As for the 235i M – or is it the M 235i? It’s like what Merc is doing with the A series. These Germans keeps making cars for the downmarket. That’s not what German luxury performance is known for. Shareholder value, I suppose.
Across the South Hall at Audi: The RS Q8 and the RS6 Avant were on display. Both are beefed up beasts compared to their non-RS versions but these weren’t the cars that excited me. Rather, I’m looking at the Audi S8 with with 563 ponies that’s tickling my pickle.
Not much to see at Lincoln, save for the suicide doors on the Continental. Wow.
The manufacturer formerly known as Fisker returned as Karma. Nothing new in the way of a production vehicle, but they put out two stunning concept vehicles, the SC1 and SC2. The latter was far more stunning – and more practical – than the former roofless vision of the future. But what does practicality have anything to do with concept cars, right?
Despite the rather chilly and rainy weather in downtown LA (yes, it actually RAINED in Southern California), hordes of automotive industry professionals and media heads – although I can’t understand how much of a “media” person anyone can be shooting photos with an iPhone – gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the latest edition of the LA Auto Show. Phew. What a mouthful.
There were a handful of new vehicle debuts to speak about, although few are going to raise anyone’s heart rate.
At the Ford Motor Co. booth: So what did Detroit unleash upon us? Their own version the Pontiac Aztec, it seems. While it’s 100% electric, it’s also 100% ugly. Nothing wrong with going all in on electric but the Mustang Mach-E looks nothing like its petrol-drinking brethren. I would be embarrassed to drive this thing around town. Wow. Speechless.
Meanwhile, at Porsche: The Taycan was the rage. Couldn’t get a clean photo because attendees were too busy leaving the fingerprints all over the car, inside and out. Regardless, I am really excited for this all electric car as it will give Tesla a serious run for its money. And frankly, Tesla’s brand cache will take a serious hit once the Taycan hits the road.
Yes, electric Porsches are cool but I was more titillated by their gas guzzling counterparts. Namely, the new 911 Carrera 4S on display (drool) and the IMSA GTLM winning 911 RSR. Oh my…
Nothing to see at Nissan: Perhaps it’s reflective of their horrible sales numbers… There was nothing to see at Nissan, except a “50th anniversary” edition of the GT-R. And a customized Nissan truck. Neither really excited anyone, AFAIK, but here are some photos for shits & giggles.
Still working on other photos. Coverage will continue tomorrow. Stay tuned!
It’s time for Vettel to leave and free up a seat for someone else. Someone who is far more qualified for a seat at the Scuderia. Go raise your kids. Go do whatever you want. But it’s time for you to leave F1 for good.
Sadly, looks like Robert will leave F1 at the end of the current season. I’m sure the completely undermining performance of the Williams Considering how many young drivers are waiting in the wings and experienced drivers without a ride – Nico Hulkenberg being a stand out – there’s probably very minimal chance Robert will find a ride. Regardless, what a heroic year it has been. It’s a shame the romance couldn’t last longer.
Back in the day, Nismo meant something. TRD meant something. And, until recently, Gazoo Racing meant something. They all held the deepest level of respect among car enthusiasts as these sub-brands of OEMs went racing. And they won. And these brands were attached to some of the most iconic Japanese supercars of yesteryears – namely, the Nissan GT-R, the Toyota Supra and, most recently, the Toyota TS050 LMP1 Le Mans and WEC champion. So, I ask, why take such respected names and just, well, screw it all up?
Nissan isn’t doing much better either. They’ve managed to slap the Nismo branding onto the 370Z and the Sentra. Neither of the Nismo versions offer any performance advantages over their non-Nismo brethren. It’s all exterior bullshit. Might as well add a bunch of stickers to the non-Nismo versions (don’t forget the “NOS” sticker!) and save some money. The stickers will add as much horsepower as the Nismo versions!
Toyota and Nissan: instead of making these cars “sticker-fast,” why not start making some cars that are actually fast? Yes, the R35 GT-R is a fast car, but it’s a bit long in the tooth (probably an understatement) and the latest additions have made the car about as attractive as Pete Burns, lead singer of an old band who’s had one too much plastic surgeries.
I’ll be honest. I’ve never been a fan of Sebastian Vettel. While he brought some laughs at press conferences, I’ve always felt he was over-rated. Just a look at his performance @ Ferrari is reason enough to pass judgement of this nature. The quality of the car @ Red Bull Racing masked his deficiencies and is the only reason he is a 4 time champion.
At Monza this past weekend, Vettel added yer another screw up to his long list of mistakes. It was only a few months ago that he created a hell of a kerfuffle by dangerously rejoining the track after he went off at turn 3 of the Canadian GP. He almost squeezed Lewis Hamilton into the wall by doing so but claimed he was robbed of the victory because he was handed an undeserved time penalty as a result of his own mistake. That’s not what I saw and supported the stewards’ decision.
Indeed, Vettel did basically the same BS at Monza. He made the mistake purely on his own – no one hit him, no one touched him, he just screwed up plain and simple. He can’t handle on-track pressure, as seen in recent cock-ups at Sinapore (2018), Hockenheim (2018), Monza (2018), running into the back of Verstappen at Silverstone (2019), Canada mentioned above and, now, at Monza. And while Leclerc’s move squeezing Hamilton – the penalty handed down was a piss poor decision, by the way – at least the young Monegasque can deal with the pressure, the pressure of being upfront. Vettel has shown time and time again that he can’t do the same. And this reason alone is reason enough for this guy to retire from F1 and free up that seat for someone who can actually do something with it.
It’s time to go, Sebastian. Leave and enjoy time with your family and do whatever else you may fancy. It’s time to go.