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Lack of effort
The Red Bull launch has been received in a number of different ways. The preview video, ‘The rhythm of the factory’ (check it out in F1 Forensic) seems to have gone down quite well. This was the pre-cursor to the big live unveil. I have spoken to Christian, and he accepts the reveal of the car in the video could have been better – more like in the TJ13 video – with some more effort from the RB graphics team, and the matter has been duly noted for 2014.
Press not happy
Some of the press and media chaps and girls are getting a bit miffed with the F1 paddock. Will Buxton, who is not an establishment puppet and who I enjoy listening to commentating on GP2, had this to say on twitter. “Totally done with online launches. They provide sod all for the media and even less for fans. Time for something different & cost effective.”
Darren Heath @f1photographer replied, “Come on Will, #f1 Launches used to be solely for media, guests & team. Online gives access to untold millions which is only positive.” This kicked off a heated debate over all things ‘F1 car launch”.
Will was not at the launch, however his comment struck a chord with me and I began to revisit a theme I began to pen over Christmas and have since shelved for the time being, but the established F1 press just doesn’t get social media and the internet.
Reporters and commentators are trekking all over the country and the world to get ‘exclusives’, and what they produce for r our consumption is mostly ‘Lewis is excited about his new challenge…Cheko says he can beat Jenson”. It’s what I call the ‘he said, she said, they said’ type copy with little opinion, comment or current context.
The grand unveiling of Checo by McLaren was a perfect example of this. Reporters were tweeting sentiments like this throughout the day. “In hotel room waiting for my interview with Sergio Perez”. Everyone then rushed off and wrote up their online or paper copy and released it ASAP – and guess what? – Checo pretty much said the same thing to all of them.
It’s all rather pathetic and sad really, but there are those in the established F1 media who rage against the internet but may be starting to realise they are not particularly privileged but are in fact pawns in the F1 machine.
The need for middle men (people) between the F1 players and the public who have the exclusive power to communicate to us what we can know may well be quickly coming to an end.
Cover up quick
More irritation for the assembled masses as large built Gentlemen enforced a no picture-taking rule which upset a number of the aficionado’s. The car was quickly covered at the end of the presentation and now one was able to walk around it.
Jennie Gow, pit lane reporter for the BBC had this to say on arrival. “Just been told strictly no photographs! Hmmmm”. Clearly put out by this she made reference in tweets to the ‘photo ban’ several times during the presentation and subsequent interviews.
She concludes with, “Have to say I am disappointed not to be able to take photos and not to be able to see the car. Very different from some launches!” A follower of hers then asked, “All seems very odd. Why are Red Bull alienating media? What do you think is the reason?” TJ13 will explain the secrecy – Jennie and friend – a little later.
I found the Ferrari post launch ceremony comments fascinating. Luca’s gang are all cock-a-hoop and appear to be calling out the FIA reg’s boffins and baiting Red Bull with “We’re just waiting for Newey to complain about our rear suspension”; and all this before a lap has been driven in anger.
You can understand Ferrari’s mindset. Newey is the one, year on year, hauled in front of Charlie’s special regulatory agents as they struggle to grasp the engineering wizardry, disguised trickery and the Uri Geller-esque mind bending of the rules before their very eyes.
It’s a badge of honour. Meantime, the Maranello machines are relatively transparent and conservative and fly through scrutineering with a wave of the hand and a long pull on a well rolled Gauloises Original Fine Blend. The humility of it. Il Padrino’s gang are left begging the regulation police to check once more – please.
A subtle psychology
From Red Bull though, we saw today the reverse psychology. Newey – laid back after emerging from a ‘purple haze’ – was propounding the RB9 was nothing special and more ‘evolution not revolution’. “To be perfectly honest the only cars I’ve had a chance to look at pictures of so far are those of the Lotus, the McLaren and the Ferrari…and they look to me to be relatively evolutionary cars as well.”
Meandering further Newey rather incomprehensibly stated, “We know what we believe we’ve done, but we don’t know what everybody else has done.” ??????? Did you do what you intended or just something else? Do you know what you’ve actually done Adrian or just believe you may have? The purple haze is indeed having some effect already.
As if grasping the gaze of the world was upon him, he clarifies. “The devil has very much been in the detail. We tidied up some bits we felt could be improved on. It’s a car in transition, as are all the cars.”
So then – no big deal – the RB9 is just the RB8 with a few tweaks here and there; a bit of spit and polish, a new paint job and…well….that’s it really.
Here’s your answer Jennie and Friend
Why the grim faced muscular doorman and the camera police? Why upset all the people who can write nice things about you and cover the car up before anyone can tell if the paint job is metallic or high gloss?
Why indeed? Maybe Red Bull have a big secret. Maybe it is they not Ferrari who are the ones with a legally suspect suspension system and they realise allowing the hugely detailed photographs of rods and their positioning – as Somers has kindly revealed on other car launches – would start the questions too soon. The car is most likely not ‘real’ and too close an examination would reveal this.
In Jerez and Barcelona, no one will be able to get a macro shot of the stationary car of sufficient detail to wake the FIA from hibernation, and by the time it is ruled ‘guilty’ of a breach, the early races will be over and the points in the bag.
So much to record and so little time to do so. I must hurry on. It was notable that the Red Bull Rottweiler – Helmut – had been chained and muzzled, ready for release when required to cause another diversion. He has been a bad doggy recently – tearing up the Red Bull yard and Christian found it necessary to bring some balance to his recent barking.
Responding to Helmut’s recent yapping that suggested Webber was impotent and “can’t maintain his form throughout the year” and has difficulty performing under pressure – Christian had this to say.
“As we all know Helmut can be outspoken at times and some of his comments reflected his opinion, and sometimes these things can be misinterpreted.”
An eager Mark Webber was delighted to have the questions over his manhood banished as Christian silkily observed, “But if we weren’t happy with Mark we would have never signed him to be with the team for this year. We are very happy with Mark. We give both drivers equal opportunity and it’s ultimately down to what they do on the circuit and in the team that is very much the opinion, the approach and we will continue to do that.”
Mark’s manhood restored
Mark interjects, “”I do believe I can have a crack at the Championship again this year, as I have done in previous seasons. That’s what I’m getting up each day thinking.” Webber then asserts, “The team know I need 100 percent support, you can’t win World Championships with 99 percent support. That’s what I’m confident of.”
Christian wraps up the ‘love in’ with his final verdict on the matter. “For us it doesn’t matter which driver wins as long as it’s a driver in one of these cars. Both of these guys are here because we believe they are the best, we want them in the team and obviously the team do the very best we can to support both drivers.”
Well, if Mr. Horner is not telling porky pies then let’s see if Webber’s pit stop strategies are constant in 2013, or chopped and chained about again.
And that’s sayonara for me for now. Mrs. Judge is calling to help pack the bags.