Schumacher in the rain, surprise wins and visiting McLaren

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McLaren Technology Centre
McLaren Technology Centre

It’s time to tackle another clutch of correspondence from the F1 Fanatic inbox.

The latest crop of questions include how to get a tour of the McLaren Technology Centre, going to the Indian Grand Prix, and some interesting trivia topics.

Here’s the latest selection of your questions answered.

McLaren Technology Centre tours

First up, a couple of questions from McLaren fans:

I’m the girlfriend of a ridiculously huge McLaren fan. At the end of September we’ll be in Paris and I wanted to surprise him by taking the train to London where I was hoping to take him to the McLaren Technology Centre.

Would you happen to know any information about visitors being allowed in? Or even if there’s anything else that a huge McLaren fan would enjoy in London? I’ve tried looking up info on their homepage but there is no one to contact!

Thank you so much for your help.

Kind Regards,


My son Steve is 21 on the 6th of October and has been an absolute fanatic of F1 since he was five and can tell you about any lap in any race over the years.

He seems to know everything about every driver and car in F1. He’s a great lad, I think I know what the answer is going to be, but would it be possible for him to have a look around the McLaren site. I know it would be a great day for him.

Warm regards

Tony Hampton

The McLaren Technology Centre is a stunning building, the nerve centre of their racing operation, and showcases many of their great F1 and other racing cars.

Tours are arranged on a limited basis and to have the chance to go on one you need to become a ‘Tier 2’ member of McLaren’s Membership Programme. A 12-month ‘Tier 2’ membership costs ??50 for an adult, ??60 for a pair of adults, and ??10 for children.

Find out more about McLaren’s Membership Programme here:

Are you a member of McLaren or any other team or driver fan clubs? Tell us about them in the comments.

Television graphics

Olle has some thoughts on how F1’s television coverage compares to NASCAR:

I just read your article regarding radio traffic during the races. I also would like to complain about the graphics.

Watch a NASCAR race and you know what I mean. There you can see a banner that shows the gap in real-time. In F1 a list rolls a couple of times/race and is updated maybe once. Sometimes in NASCAR it is shown with arrows to a pair of cars that shows gap, speed etc…

In F1 it feels like Christmas when the graphics is shown with gear, revs, throttle, brake etc… The broadcast from F1 feels a bit ’80s, sad since F1 is presented as a hi-tech sport.

Olle Hildebeck

I agree that F1 hasn’t explored the possibilities for television coverage nearly as well as NASCAR has. Remember that NASCAR began its high definition broadcasts in 2005 – F1 has only had it since this year.

It is worth bearing in mind that NASCAR races generally take place on ovals that are much shorter than F1 tracks which means they need less equipment to cover them in the first place.

But even so they make far better use of features such as split-screen coverage which F1 is crying out for.

We have started to see some new information on the screens this year including useful information like DRS activation and which tyres drivers have used.

Personally I would not like to see the screen cluttered up with too much information. But there is much unexploited potential in using the internet to supply the kind of real-time information that fans want to see such as car data, more detailed timing and, of course, real-time radio broadcasts.

Some teams like McLaren and Mercedes already offer this on their websites.

F1 emissions

Steve wants to know what steps are being taken to reduce emissions in F1.

Keith, I’m having a discussion with several people on our Austin American Statesman news paper here in Austin about CO2 and Formula One cars. They quoted that Jenson Button’s car would emit over 50 tonnes of CO2 during the season.

I did a little research and found that they had quoted a 2007 story from The Guardian. I still want to prove that F1 is carbon neutral and emits less now than then. Do you have any links that I might be able to use?


Steve Calvert

In 1997 the FIA began purchasing carbon credits from the Fonfo BioClimatico project in Mexico to offset the CO2 produced during a Formula 1 season (see this PDF report). This pays for the planting of trees in a forest in Chiapas.

However work is also being done on the more pressing task of reduce the emissions that are produced in the first place. Last year the Formula 1 Teams’ Association said it would reduce its emissions by around an eighth by 2012.

This includes more than just the tailpipe emissions from the cars, which are dwarfed by the volumes produced in transporting the F1 cavalcade around the world and powering the teams’ factories and wind tunnels.

At the end of last year McLaren was awarded the Carbon Trust standard for measuring and reducing its emissions. They reduced their CO2 output by 1,500g tonnes per year, the equivalent of running their wind tunnel non-stop for seven months.

Watching the Indian Grand Prix

Here’s an F1 Fanatic who’s planning to go to the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Hello Keith,

A long time reader of F1 Fanatic here! I am planning to go to my first F1 Grand Prix this October in India. The tickets have just been made available but I was wondering which stand should I go for? Do I prioritise heavy breaking zones or do I look for a birds’ eye view of multiple corners.

Chandrahasa Reddy

As always you’re best place to look for answers on questions like this is the race discussion pages. There are already some F1 Fanatics who are planning to go sharing thoughts on where to watch:

Find the race discussion pages for the other remaining races here:

Schumacher shines in the wet

David is testing my F1 recollection:

Michael Schumacher drove a race some years ago, it started to rain and everybody went in for wets except Schumacher who stayed out on his slicks, he drove really well keeping it on the road but the rest of the field were catching him, the rain stopped and they all had to stop again for slicks, Schumacher romped home miles ahead. Which race and year was it?

David Ashbrooke

I suspect the race you’re thinking of is the 1995 Belgian Grand Prix.

Schumacher started 16th on the grid after a rain-hit qualifying session. Title rival Damon Hill lined up eighth.

Halfway through the race Hill had risen to the lead and Schumacher had moved up to second behind him. But when rain fell Hill pitted for wets while Schumacher stayed out on slicks.

Hill caught Schumacher who defended his lead vigorously – earning a one-race ban, suspended for four races, after making contact with the Williams.

Hill eventually gave up and returned to the pits for slicks. Schumacher won while Hill passed Martin Brundle for second place on the final lap having been delayed by a penalty for speeding in the pits on one of his many visits.

Surprise winner

Here’s another F1 history question from Pete Johnson.


When do you reckon was the last genuine surprise winner of a Grand Prix? My definition of a surprise winner would be someone who wasn’t from one of the top teams form-wise for any given year. For example this year for me a surprise winner if it happened now, based on results so far for this year, would come from say Mercedes or Renault and then any of the others further down in the points.

Perhaps Button’s win in Hungary was the last one? Button’s first win for Brawn in 2009 wasn’t really a surprise as testing gave a few major clues as to the way things may turn out for the year.

Anyway I reckon F1 is way overdue for a ‘surprise winner’!


Pete Johnson

You could make a case for two of Button’s wins – his maiden triumph with Honda in 2006, or that memorable victory for Brawn in the first race of 2009.

But I would say the last true ‘surprise win’ was Giancarlo Fisichella’s for Jordan at Interlagos in 2003.

Of course he wasn’t declared the winner on the day – the trophy was incorrectly given to Kimi Raikkonen, and only later was the mess sorted out.

That rather took the shine off what was a fabulous maiden win for Fisichella and the last for Jordan and Ford-Cosworth.

Private messages

Let’s wrap up with a question about the site from Anagh.


I was just wondering why isn’t there a facility to send private messages to other members of the site? It’d be nice if there was some way of sending PMs to other members. Or is there one and I don’t know about it?


Anagh Desai

I always like to see readers using the site to arrange to meet up at races and other events. Usually that means there comes a point where contact details have to be swapped.

At the moment there isn’t a means of doing that privately via the site. This is one of several features currently under development for the site which I hope to introduce soon. As you’d expect, it will only be available for registered users.

There are several other improvements to the community side of things in the pipeline. At the moment I’m not able to say when they’ll be ready to go on the live site but a lot of work is being put into this at present.

Got a question for F1 Fanatic? Send it in via the contact form. Please include your real name.

Your questions answered

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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99 comments on “Schumacher in the rain, surprise wins and visiting McLaren”

  1. the nearest surprising win i think is vettel toro rosso 2008 no one expected it at all i think

    1. Not before the the race weekend, but if that’s your criteria I think you could make the same case regarding Brawn at Australia in 2009. People thought they were quick but not necessarily win-from-pole quick. Once you’re starting from pole position a win is usually not a surprise!

      1. but the differences are profound. Brawn had a history of wins, Button was an established talent, and it was the first race of the season, and from winter testing, Brawn was looking strong (iirc). With STR, Vettel, although talented, was only 21, and the car itself was lower midfield for the first half of the season, and while they did get some upgrades mid season which made them more competitive, they were still mid-field.

        The pole people can put down to the changeable conditions and McLaren’s odd call with Lewis going out in Q3 on the intermediate tires instead of the full wets. Qualifying obviously is one lap, and being on the right tire at the right time and with a lower fuel load certainly helps, but the race is a different animal (and Vettel didn’t dominate in practice either). Folks expected Heikki to go right by him after the start and probably assumed Vettel might get a podium or top 5 finish if he was lucky, but a win, no way. Don’t forget, this is a Vettel before he became a WDC or finishing second in the WDC for Red Bull in 2009.

        1. When the conditions on sunday were similar to saturday I wasn’t really surprised. I was very impressed but not really surprised. The Ferrari motor was good that year and the package suited Monza. Fisichella’s win for me was the most surprising because you had no idea who was going to win since everybody kept crashing off the road.

          1. Exactly, it came from no where. It was like Panis in Monaco or Badoar’s almost 4th (I think) in the Minardi.

        2. I don’t agree with that, already in the races leading to Monza that year, it had become more and more clear, that the Ferrari engine had a big advantage and that the STR was able to mix it with the top of the grid.
          It was in line with seeing Fisi on pole in Belgium in 2009, refreshing, but not totally out of nowhere (they had clearly been up to speed on high speed tracks).

      2. in case of brazil 2010 , if hulk won the race , everybody including hulk himself will be surprised although he was starting from pole

        1. Yes, but that pole was more of a fluke than Vettel’s. I don’t mean disrespect to Hulkenberg, what I mean is that Toro Rosso as a team were very much on the ball that whole weekend and only had a single McLaren close behind them. What Vettel did was great, but once he had pole it wasn’t hugely surprising compared to Fisichella’s win.

      3. Or what about Heikki Kovalainen at Budapest in 2008. Both Hamilton and Massa outpaced the finn all weekend, but both suffered mechanical failures giving Kovalainen his sole win to date. I guess this is a surprise as he wasn’t the fastest driver for any of the weekend.

    2. I would have thought that myself. Maybe because of the rain it didn’t count? Unusual circumstances and all that.

    3. In my opinion, Vettel’s win had been coming. He’d been just there in qualifying in a couple of races, and you could tell the car was getting quicker.

      1. I wouldn’t say it was that obvious, without the rain he wouldn’t have had the car.

  2. A note on the McLaren technology centre visits for members – even after you have paid your £50 for your membership you are still asked to pay a further £50 per person for a visit to the MTC.

    1. Ah that’s definitely worth knowing, thanks for that.

    2. :|
      If u wanted to go there lets say 5 times a year, It’ll cost u £300? :s:s

      1. I imagine little would change to warrant 5 visits a year though.

        1. also, you have to apply to mclaren for it and they don’t usually give them out to members that have already been on a tour

      2. A membership only entitles you to one visit per year.

    3. Good information anyway I think a visit there would be priceless for any of us.

      1. If you have a Vodafone contract you can join vodafone VIP. they also run competitions to win a trip to the MTC. I won one and also got to meet Lewis. It was an amazing to visit, and I got in for free!

  3. Regarding the graphics and text on screen during the race.
    First I think some of the cluttering on the F1 screen is they are still catering for old style 4:3 TVs. They cannot push in to the edges as it would be lost.
    Second the rolling banners on American motor sport. I struggle to read them on TV, as I am sure a lot of people over the age of 50 do. It’s just a fact of life when you go beyond 50 reading glasses etc. are a standard required items.

    1. As was the case last year, there are two different sets of graphics: one for 4:3 and one for widescreen. Some broadcasters (including BBC) use the 4:3. The 16:9 version looks much better and uses the space much better.

      And there has been a “rolling” score board at the bottom of the screen for two? years now, and it updates about every 5 seconds.

      1. Yes KaIIe is right theres a rolling scoreboard, and to be honest I well used to use it to keep an eye to gaps but sometimes some overtkaes and battles are lost

      2. Wow, I never realised that, guess not only the BBC, but also RTL NL and Germany all use the 4:3 one as a large part of their audience still has that format tv. Now I wish they could switch that, for example on their HD channels (if you have HD, that has to be widescreen, right?)

    2. Actually, FOM provides two feeds: one with graphics which fit within the 4:3 aspect ratio, and another for 16:9.

      It’s up to the broadcaster to choose, and in the UK, the BBC choose to broadcast the 4:3 version. I watched a race in the US recently and the graphics were right at the edge of the widescreen I watched on.

    3. I like the balloons with details (gear, pace, …) they show when two cars are close in InyCars or Nascar.

      Not completely sure about the banners either.

  4. i remember the fisi brazil race, id worked out that fisi was the winner after red flag and as a big fan of him at the time i was annoyed he didnt get the win. I was certain it should of gone to him. If i remember right(tho long time ago) he had crossed the line after alonso accident but before the red flag went out.

    then about half a week later ‘someone’ had worked out he was the correct winner. i was always bemused that it took that long for something that important to be worked out….but thats the high tech world of F1 for you.

    wasnt there a gp in the 70s where no one had any idea of where they had finished?

    1. and in crossing the line before the red flag went out it meant on 2 lap count back fisi leading. they thought he had not crossed the line(how??? even now i find it bizzare) and on that count back meant kimi was leading.

      1. Why do they need to complicate things with the 2 lap countback rule, again?

        1. To stop people taking the lead and immediately deliberately getting the race stopped to keep a position about to be retaken (either through one’s own crash or via a team ordering a team-mate/friendly rival to crash). If done close enough to the finish line, a one-lap countback would not suffice to undo the damage caused, hence the count goes to the penultimate completed lap.

          There is no evidence that anyone has ever attempted to circumvent fair play through this specific method, but the regulatory protection is there just in case anyone gets ideas.

    2. It was the Canadian GP in 1973. After heavy downpours and the first use of a Safety Car in F1, Peter Revson was eventually declared the winner although to this day I think Fittipaldi actually won. Here’s some links to an article I scanned from the Oct 7, 1973 Marlboro Sports Special paper that I picked up in the paddock at the following US GP at Watkins Glen. That’s me in the dark glasses at the left edge of the podium photo.

      1. The Concise Encyclopaedia of Formula One summarised that race with “To this day, no one is really sure who won”. At one point, according to officialdom, Howden Ganley’s Iso-Williams was leading and not even Frank Williams believed that…

  5. What about Vette’s win in Monza for Toro Rosso? I know he started on pole which took some of the surprise element away on the day, but before the weekend I’m sure nobody would have predicted a pole and race win!

    1. Dam – how long did it take me to write that out! There where no comments when I started.

        1. Even when he got pole, i don’t think we all expected him to win.

  6. Hill did get past Schumacher in the end, with Michael running wide on the entry to Les Combes. The rest happened as you say though, it was an impressive bit of thinking from Schumacher. Here’s the video:

    I love this feature, might have to think of something interesting to ask myself!

    1. …and then Hill went off and lost the place. A lot went on in that race!

      1. Oh yeh, I just meant the “giving up” part :)

  7. For surprise winners, I think you’d need to include Vettel in 2008. I just recently rewatched both qualifying and the race (ITV’s coverage) and no one expected Vettel to put it on pole. Then with the race, no one expected him to actually win. Obviously people in the paddock knew he had talent but pole/victory was a surprise, and probably a shock to some as well.

    For those who keep talking the win down because the TR was the “best” car, it should be remembered that no one in 2008, at least during qualifying and race coverage, ever talked about the STR as being the class in any field that year (including Italy), when it was Macca, Ferrari, BMW, Renault (at least with Alonso), and Redbull at the top.

    1. I agree.
      Even when he got pole position it was more a case of good tyre choice. I think it was a bit like Hulkenberg’s pole position in Brazil last year. Being on the right tyre at the right temperature at the right time means a lot when the conditions are sub-optimal.
      But despite getting pole we all knew he wouldn’t be able to make it.
      Especially as the race was dry, so no chance in hell. But even if it had been wet who would bet on him winning the race? No one.
      Not that he did, but had he won it would have been a huge surprise despite setting pole position.
      I know there are differences, and the TR was genuinely a fast car in the wet, but as the race gets a along the big guys tend to find a way around the small ones quite quickly.
      Whether it is because of their own mistakes or them just being better, faster, etc.
      I really do think Vettel’s 2008 win could qualify as the latest surprise win.
      Not the most surprising, but the most recent.

      1. Kubica’s win at Montréal wasn’t really expected…

        1. Kubica had two second places and a third that year already. So you could say a win was coming. And of course he was in the title hunt eventually.

          Actually in the past 20 years there haven’t been that many surprise winners. It just doesn’t happen that a slower car suddenly wins a race. Panis/Monaco ’96, Fisico/Brazil ’03 are pretty obvious. Berger’s wins at Hockenheim in ’94 and ’97 are a bit surprising, but he still scored podiums those years. Piquet/Montreal ’91 was unexpected, as he scored just two other podiums that year.

          1. Hill’s near win at hungry would of been the greatest…..if only the race was a lap less :(

          2. I think if Senna (Ayrton, I mean) won in Monaco ’84 it would have been even better, I reckon. And it would have happened, if the race wasn’t ended prematurely.

          3. @Lopes

            unless Stefan Bellof won, considering he was actually catching both Senna and Prost when Ickx stopped the race. Curious what kind of career Bellof may have had if he wasn’t killed at Spa in 1985.

          4. @85q Oh yes, It has to be One of the greatest races not to be won.

  8. Pretty good battle between Schumacher and Hill (and, no, a different David A asked the question :P ).

    You might want to fix “Schumacher shins in the wet” :)

    1. Ha, I thought that was the best subheading in ages!

      Schumacher shins in the wet

      But as David A mentions, you might want to change it Keith!

  9. Regarding the McLaren Technonlogy Centre, if you are a F1 fan it’s worth every penny. Just walking down the boulevard seeing the cars that Bruce, Hulme, Senna, Prost and Mika won in made all my hairs on my whole body raise. Touching the car Senna won his last championship for McLaren. Seeing the windtunnel, workshops, all the prices McLaren have won over the years. It’s no doubt its one of the most fantastic experiences i ever had, and I can highly recommend it.

  10. Apart from NASCAR TV graphics, something that F1 could adapt from North American racing series are rotating onboard cameras, such as IndyCar’s, which provide an awesome point of view of overtaking.

  11. Hey Keith, wasn’t Schumacher’s ban in 1994? I think there was no action against him after that Belgian GP in 95; and he did pit after a little more than one full lap of defending against Hill, and won the race square and fair…

    1. I didn’t say he was banned.

    2. Michael got a suspended ban after Spa 1995 for over-aggressive driving, so it would only have taken effect if Michael had done anything else that season warranting censure from the stewards. No such censure-worthy acts occurred so the ban never happened.

      1. damon got one too didnt he? after monza?

        then they clarified the one weaving rules for Aida(i think) and damon took that to mean he could get along side him at turn1 and just push him off….lol(better times!). Which meant the ferraris took the lead for a while.

        1. I can’t remember exactly which race in 1995 Damon got the suspended ban, but you’re right that he got one at some point that year. Thank you for having a better memory than me :)

  12. I’m gonna stick my neck out here and hope you all don’t hate me:

    For me, the last surprise winner was recently. Very recently. It was Sebastian Vettel. It was at Monza. Ans a Mclaren was 2nd. But I mean 2011. Hamilton, Button and Alonso were mentioned as potential race winners, but most said this was the one race that RBR would be beaten to pole. Even when he got pole, I was surprised he won.

    1. If you go into a race this year doubting that Vettel can win it then you can’t have watched the rest of the season :p

      He was expected to win less than the McLarens and Ferrari, but it was far from a surprise given how close the races have been at almost every track, more just exasperating.

    2. If you want to go with a surprise win from this year, it would have to be Button in Montreal. That was definitely a DRS aided win (no way he gets by Webber and Schumacher w/o it).

      1. If you go into a race this year doubting that Vettel can win it then you can’t have watched the rest of the season :p

        It’s not that I doubted that he could win it, because he’s the sort of driver that can win in any circumstances, like Alonso, and maybe Button.

        If you want to go with a surprise win from this year, it would have to be Button in Montreal. That was definitely a DRS aided win (no way he gets by Webber and Schumacher w/o it).

        I’m not sure. Maybe because of how the race was, but I expected McLaren to be strong at one of their best tracks.

        1. I’m just thinking of what constitutes a surprise. If a car is solid mid-field, ala STR in 2008, but Vettel gets pole, than it’s not considered a “surprise” that he won the race (I disagree, I think at the time it was a huge surprise – most were expecting good things from Vettel in 2009 with RBR).

          In Button’s case, while the McLaren was strong, especially in Montreal, during the actual race, including the restart after the 2 hour (or whatever it was) red flag, who would have thought Button, or anyone else for that matter, would beat Vettel? In that sense, on the day and in the middle of the race, no one would have put money on that happening, hence a “surprise”.

        2. There were 3 RB cars in the top 4. That car (especially with the Ferrari engine) was perfect for that track and those conditions.

          Sure Hamilton was going a lot faster, but he was unlucky during qualifying and during the race. Had Hamilton had slightly more fuel on board he could have stopped a few laps later and he would have won the race.

  13. Regarding the CO2 Emissions of F1:

    The CO2 the cars produce during a race weekend are negligible compared to the CO2 emitted by the Fans driving to any Sporting event.
    In this way you can say a Football match is producing just as much CO2 as an F1 Race. Any discussion about reducing the CO2 emission of an F1 car is just symbolic and has no real use.

    1. I did make that point in the article.

    2. Yes, but -pedant alert- the point could also be made that most F1 circuits are in the middle of nowhere so I’d guess that a higher proportion of fans travel by car compared to the average football match (where the stadiums tend to be in the middle of a City/town).

      It is a purely symbolic thing, but significantly reducing the CO2 emissions of the actual cars on the track would be a pretty damn big symbol IMHO and it’s a honourable aim to have as small a footprint as possible.

      1. Sure but getting into this game, what about all the football fans watching the games on TV (using electricity) of which there are more games and more fans (in the UK at least) than there are F1 fans…

      2. as shown by BasCB, the emissions of the actual cars is not the problem and is not the area that teams should be focused on if they want to reduce their carbon footprint.

        your point about F1 tracks being in the middle of nowhere, hence higher CO2 emissions.. Please bear in mind that there are no more than 20 races in total in the entire year. Would you like to hazard a guess how many football matches are played globally in a year? we are talking thousands here. there is simply no comparison here.

        A single Boeing 747 flying from London to New York burns more fuel than all the F1 cars use up for the entire season. So the transport of the equipment worldwide has a much bigger impact than the race itself.

        I think F1 is one of the most environmentally friendly sports we have.

      3. Go Pedal Power!

    3. Indeed.

      Looking at the amount of carbon offsets purchased by the FIA, I would guess that this doesn’t include much more than the racing itself.

      Surely flying all the equipment for every team, flying every driver, flying all the FOM equipment, support cars, support staff etc. etc. to a dozen races adds up to far more than the emissions of the racing itself?

      1. In the linke Keith included you can find the details of how much CO2 was produced when FOTA started to work on reducing it:

        Emissions (tCO2-e)
        F1 Cars – Fuel in races and testing – 626
        Other Vehicles 5,434
        Operational Fuel Use 5,700
        Electricity 64,652
        Business Travel 13,363
        Freight 17,122
        Expenditure on parts and raw materials 108,691
        Total 215,588

        About half of the total is from Manufacturing the actual cars. To get back to the original question, Buttons car produced about 26-30 t of CO2 (626 for all cars) during the season.

        1. Ah, thanks.. I didn’t click all the way through to that report.

          In which case, by purchasing ~9000 tons of carbon each year the FIA offsets ~4% of the entire carbon cost of a F1 season.

          I guess that this covers the FIA-specific emissions — e.g. some freight, electricity and business travel etc.? Therefore the FIA can say that they’re offsetting *their* emissions during an F1 season.

          However, that would exclude the commercial part of the sport, i.e. everything handled by FOM, including shipping TV equipment around the world, and I believe FOM also takes care of the team’s freight?

          It’s nice that the FIA are doing this, but it would certainly seem misleading if one were to say that the entire emissions of an F1 season were being offset.

    4. This is why I asked the question in the first place, also, the artical this person was quoting was from 2007 and I knew F1 was getting better, I just couldn’t explain it very well.

  14. Could the section on TV graphics really be called a question? :P

    I do agree, FOM’s broadcasting is pretty useless all round – if Sky manage to get them to improve things that’s possibly the silver lining of that particular cloud.

  15. Thanks for the info on the McLaren tour. Now I just need some info on a simultaneous Jane Austen tour for my wife so I can justify the trip and the somewhat eye-watering expense.

  16. Schumacher shins in the wet

    I knew he was an aggressive driver, but shinning?!?!

  17. They quoted that Jenson Button’s car would emit over 50 tonnes of CO2 during the season.

    Sounds ridiculous, unless they mean kg. That’s almost 100 times the weight of his car without fuel.

    About the graphics, they seem to show the gaps between all runners almost constantly throughout the race now.

    1. 50.000 kg/ 19 raceweekends= 2631,6 kg’s each weekend???? Don’t think so :)

      1. That’s like saying Jenson’s car emits at least 6.5 kg of carbon (probably more like 8 kg) for every kg of fuel put into it. I think something went slightly wrong with the calculation too…

      2. The original Guardian article says they took the car’s fuel at race weekends, plus fight emissions for the driver to fly between races. It was the 2007 season that was quoted.

  18. McLaren membership is a waste of time. I paid £50 for membership and got a pair of earplugs in return. I applied for a paddock tour twice during my membership year, all you have to do is the typical TV style easy question, but got nothing. A chance for a tour in the factory came up, but again, didn’t get the chance to go. And the members forum is so quiet, you can’t beat the F1 Fanatic forum.

    Where on the other end of the scale, Lotus gave me and my friends a pit tour on the Thursday at the Belgian Grand Prix. A very generous thing to do, and we didn’t have to pay a penny.

  19. In F1 a list rolls a couple of times/race and is updated maybe once.

    Uh, what? The list is always shown, and always updated. It’s not quite in real time, but it does get adjusted with each timing sector. It also shows pitting drivers and retirements. In fact, there are three lists: one showing the difference from each car to the leader, one showing the difference from each car to the car in front, and one showing pit stops.

    1. So, here we have a case where you have it better than the cheap complainers from the UK then ;-) As Kalle posted in an earlier comment, it seems to depend on the graphics format choice of the channel: 4:3 or widescreen – BBC uses 4:3, so not ideal on widescreen, but usable on older tv’s.

      1. Now I have an excuse for my apparent ignorance.

  20. Is it just me, or does anybody else think that the McLaren Technology Centre looks like a Bond villain’s lair?

    1. Now that you mentioned it, it kind of does.

      However, to me it looks more like some headquarters for a superhero coalition; like some Justice League of Britain or w/e. It even includes a swimming pool and other areas for recreational activities!

      1. Well, a lot of the Bond villains are wealthy industrialists – Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger) had stocks in gold and was in manufacturing; Osato (You Only Live Twice) had a chemical supply company; Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me) was a shipping magnate; Hugo Drax (Moonraker) was in aerospace engineering; Max Zorin (A View to a Kill) was in microchips; Elliot Carver (Tomorrow Never Dies) was a Murdoch-esque media baron; Elektra King (The World Is Not Enough) was the heir to an oil fortune; Tan-Sun Moon/Gustav Graves (the atrocious Die Another Day) was into mining; and Dominic Greene (Quantum of Solace) controlled a utility company and ecological preserves (and a few tertiary villains in the opera sequence were telecommunications giants and mining oiligarchs).

        The point is, they’re in industry, and oftenn high-tech industry. They also like to have a facade of normality, a legitimate business enterprise. And it’s often high-tech, or with that Ken Adam (the set designer who made the famous volcano set in You Only Live Twice) larger-than-life quality. The McLaren Technology Centre has all of that – curvy lines, lots of glass, pleasing shapes and a funky interior design. It would make a great set, though they’d have to clear out all the cars (otherwise, it would be too similar to Patrick Dempsey’s abomination in Transformers – Dark of the Moon).

        And betetr still, filming could take place during the mandatory two-week summer shut-down, so McLaren wouldn’t be affected by it.

        1. Also, the opportunities for wordplay would be fun: German is an interesting language because the structure and syntax are almost completely opposite of English; when telling a joke in German, the punchline usually comes first. naturally, the villain gets this mixed up when he has James Bond in his McLaren Technology Centre death-trap and says “Und vhen I pujh zis bond, Meester Button…”

          1. But do you think Ron would agree to play the part?

          2. Letting your imagination run a little wild there, PM?

    2. Yep, perfect setting for Mclaren :P

  21. Surprise winner: Fernando Alonso (Japan 2008), the race after winning in Singapore.

  22. It is a bit mean but Kovalainen’s win was pretty unexpected at the time :)

  23. I think there’s two main factors that contribute to a ‘surprise’ win:

    1) Usually has to be a midfield/inferior car
    2) It’s usually “against the run of play” (ie. didn’t start on pole, hadn’t had much success previously in the season”)

    Vettel/Toro Rosso was a genuine surprise, but not so surprising after the pole position (as Keith mentioned earlier).

    Alonso in 2008 isn’t a bad bet, actually (but, Crashgate played a part, so maybe not so much).

    Kubica, well, we were all waiting for him to win, in fairness. It wasn’t exactly surprising, it was more a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

    Fisichella would have been in 2009 if he won at Spa, no doubt.

    So for me, it has to be that same driver but in 2003 in the Jordan/Brazil. Unreal. Such a shame he didn’t get the trophy there and then. Always took away from it. But for me, that’s the last real surprise win.

    Another that of course always comes to mind is Panis/Monaco/95. And also Hill (so close!) in Hungary/97.

  24. On the point of TV graphics, does anyone else wish they’d go back to the big yellow square with black number for racce position and the bold round lettering for the words?

    Like in this video that I picked as everyone’s talking about that race in this thread.

  25. Surely Vettel’s win in China 2009 was pretty surprising. Red Bull had finished 2008 seventh in the championship, 10 points behind their system team (presumably thanks to STR’s Ferrari power). In Australia they managed 12th & 13th (obviously vettel crashed, but still..) and Malaysia they managed 15th and 6th.

    So it was obviously against the run of form, and although it seems unremarkable now back then it was pretty impressive, I think.

  26. Just to mention that the MTC is in the middle of Woking in Surrey, which is a fair distance from the centre of London.

    Here is a map, hope the link works:

    Although I suppose if they don’t let people in one can go to Brooklands instead :-)

  27. That worked well….

  28. For surprise wins, I’m amazed that no-one’s mentioned the 1999 European Grand Prix. Taking nothing away from the team or the driver, nobody expected Jonny Herbert’s Stewart Ford to come home first with his team-mate Rubens Barrichello in third.

    Frank Williams even put on a pair of Stewart Tartan troosers!

  29. Button’s 1st win at Hungary in 2006. Starting 14th (after an engine change), overtaking Schumi in the wet (and when Schumi was in a Ferrari) and by being 4th by lap 10. It was also Honda’s first win as a constructor. In 2006, Alonso pretty much had ever race covered – he was either 1st or 2nd, with only 2 retirements and 2 5th placings.

    Didn’t expect Button to win given the quality machinery from Ferrari and Renault in 2006. But in hindsight, given Button’s performance in similar conditions this year, you’d think it was a safe bet – even starting from 14th spot.

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