Formula 1 - 64 Years of History and a new season ahead…
Only 3 days left!
Jenson Button: “It’s been a pretty strange couple of months. I would say horrific, but in certain ways it’s been nice – the messages of condolence and people’s thoughts about my father, things I never even knew about him.
“It’s been very special in that way and to see how many people he has touched. When you’re busy testing, and things like that, you get on with your business and you can have a laugh, you can have a joke.
“Somebody wrote me a nice message saying: ‘Everyone else’s lives will go back to normal, but it won’t for you, but never feel guilty about having a laugh or a smile because it’s exactly what he would want.’ I thought it was a lovely message.
“It’s when you’re away from racing or away from people, that’s when it hurts. It hits you like a stake through the heart. At the grand prix, obviously I won’t be alone. I’ll have all my family and friends around me, which is going to help a lot. It’s still going to be unbelievably difficult, whether we have a good race or a bad race. Even with all those people there, whatever happens it’s going to be tough. Whether I liked it or not, he was always the last person who gave me a high five or a cuddle before I got into the car. I’m going to miss that a lot.
“If I make the podium, it will be unbelievably emotional. And if it all turns to s—- and we have a c—- race, it will also be emotional because he’s not there to pick me up.
“There were always those times when you had a bad race and he would come in and put it into perspective. That would annoy me in some way, because I knew he was right, but when your dad’s trying to tell you something when you’re in a bad mood it’s always difficult. It’s going to be a very emotional weekend. Not the only one this year.”
Q. Among all drivers that have raced for McLaren, what are your favourites?
Ron Dennis: “Mika I choose for his honesty, Lewis for his uncompromising attitude and Ayrton because of his passion.”
Speaking of Australia, there’s a Grand Prix the McLaren team will never forget.
Back in 1995, the Australian GP was held at Adelaide. Mika Hakkinen was driving the car during qualifying when he suffered a tyre puncture and hit a concrete wall. He suffered a fractured skull, internal bleeding and swallowed his tongue, and only an emergency tracheotomy at the side of the track (performed by doctors led by Prof Sid Watkins) saved his life.
Hakkinen recalls: “I was going maximum speed, going into a right hander, when all of a sudden I had a tyre failure. At that point you just become a passenger. I didn’t have a HANS system back then. Safety was very different. I ended up fracturing my skull. Thankfully when I was in hospital the doctors finally found my brain (laughs).”
The following day the Finn woke up and was able to speak. Only 87 days later he made a comeback at the Paul Ricard tests - in his first stint he nearly matched the pace of Rubens Barrichello; on his second run, Mika set a time of 1:07.1s, 6 tenths faster than the time set by Michael Schumacher.
Thus proving, however tough an accident might be, there’s always a high chance F1 drivers will recover…
uberrad asked: Does that mean they have a title sponsor?
Last week, Ron Dennis said the team would have a title sponsor this year but not for the first race. Whether that has changed or not we’ll find out this weekend, although I guess if they had found a major sponsor they would have announced it already. We’ll have to wait a few more days to find out!
There are only 4 days left for the Australian Grand Prix so here you have a few McLaren stats:
The team has won in Australia 11 times (both in Adelaide and Melbourne): Alain Prost 1986 and 1988; Ayrton Senna 1991 and 1993; Gerhard Berger 1992, David Coulthard 1997 and 2003, Mika Hakkinen 1998, Lewis Hamilton 2008, Jenson Button 2010 and 2012.
They’ve also clinched 10 pole positions: Ayrton Senna 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1993; Mika Hakkinen 1998,1999 and 2000; and Hamilton in 2008 and 2012.
Add to that 8 Fastest Laps and 24 Podium finishes.
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