Today we’re having a car racing colonoscopy into F1 where, as usual, there’s more action off the track than there will be at next week’s 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix (70 laps of the 4.381km Hungaroring in Budapest) where the Honey Badger (aka Danny Ricciardo) has his first outing since coming back from a spell post-McLaren, and where Clogland’s Nyck de Vries won’t be because he’s spelling (for the rest of his life).
Of course, you all get the irony here. Last year McLaren and Ricciardo agreed to divorce. Danny wasn’t performing. Teammate Lando Norris was. Danny scored 37 championship points. Lando 122. McLaren thought Danny was holding the team back.
On Sunday week, Danny will be driving for the Red Bull number two team (Alpha Tauri), which is running 10th (aka last) in the World Constructors’ Championship standings. McLaren on the other hand is running fifth with a bullet.
Why? Put simply, McLaren has made its cars look very much like Red Bulls. Yes, they have changed side pods, noses and similar stuff but the biggest factor is underneath.
Now, maybe they saw Sergio Perez’s car’s nether regions when it was hoisted high on a crane in Monte Carlo, but who cares. The McLaren company, owned by the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co (aka Bahrain royal family) has played around with their cars’ bottoms and that gives you more downforce and makes the drivers, soap dodger Norris and our own Oscar Piastri, more confident going around the twisty bits of the track.
From 17th and 20th (aka last) in the first race of the season to second and fourth last week ain’t a bad improvement.
Twenty readers, younger reader adviser JP from Perth and son, who like the Honey Badger is back reading the motoring column in the business section after a spell of sanity, can I just say that if you could ignore Mad Max, F1 is getting about as exciting as watching a Netflix documentary on the history of lint.
Let me explain.
There have been 10 races so far this year. One driver has won eight of them. There were 22 races last year. One driver won 15 of them. Friends this is only exciting if you are Max Verstappen, 25, living in a rented penthouse in Fontvielle, Monaco, with Brazilian model Kelly Piquet, daughter of three time world F1 champion Nelson and earning $100m a year.
F1 owner Johnny Malone, 82, of Elizabeth, Colorado, didn’t get to be worth $13bn by having boring stuff on his Liberty Media properties. So, he’s thinking about switching drivers around so there’s less duds together and therefore closer racing. Of course, that’s if the other teams can get their bottoms in order and the cars get more even. This is probably not great news for
Danny, who may lose out to a younger up-and-coming driver.
Now talking about Australians in the top level of motorsport, take a bow the Weekend Australian Racing and Rally Team’s (WART) own brown cardigan wearing accountant, Steve Champion, who will be representing this once glorious country in the Radical World Championship at the Portimao GP Circuit near BurroVille, Portugal, which is close to the Oceano Atlantico. Steve will be accompanied by race manager to the stars Garth Walden. Radicals are a pretty cost-effective way to get into serious motorsport. About 20 cars and 20 assorted drivers including women like Sue Hughes and Madeline Stewart and persons like Bing Technologies’ Chris Perini and First Focus IT’s Peter Paddon hop on the grid. The drivers rank from rookies to master/mistresses/others and you can be competitive for about $50k.
Now it’s time for a song of great social and political import. “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Ferrari, my friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends, worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends, so, oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Ferrari.” No, I’m not great on the lyrics but independent investment research house Historic Auto Group, which tracks rare classic cars as an alternative asset class, has just reported that in the only race that counts, the best investment race: “Ferrari generally spikes out on the top side with the onset of strong growth phases, but the net result is that while the drama that surrounds Ferrari attracts attention, Porsche achieves just as much in a less hectic fashion.
“What is more noteworthy is that through the first half of 2023, following a gain of 24.4 per cent in 2022, the HAGI Porsche Index has dropped back just 5.32 per cent. By contrast, the HAGI Ferrari index, which gained 28.64 per cent in 2023, has since declined by 15.32 per cent. The relative steadiness of Porsche is further underlined by its 28.57 per cent three-year performance, compared with Ferrari’s 18.84 per cent.”
Talking of value, much as I hate to pander to temporary Australians, Dave Gooding has three beautiful Italian bikes coming up at Pebble Beach. Non petrol heads think Vespa when they have their middle-class fantasies of escaping to Italy and over seven days journeying through the sweet life of Rome in a fruitless search for love and happiness. But you’re not going to find anything let alone love and happiness on something putting out 3.2kW.
That’s why you’re putting your hand up for one of only 56 1971 MV Agusta 750 Sports for a tad under $280k. You can catch whatever love you like with this 50kW, 200km/h love attractor. For $230k less you’ll have happiness throwing itself at you on the 1957 Parilla 250 Grand Sport. And Dave’s giving away the 1948 Ducati Cucciolo T2 Turismo featuring passenger seat, foot pegs and front headlight. For $15k you’ll be fighting off love and happiness.
And we report on the safest used cars for teens. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (septic land) tells us in bad news, that teen drivers are four times more likely to crash but in good news there’s some used cars that might help, including the 2014-2020 Mazda 3, the 2014 Kia Soul and of course the Toyota Corolla.
Finally, don’t forget to see the WART Beemer running around the streets of the biggest little town in Queensland in the most fun event of the year, the 2023 Historic Leyburn Sprints, on August 19-20. No pens that don’t work or March 2022 copies of the Weekend Australian. Austerity has hit the motoring section.