Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Favourite F1 cars

I thought about doing this for a while and now I've decided to because why not, everyone likes a list of favourite things. This is based around F1 cars obviously. There may be a case of bias here as someone who has a favourite team, McLaren if you didn't know. However, you can appreciate cars from other teams. These cars are not necessarily championship-winning cars, they don't have to be.

Without further ado, in no particular order...

BrawnGP BGP 001

Well what can you say, you could make a movie about the story of BrawnGP, the team who rose from the ashes of Honda (rather ironic given recent events with Mercedes and McLaren) and almost never made it to the grid but went on to win both championships in its first and only season. The car itself was fabulous, it had an air of nostalgia about it with the minimal livery. It was fast too, with the shoehorned Mercedes-Benz engine in it, the BrawnGP 001 won seven out of the first nine races with Jenson Button behind the wheel, who became F1 Driver's Champion that year and also won the Constructor's Championship with teammate Rubens Barrichello. 

Interesting fact: Jenson Button himself owns the car, only three were made and Rubens used the spare one, as it was in his contract that he would get it if he became champion. There was a bit of an argument between Jenson and team buyers Mercedes, who said that he couldn't have it because he visited McLaren whilst still under contract. Jenson disputed this and in the end got the car. It was the oldest car on the grid when Jenson became champion.

McLaren MP4/13

The 1998 McLaren MP4/13 was a stunning car. In West colours and driven by Finland's Mika Hakkinen and Scottish chin master David Coulthard, the MP4/13 won both Championships with Mika winning his first World Championship, seeing off Ferrari and Michael Schumacher in the process. This was McLaren's first Constructor's Championship since 1991. The MP4/13 also holds the record at the Goodwood hillclimb. In 1999, Nick Heidfeld set the record at 41.6 seconds.

Lotus Type 72

The Lotus Type 72 is from an era when cars were carried over from one season to the next. The Type 72 was designed by Lotus founder Colin Chapman and powered by a Cosworth engine. In 1970 season, the Type 72 was introduced and helped Austrian Jochen Rindt lead the championship. However, during the Italian GP at Monza, Rindt was killed in a crash during qualifying. Emerson Fittipaldi was brought in and helped Lotus secure the Constuctor's Championship, and also Rindt the Driver's Championship, the first posthumous World Champion. In '71 the car struggled but in '72, with the now-iconic black and gold John Player Special livery, Fittipaldi won his first World Championship. 1973 saw more race wins and another Constructor's title, but retirements saw Fittipaldi lose his crown to Jackie Stewart before leaving for McLaren.

Williams FW25

The Williams BMW partnership was a strong one, and in 2003, was competing for the title. It didn't win, nothing could stop the all-conquering Ferrari team. The FW25 won four races with Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. Marc Gene replaced Ralf at the Italian Grand Prix after being involved in a testing accident. The reason why I like this car is that Williams were at their best for some time and with BMW were the strongest challengers to Ferrari for a short time, along with McLaren-Mercedes. The FW25 got Williams to second in the Constructor's Championship in 2003.

McLaren MP4/6

1991 saw Ayrton Senna win his third and final Driver's Championship in the Honda-powered McLaren MP4/6. Senna won the first four races including his home race in Brazil before Nigel Mansell and Williams hit top form. Senna and McLaren held on to win both titles and was the last time McLaren and Honda won together, at least before they re-unite in 2015. Senna is one of the greats and it's easy to say that it was he and not the car that won but F1 is a team effort, McLaren and Honda worked hard to halt the Williams.

Williams FW14B

Speaking of which, Williams lost out to McLaren in '91 but a year later, broke the Woking-based team's dominance on F1, with mustache extraordinaire Nigel Mansell winning the Championship in some fashion. The Williams-Renault FW14B was so dominant that it was often two seconds a lap faster than the next car. Adrian Newey designed a truly remarkable car, so much so, that the FW15 was available but was never used. In total, the FW14 won 17 races in 32 and Mansell wrapped up the title in '92 by winning nine races out of 16.

This next car is probably my favourite F1 car ever...

McLaren MP4-20

2005 saw a close Championship between two teams, McLaren and Renault. Kimi Raikkonen was up against Fernando Alonso for the Driver's Championship  The McLaren MP4-20 was faster than the Renault R25 but the Mercedes-Benz engine was unreliable and cost McLaren both titles. The reason why I love this car so much was when not blowing up, Kimi was able to pull off some incredible displays, getting pole at Monza with a full tank of fuel before getting a 10 place grid drop because he changed his engine. Then there was Suzuka, where after qualifying 17th, stormed through the field to win the race. The MP4-20 is also notable for achieving the highest speed ever recorded for an F1 car during a race. At Monza, race winner Juan Pablo Montoya hit over 231mph when he won the race. The MP4-20 is a car that deserves to be remembered as a great F1 car.

And yes, the MP4-20 is the car in the blog background.

I think that's the list, there could be more but these are the top ones for me. I noticed there are no Ferrari's on the list. That's mostly because of the dominant Schumacher era which was a dull, red blur.

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