Claire Williams, daughter of Sir Frank, and the Deputy Team Principal of Williams Martini Racing was just awarded the coveted title of: Best Deputy Team Principal of all time, ever! And the reason is simple. Through her leadership, one of the most storied F1 teams in history is as competitive now as it was in the days of Juan Pablo Montoya. What’s more, she led a turn around of the team in short order. Only last year Williams finished a shameful 9th in the contractors championship with only 5 points. Now, with only three races complete they’ve collected 30 points, sit in 6th in the championship, and have momentum on their side to catch 5th place Ferrari.
That is impressive as hell!
Just last week we wrote about intra-team politics that caused the drivers consternation. Boo. But that was quickly handled, issue settled. Then less than a week later both drivers made it to Q3, 3rd and 7th respectively, and then went on to finish 7th and 8th for another fantastic result. Clearly many people deserve credit for this, but it’s undeniable that a fresh face, with fresh ideas has proved revelatory.
And here’s the best bit. I like Williams. Jim likes Williams. Everyone, just about, likes Williams. They’re a plucky never-give-up team that always finds a way to preserver. Ever since BMW left Williams, they struggled as a privateer team with no manufacturer backing. But now, with new rules and an even more complicated power train, they thrive. I love it. And I wanted to take a moment to recognize the brilliant mind behind it.
The Best Deputy Team Principal in the freakin Galaxy, Claire Williams.
Massa v. Bottas. Team Strategy v. Honor. Who wins? Who was right?
Felipe Massa did the right thing by disobeying his team. With less than ten laps to go Williams told Massa to get out of the way of teammate Vatteri Bottas because Bottas ran on fresher tires, lapped faster, and caught him. Fair enough. Furthermore, both Williams drivers caught the lead McLaren of Jenson Button, and Massa couldn’t find a way around. Williams figured give Bottas a chance.
Simple. Logical. Why not try it?
Well…Maybe Bottas could close on Button, execute a pass, and score more points for Williams. But if that’s the case, why not prove it by letting Bottas execute a pass on Massa and then go on to attack Button. In other words, no team orders. Let them race! Let the drivers make their own decisions and deal with the consequences. Williams decided not to do that. Instead they tightened the leash on Massa. Massa decided leashes are stupid and ignored them.
They raced, Massa came out on top. Williams saw both drivers finish in the points; a great result. So in my view: no harm, job done. But many folks lamented that Massa ignored his team and made a mistake. I disagree. Massa did the right thing for himself and showed the team his tenacity as a driver and how sensitive he is to any kind of team orders. Williams knew this when they signed him and hence should have known better.
Massa earned all the points he deserved, and accomplished something much more important. He showed Williams not to presume acquiescence from their lead driver. He showed Bottas to never think radioing the team will move him out of the way. Most importantly, Massa showed the F1 world his number two-driver status is truly dead and buried. For that I applaud him.
After all what is ideal? Eleven teams racing for the win, with one driver submissive to the other? Or twenty-two independent drivers all fighting to maximize their own results? Put it another way, I like racing. So, for goodness sake, kill the team orders and let them race.
The new Camaro Z/28 is outlandish and crazy. I mean this thing shouldn’t exist. The tires require warm, dry weather; the front splitter will scrap on any driveway; and the suspension will shake teeth out on a bumpy road. It’s a silly, single-purpose machine for hooligan nonsense.
In other words, it’s fantastic. I was one of a lucky few to try it out, including some time at Barber Motorsports Park. Below is my review for roadandtrack.com.
Read here on roadandtrack.com/Z28
As the 2014 Formula 1 pre-season tension continues to build, Jim and I took a break from the headlines to watch a couple movies. What did we watch? Why Formula 1 movies, of course. And, since Jim and I tend to agree on nearly nothing (ice cream is better!) we decided to argue with each other about which movie is better and share our debate with the world. First we watched the feature film Rush, dramatizing the 1976 season and the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. Then we saw the documentary simply titled 1 that covers a wide span of F1 history; focused mainly on the evolution of safety between the deaths of Jim Clark and Aryton Senna. So what did we think?
Really, we picked a great combination of movies to while away a Saturday. We liked them both! Of course I prefer one and Jim the other. And, duh, I’m right. If you happened to miss either of these we have links to them below.
I love the Detroit Auto Show. Less than 40 miles from home, all the major manufacturers come and showcase their latest and greatest. Having the honor and privilege to see the sites during the media days, I wanted to share a few of my favorites.
But first, notable highlights. I wrote about two cars on roadandtrack.com
The Cadillac ATS Coupe: here
And the Lexus RC F: here
Okay, On to the main event.
This isn’t brand new. But for the first time I laid eyes on a production car. What you see here is what will rocket past you, maybe silently, on the road. The big news is the hybrid powertrain that combines to make 887 HP! For me, the single best feature is the high mounted exhaust “tailpipes” of the 4.6-Liter, 608 HP V8, how cool is that?
Look at it. Stare. Let it memorize you. Take in the euphoria. It is the prettiest car here. How does it drive? The F-type roadsters are a touch soft for my tastes, but plan on a harder edge for the coupe. Besides, who cares? It’s stunning!
Acura partnered with RealTime Racing to compete in the Touring class of World Challenge racing before, so it’s no surprise that they aligned again to test the mettle of another sedan. What’s new this time is that the TLX GT goes against Porsche, Ferrari, and Corvette in the GT class! A twin-turbo V6 powers this Accord based monster and I, for one, cannot wait to see it in action.
625 HP. Awesome!
Cadillac continues to transform itself into a proper luxury brand. It’s exiting to witness. The ATS out handles the latest 3-series and the 2014 CTS really turns heads. The Elmiraj concept highlights their evolving design language and I like it. No. I love it! Its fantastic lines, aggressive profile, and impressive size all communicate one simple message: Out of my way, I’m a Cadillac!
For all the coolest insights and coverage of the NAIAS head to roadandtrack.com
Two electrically-driven derivatives of US small-car champs pick a fight and drag race.
We like trucks. They entertain and work. And nowadays they provide comfort while getting the work done. Truly remarkable. Recently, I used a Toyota Tundra to tow my boat in to its winter storage resting place. Then I wrote about it.
Check it out here
And, I took pictures!
The most recent BMWs have gone adrift of the companies beloved core values: quick, connected, and communicative machinery. But the M3 remained a hold out, due largely to its last generation chassis architecture. As a last hurrah, BMW built the Lime Rock Park Edition M3. A brilliant, more hard edged M3 that really hustles. I genuinely love the thing.
When push comes to shove, I prefer my more raw and passionate E46 M3, but you cannot deny the clinical goodness of the LRP car. And the engine, oh the engine!
Read here on roadandtrack.com
My Personal M3
This is fun. Fantastic V12 racy raucous raspy revving revolutions! I seriously love this one.
Few companies in the world command stature like Aston Martin. The name conjures up images of grace, power, and elegance. The Rapide S, their four-door, is shockingly beautiful. This is a sedan! Take your kids to school, go to the market, carry luggage, and stop traffic. Name another sedan that manages that?
Do faster cars exist, definitely. In fact, from a data driven mindset, this car doesn’t keep up. Look further however and incredible intangibles appear.
This car makes my heart sing. What else matters?