20th March 2012
It’s 1am, Tuesday 20th March at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport and flight MH128 is boarding. 300-plus passengers are bound for Kuala Lumpur, seven or so flying hours distant. Tourists and businessmen alike file on in an orderly fashion, weary after a long day and an hour’s delay.
Many of those settling into their seats – at the back of the plane – are Formula 1 regulars: team members, journalists and photographers. Up front in the VIP cabin are some more notable guests…
You’re no doubt in full agreement that F1 cars in 2012 are mostly an unattractive breed, visually challenging designs that grate at every angle. In a sport chock full of men (and women) who consider themselves aesthetes of the highest order, all appreciative of the finer things in life, the criticism levelled at these wholly ugly cars is fully justified.
It’s not just on track, however, that a certain style is sorely lacking…
Yikes! A large fire-breathing multi–coloured Chinese–style dragon is roaring at me as I turn in to Business Class. Thrashing and clawing its way across the back of some hapless chap who’s about to sit down. Hang on a second, I know those sloping shoulders and that familiar profile – it’s the seven-time F1 World Champion Michael Schumacher, no less.
Mercedes’ senior F1 driver has never been one to set the fashion world alight but I’m guessing this abomination must be a treasured gift. Must be.
Only lightly singed from my fiery close encounter I shuffle on. Already getting comfortable are the Toro Rosso boys, and what a contrasting couple they make.
Seemingly deep and thoughtful Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne is all skinny jeans, cool hoodies and on-brand plimsolls. Very ‘now’ indeed and a look he carries well.
Bouncing up and down like a Labrador puppy on Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo is a different animal entirely. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see such enthusiasm, but the scruffy look and Starter cap is not so cred. BMX bike safely stowed below, this young, dumb and full of you-know-what Australian really does need to stop repeating his favourite 2012 line “Get me chicks”.
“Get me chicks?” Not cool, whoever is shoutin’ it!
Taking the dishevelled look to new depths is Sauber’s youngster Sergio Perez. Come 2013 the Mexican really shouldn’t borrow hanging loose ‘n’ low barely fitting jeans , a frayed Casey Jones-style cap and a flea market trackie top from the down ‘n’ outs in Melbourne’s seaside suburb St Kilda!
Across the aisle, all broody and serious, is Spaniard Fernando Alonso. F1’s coolest cat is not in such a great place right now; the made-of-Lego-bricks Ferrari F2012 is surely giving Alonso plenty of sleepless nights, and not just because of its hideous shape. If it were quick who’d care what it looked like?!
With such troubling things on his mind we can perhaps forgive Fernando for his own ‘design’ faux pas. Just what is that ‘conversation piece’ sprouting from below his bottom lip? Good news is that (unlike his not–so–thoroughbred car’s multitude of problems) this mistake is easily rectified.
Both on and off the track, F1 2012 is facing some serious style questions that need to be addressed, quick smart!
Please now take a few minutes to enjoy my pictures from the 2012 Australian Grand Prix by clicking here.
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