MPH: How Hamilton's Russian GP weekend went wrong
The 91st Schumacher-equalling victory will just have to wait, as Lewis Hamilton’s Russian weekend cascaded out of his control through an unfortunate series of events, albeit triggered by his own…
The wraps are off one of Formula 1’s worst kept secrets, after Williams Martini Racing was officially launched in London.
The Mercedes-powered Williams FW36 might not have the angular elegance of a Brabham BT44B, but it shares a similar livery – including the familiar pinstripes that have also adorned F1 cars from Lotus and Tecno, Le Mans Porsches, DTM Alfa Romeos, many a rallying Lancia and others besides.
The marketing types insist this is a marriage of like-minded institutions, but that’s a sizeable slice of PR fantasy. Both might be traditional, family-run companies, but there is a considerable gulf between Williams’s no-nonsense work ethic and the frivolous decadence Martini likes to attach to its vermouth.
Martini is already making a fuss about its motorhome’s rooftop terrazza that will, it says, be the place to be seen in F1. It’s hard to imagine anybody in the pit garage giving a hoot, so long as the car is quick – but that’s where the association might just work, as the team regains some of its bygone financial clout.
With 10 days to go before the opening race, there is a genuine sense of momentum around Williams. Felipe Massa set fastest time during the most recent pre-season test in Bahrain, when the FW36 proved to be durable and swift in equal measure. Between them, Massa and team-mate Valtteri Bottas accumulated 439 laps over four days, 88 more than pre-season favourite Mercedes-Benz.
Last summer the Brazilian wasn’t certain he had any kind of F1 future, yet he enters 2014 in what might just be the best car – leastways at the campaign’s dawn.
His infectious chuckle provided the launch’s signature soundtrack.
Click on the images below to view a gallery of Martini Racing’s history:
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