Monday, September 10, 2007

McLaren Dynasty?

Ok, so I’ve spent a lot of time downplaying the brilliance of the young Mr. Hamilton. And believe me, I thoroughly enjoy him kicking Fernando’s tail feathers… I guess I just don’t enjoy the overabundance of accolades being exuberated upon the rookie sensation by the overly biased UK press.

As there have been previous drivers to also dazzle us with their brilliance, yet ultimately disappoint as the names of Villenueve, Montoya and Ralfanso come to mind.

And much has been made of the impending firestorm surrounding the current Beastie Boyzs of McLaren. With comparisons being made to the Woking based squads previous super duo. As you may recall the names Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna…

This pairing was the superteam to end all superteams. With the pair ultimately winning seven World Championships while racking up 92 victories. Thus eclipsing Williams vaunted duo of Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet. Whom claimed four World Championships and 54 victories. This domination of the Grand Prix world makes me call them The Four Horsemen. As it was a rare sight for anyone else to claim victory during their reign.

In fact it wasn’t until Senna’s death that a new player arrived, taking over the Brazilian’s seat at the head of the table. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? His name is Michael Schumacher. And as most know, the German Wunderkind went onto obliterate ALL of the Formula 1 records…

In 1988 McLaren almost did the unthinkable. Winning every race on the calendar as the “Ronster’s Honda turbo powered racers won 15 of 16 events that season. Only missing out at Monza, when Senna tripped over back marker Jean Louis Schlesser. Which in retrospect, it seems appropriate that Gerhard Berger would lead a Ferrari 1-2 at the Scuderia’s home track upon the passing of Enzo Ferrari…

It seems apparent that Ron Dennis should know by now the effects of placing two bonafied Number “One’s” as teammates. Since Williams saw countless infighting between “Il Lione” and Piquet, prior to the Prost-Senna love fest. Which was precluded by Prost’s partnering Keke Rosberg.

Also the Scuderia saw their combination of Prost and Mansell fizzle. As bloody ‘ol Nige jumped series to escape being the Professor’s teammate at Williams in 1993. Coming to America to race in CART. While Prost himself retired upon the signing of Senna to Williams for 1994.

Yet one could argue that Lewis Hamilton’s performance could not have truly been expected in his Freshman season. As I’m sure that Ferdi thought he’d make mincemeat of the upstart. As typically it seems that winning World Championship teams need one premiere driver coupled with a solid Number Two. As in either McLaren’s pairing of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Or Michael Schumacher’s revolving cast of teammates…

So will Louise become the very first driver in Grand Prix history to win the championship in his debut season? Or will Ferdi win his third successive title and then vault to Renault? Or will the highjinx of this intra-squad rivalry die down and see the two drivers continue to race side by side. With Alonso seeking redemption next season before leaving the team? Only time will tell…f

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