Clip The Apex
A test day, Christmas and a month separate rounds three and four of the Formula E Championship, and it is moving from Punta del Este up the River Plate to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. And it is another coastal event out to the east of the city, at Puerto Madero.
Initial impressions would suggest that the circuit looks closer to Albert Park than the Sochi-lite in Beijing and the other two Singapore-esque circuits. The pit lane is in a funky layout, which should be irrelevant should the drivers respect the minimum time (Nick).
The championship sees a comfortable lead for the man who has appeared on all Formula E podiums, Lucas di Grassi, over the SBs - Sam Bird and Seb Buemi. Di Grassi's Abt has been by far more consistent than his team-mate's version, with Mr. Abt Jr. scoring only two 10th place finishes in the first two, beset by penalties and problems.
So it's time for my annual character assassination of the good, the bad and the ugly of F1 in 2014.
I'm sure one or two of you might have noticed that the season was dominated by one car but, better than 2013, two drivers. In the end Lewis Hamilton came out as the Champion and declared it his "Greatest Championship Ever" whilst Nico Rosberg went back to whichever country he claims to be from this week to cry into his beer. It must be a bit galling for the boy as he won 4 more races than his dad did in his championship year and was still runner up.
We had the delights of the new turdo engines. It was strange hearing them in real life as they were quieter than the GP3 cars and GP2 sounded more like F1 should but you can't halt progress can you (?). We also had what must be some of the ugliest cars to grace F1 cars since the 1970's. Both Ferrari and Mercedes created vacuum cleaner attachments whilst the rest of the grid just bolted a dildo on to the front to make it long enough. I say the rest, Lotus decided to pursue a "radical" route, so radical it was crap, and Red Bull produced probably the best looking car and then bolted probably the worst engine into the back of it.
So let's take a look at Red Bull. A new, shining star was born in Daniel Ricciardo, who was there to pick up the pieces when the Mercedes fell over. Meanwhile his 4 times Champion team mate took to the new formula like a 3 year old on his first bike ride without stabilisers. Oh how the mighty are fallen, we didn't have a single finger celebration for you bunch of ugly mugs to moan about and Seb got so upset he left to go to Ferrari at the end of the year.
So the line up has finally been confirmed! McLaren's 2015 line up will be made of the 2 former World Champions.
This is not the first time the drivers have been in the same team but it will be the 1st time they have competed against each other in equal machinery. Both drivers have reputations for a smooth style of driving so the car should suit both drivers if they can get the set-up right, luckily for McLaren both drivers also know what it takes to develop a championship winning car, Alonso with Renault & Button with Honda which evolved into the all conquering Brawn GP.
The big question is who will come out on top at McLaren?
The stats speak for themselves:
Both drivers started in lower teams as well as spending long periods of time in uncompetitive machinery, you could argue that Button had the worst end of the deal whilst in the Honda Earth Dreams period but Alonso built his reputation on putting cars further up the grid than they should be.
Still Alonso's performance was consistently twice as good as Button's has been over the same period. If the 2015 McLaren is competitive then I expect Alonso to come out on top but then again we said the same about Hamilton when he was paired alongside Button for three seasons at McLaren.
It's going to be a very interesting period whatever happens!