Good Oil: Driver puts blame on Honda engine
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Well, this isn’t the report card Formula One engine supplier Honda wanted before the 2017 season has even properly started. It also probably didn’t want such comments to come from the mouth of one of the key drivers using its hardware.
But after what has been described as a “difficult” pre-season testing regime, McLaren-Honda F1 ace Fernando Alonso (pictured) has commented that the McLaren team’s “one problem” is its Honda engine. Ouch.
A bit like a leftover script from last year and the year before that, McLaren was plagued with engine issues during its pre-season test period. While other teams raced around the Barcelona circuit bedding in new technology and practising various heat-of-battle scenarios, McLaren sat on the sidelines like the wheezy kid with a note from his mum.
A frustrated Alonso left no doubt about where the blame lies, saying “There is no reliability and there is no power. We are 30km/h down on the straight.
“I’m driving at my best. I just need an engine that can run as quick as the others on the straight. The team are all ready to win, except Honda.”
Crikey, Fernando; no sponsor-supplied NSX sports coupe for you, then.
Not that it sounds like the Spanish driver would particularly want one; he’ll probably stick with a McLaren road car instead.
Still, you can’t blame the guy for being outspoken; he has spent years with an underperforming team.
Formula One pundits routinely say that Alonso, on a pure talent basis, remains one of the best drivers on the grid.
It’s such a shame he appears to have a donkey for a race car again this season, before the first chequered flag has even fallen.
Jackman as Ferrari? Yeah, nah
Hugh Jackman. Photo / Supplied
The fact that the long-delayed Enzo Ferrari biopic looks to be gaining momentum for a 2018 shoot schedule is great news for petrolheads. The fact that Heat and Ali director Michael Mann is still attached to helm it is even better news.
However, the fact that Aussie hunkatron Hugh Jackman has been announced to play the sports car svengali is well, a bit confusing. When one thinks of Ferrari the man, one tends to imagine a portly, not-unstylish older gent in a dark suit and Sicilian-grade sunglasses.
Of course, Enzo was young once. But images of him as an ambitious racer astride Alfa Romeos, well before he had plans to build a manufacturing empire, show him to have wide-set features and an aquiline nose.
He looks Italian. Jackman does not.
Mind you, after years spent in perma-training for his recurring role as the muscle-bound Wolverine, Jackman will probably be looking for an excuse to eat a cheeseburger or two in preparation for the Ferrari role.
It’s not a pre-production regime to be taken lightly: Christian Bale has already done just that; baling on the role in 2015 after voicing concerns over how much weight he’d have to put on to play Enzo.
And if you’re thinking “Wasn’t Robert De Niro supposed to be playing Enzo Ferrari?”; that’s a different production — an Olympus Has Fallen to the Michael Mann film’s White House Down, if you will.
Currently there isn’t any news available on whether the rival Ferrari biopic is still on the cards.
Land Rover’s Project Hero is go
Land Rover Drone. Photo / Supplied
There is a certain “International Rescue” element to this bespoke Land Rover Discovery that Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) has created for the Austrian Red Cross.
It looks like something straight out of the mind of Thunderbirds’s creator Gerry Anderson.
SVO is an engineering division within Jaguar Land Rover, usually focused more on horsepower than hospitals (the SVO team’s most recent creation was a more powerful show-off specification Range Rover Sport). But as with other SVO creations, this Discovery features plenty of surprise details under the skin.
It is known as Project Hero and Land Rover refers to the off-roader as an “advanced communication vehicle”.
Based on the new Discovery 5, the vehicle features a roof-mounted drone, which can land on a fully integrated pad featuring self-centring and magnetic retention technology.
Yes, that’s right; the drone can land on the Discovery even when the vehicle is driving up a mountain at speed.
When the drone is airborne, live footage can be transmitted to Red Cross emergency response teams to help them react more quickly to disasters like landslides, earthquakes or floods.
Additionally, the Disco features reinforced work platforms inside, bright LED lights to help the driver see in hazy conditions and multi-channel communications devices.
All that appears to be missing are the holes in the roof above the driver and passenger seats through which to thread strings attached to Scott and Virgil Tracy.