All the thrills-’n’-spills attention from last weekend’s Australian Formula 1 round was centred on Fernando Alonso’s worryingly catastrophic airborne exit on the 17th lap of the race.
But elsewhere during the season opener, perennial mid-fielder Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari SF16-H race car started to melt and, once again, we were reminded just how unflappably cool — and Finnish — the ‘‘Ice Man’’ really is.
Midway through the race Raikkonen radioed to his team that there was an issue with the car; by the time he pulled into pit lane fire was coming out of the air box above his helmeted head.
As a fire-extinguisher-wielding mechanic sprayed foam into the aperture, Raikkonen casually eased himself up out of the cockpit with typical nonchalance; barely bothering to look back at the car as he left the spanner spinners to sort the chaos in his wake.
After exiting his slightly-on-fire race car with all the urgency of someone looking for a ticket machine in a parking building, Formula 1’s best unintentional comedian is seen on race footage stalking through the Scuderia Ferrari pit garage, shaking his head in apparent disgust as other team members apparently do their best to get out of his path.
No doubt he was on his way to retrieve an ice-cream from the team chest freezer before immediately boarding a plane bound for a tequila party on a Balinese beach.
And The Good Oil wouldn’t have Kimi any other way.
On track to become cool
Picture / Supplied
Finally, someone has managed to make the Nissan Murano cool. All it took was fitting oversized snowmobile-style quad tracks to it. Why didn’t we think of that?
Actually Nissan USA got there first, spending the North American winter showing off three of its US market models — the Pathfinder, Murano and Rogue — on snow tracks. The Good Oil hasn’t really been able to pinpoint why — something to do with promoting all-wheel drive technology perhaps? — but when they look as mean as this machine, we can forgive the message being lost somewhere in the delivery. Fitted with Dominator Track Systems manufactured by American Track Truck Inc, the three cars are what Nissan calls its Winter Warriors, and if you keep an eye on the Jay Leno’s Garage television show, he will be featuring the tracked trio in an upcoming episode. Meanwhile, if you happen to live on a Central Otago sheep station as winter approaches, we’re not sure the local distributor will be able to help you into a Nissan Murano Warrior of your own.
But if you can get your hands on quad tracks, then there’s nothing stopping you using the same engineering to get that old Patrol up and running on the New Zealand snow in exactly the same manner. And we look forward to seeing the results.
Crumpy’s Hilux surfaces on Trade Me
Before they all had a brain fade in a marketing planning meeting and decided an advertisement showing soon-to-be-deceased animals extolling the virtues of the new Hilux ute would be a good idea, Toyota New Zealand used to make great 30-second ad spots.
There’s “Bugger” of course; no less controversial than the dead animals campaign when launched in 1999, but it went on to become a classic. In the 1980s was series of memorable advertisements featuring Barry Crump and TV presenter Lloyd “Scotty” Scott.
It was pretty simple stuff; Crump’s Good Keen Man persona taking the townie Scott on a wild ride through the back blocks in the latest Hilux ute.
Now you can buy the yellow Hilux ute that featured in the second ad in the series from 1984; the one which begins with Scotty mistakenly believing a flash race suit and helmet will save him from Crumpy’s spirited driving antics.
The seller suggests the Hilux — which has 121,000km recorded on the clock — is “in original untouched condition, showing its age and patina with significant rust around A-pillars. The chassis and running gear [are] in excellent condition and it has been serviced and restored, which included all new brakes, drums, discs, suspension, joints, swivel hubs rebuilt, radiator, and clutch.”
Careful study of the advertisement shows the ute boasts the same numberplate — LH1815 — as the truck Crumpy throws down numerous bush tracks while Scotty holds on for dear life.
Interested? Search TradeMe for auction number 1055023888 — although with its place in Kiwi advertising history assured, the seller is asking a bit more than what your average clapped-out 30-year old Hilux might fetch.
Jean Todt moved from Peugeot Motorsport to Scuderia Ferrari.
10 POLE POSITIONS
in 1974 for Scuderia Ferrari drivers Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni.