I’ve always made certain associations with various Formula 1 teams. Aside from their obvious statistics, that is. When I think of Ferrari, the image that comes to mind is instantly one of a group of scarlet-clad mechanics celebrating with gusto a hard fought race victory. Think of Red Bull Racing, and a whole bunch of disconnected images float around - Team Principal Christian Horner celebrating the team’s first podium by jumping into the pool at Monaco nude in 2006 (well, nearly - he swathed himself in a Superman cape), Mark Webber flinging himself into the pool at Monaco with a wild grin on his face after he took his first career victory there in 2010, and Sebastian Vettel wandering around with a fake moustache plastered onto his face at Abu Dhabi in 2011. When the erstwhile Jordan team comes to mind, I think at once of Eddie Jordan looking tired, but rather merry at the same time, as he would bustle through the Formula 1 paddock, while Minardi, with Paul Stoddart at the helm, always looked rather exhausted and defeated. Yes, even before the race began.
Somehow, the thought of the McLaren team always scared me a little. Ron Dennis has always seemed rather like a school principal, staring grimly around the pitlane, looking like he’d ask the mechanics to hold out their hands and give them a caning for a pitstop gone awry. Then came images of the McLaren Technology Centre at Woking - so state of the art, stark and white. The sort of place where you daren’t touch anything for fear of leaving fingerprints and where you’d better make sure you wipe every speck of dust off your shoes before passing through those hallowed doors.
It seems, however, that McLaren has caught onto precisely that sentiment and decided to dispel any myths people have about their sense of humour, or rather lack thereof. Sure, I’d heard that McLaren was coming up with some animated videos that would be voiced by drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, but when the first video was aired, coinciding with the British GP, I somehow didn’t get around to watching it. I’m afraid my weekly dose of F1 humour is restricted to Jim Bamber’s (he’s a legend, he is) comic strips in Autosport. Then, came Mumbai rains, and with it, the lack of willingness to move outdoors. So when a fellow motorsport buff began posting McLaren’s Tooned videos on Facebook, I finally decided to hit play. And then, what I saw, made me view the team in a whole different light. McLaren, it would appear, has a sense of humour, which like their Formula 1 cars is rather well developed. Enter Lewis complete with pencil beard, Jenson with dishevelled hair and grim Professor M (looks like Dennis, too, he does). The videos both throw light on and make light of Formula 1 in equal measure. And Jense and Hammy are depicted as having a healthy team-mate rivalry. From poking fun at the artificial methods of infusing excitement into F1, to taking digs at the team’s former drivers, it’s all done simply beautifully. Serious as hell on track, funny off track. Well, it seems to be working for the men from Woking.
These videos are a must watch, if you haven’t already seen them: