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GP Week : Issue 72
GPWEEK OPINION >> final two years of hellish tree-hugging hippie crap. Without the backing of Mercedes, there was every reason to believe that Brawn would not have been able to continue spending for much longer. Mercedes' apparent deal with Nico Rosberg makes a lot of sense. He's a good racer and a PR dream. He can speak more languages than any other driver in F1, he's good looking, says the right things and most importantly for Mercedes races on a German license. He's everything Mercedes wants and needs. If the company has any sense, they'll move heaven and earth to get Timo Glock alongside him. (as per pic top right). Otherwise we'll probably see Heidfeld get a reprieve, and although he's by no means slow, he's not exactly one of the leading lights for the future. Which all but leaves Button at McLaren. It's the perfect opportunity for Jenson, it really is. His stock may never be this high again. He is the world champion, and if Brawn or Mercedes aren't willing to pay him what he's worth, why not go somewhere that will? Button's demands will be far lower than Raikkonen's, he'll be easier to work with and the PR of two world champions, both of them English, at a quintessentially English team makes good press. It's also a chance for Jenson, and Lewis for that matter, to show that they're not afraid to race anyone. A chance to man up and put their credentials on the line. Both men got their first taste of F1 in a McLaren, so the history is there. Why not bring it full circle? Jenson has been surrounded by the cotton-wool of the BAR/Honda/Brawn world for long enough and there may never be a better time for Jenson Button to get himself out of a team at which he had, until this season, appeared to have been stagnating. As the world champion, his is the upper hand and this time is his in which to shine. I hope, beyond hope, that Jenson moves to McLaren to partner Lewis. Sure it'd give us all some great stories, but more than anything it will give us all a chance to see just how good both drivers really are. ter in racing ... yardstick, closely aligned to the equally revolutionary four- stroke MotoGP class: 600cc four-strokes. A valid choice, in that 600s are the standard "lightweight" (!) sports bike. Modernity brings a far greater heresy. Acknowledging the expense of developing four- strokes for racing, Moto2 uses a single control Honda engine, supplied by the organisers. On control tyres. Some see this as a step too far for a World Championship. It is certainly a radical change in the philosophy of grand prix racing. The new generation showed itself to the paddock for the first time in the two-and-a-half days of testing after Valencia. A handful of Moto2 riders added a new and piercing treble shriek to the air, making the MotoGP bikes running round with them sound gruffly authoritative and even melodious. And? Well, aside from the irritating noise ... they were pretty slow. Best of them was ex-MotoGP race winner Toni Elias. But his lap time was a yawning 2.1 seconds slower than the best-ever 250 time. Not a strictly fair comparison, perhaps. Conditions were different, while both bikes and tyres are at the very beginning of development. Similar bikes have beaten 250 times at other Spanish tracks: the control- engine control-tyre versions will improve. Rather worrying, all the same. Another underwhelming debut. Luckily, and I have this on very high authority, neither lap times nor speed matter in racing. Have a nice off-season. over! Speed doesn't matter? Explain that to these guys ... 23