I’m a sad obsessive Formula One fan. I’ve watched every race for the past 15 years or so and follow F1 news daily. Sport is an irrational arbitrary indulgence – why someone likes one sport and not another is a matter of personal taste that cannot be quantified or easily explained.
Here is an image of the first 3 finishers of the British F1 Grand Prix held last Sunday. The winner, Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, is in red in the middle. He is surrounded by McLaren-Mercedes’ Fernando Alonso, 2nd place, left of picture, and Alonso’s teammate Lewis Hamilton, who came 3rd, right of picture.
The crucial difference between Alonso and Hamilton is that the former is wearing his race overalls, whereas the latter is wearing a faux race suit jacket for the press conference. The jacket is clean, obviously, but the arms are also made stiffer so that the sponsor logos face the camera better.
This has been widely noted and commented on:
McLaren have for the last couple of years handed their drivers clean jackets to put on over their dirty race overalls with all their team sponsors logo’s turned out for all to see, for the press conference after qualifying and the race. So why does Alonso never put a clean jacket on for the press conference?
Is this a show of defiance by Alonso, so that other teams can see he is unhappy at McLaren and hoping that another team will offer him a contract? Or sour grapes?
I think Fernando was annoyed that he had been beaten by Lewis and just thought ?sod it?. Alonso gets very keyed up in the car during a race, which leads to an inevitable down if he hasn?t won when it is all over.
He?s usually ok by the end of the day, but being made to wear the special interview jackets with their flattened sleeves that point towards the camera probably wasn?t high on his list of priorities after the race.
McLaren won?t have liked Fernando choosing not to wear it. I?m sure he thinks it?s silly, and most people in the paddock would agree with him, but McLaren Marketing take that kind of thing very seriously.
This is one example of the perfectionism inherent in F1 that I love. I suppose if you spend approximately $500 million a year, as the top teams do, you should look nice on television.
Hamilton puts on his Sunday best but Alsono is a naughty boy and goes out in public in his work overalls.