McLaren’s “Tooned” animated series returns

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McLaren may not be having the greatest of seasons on the track, but that hasn’t stopped them from bringing its animated series “Tooned” around for a second run – which began around the recent British Grand Prix with the clip above.

Created in partnership with Framestore Animation, “Tooned” first debuted in 2012 as a series of shorts that aired during Formula One television coverage in the United Kingdom. Last year’s first run focused on Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton getting into mischief and causing all sorts of headaches for the team’s head of engineering, Professor M (voiced by British comedian/actor Alexander Armstrong).

Along the way, key McLaren figures such as Mika Hakkinen and Ron Dennis dropped in, and the final episode of Series One even managed to cleverly write off Hamilton (who was in the process of making his way to Mercedes) and bring in the team’s newest pilot, Mexican rising star Sergio Perez.

But Series Two is giving the self-contained episode style a rest in favor of a continuous arc that focuses on McLaren’s 50th anniversary and its rich motorsports legacy. There’s also been a new character added to the mix – an old mechanic, voiced by Brian Cox (“The Bourne Identity”), who claims to have witnessed the beginning of McLaren’s story with his own eyes.

McLaren has promised to upload each episode of the series onto its YouTube channel shortly after their original airings on UK television.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.