There are the cookie-cutter reviews of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that you can read… and then there is Peter De Lorenzo’s no-holds-barred, unfiltered take you can read over at Autoextremist (in, fittingly, the rants section).
De Lorenzo, an automotive lifer in advertising who founded the blog site in 1999, outlines this year’s Detroit show in the headline as: “a kaleidoscope of the pretty good, the really bad and the just plain ugly.”
Among the areas De Lorenzo critiques in great detail: GM’s elongated half-hour introduction before actually introducing the new Corvette Z06, the Chrysler 200 as a “massive yawn,” the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept as “sheer design lunacy,” and the Korean auto industry altogether, which he called “not ready for prime-time players.”
Motorsports made an appearance in a couple parts of this unvarnished review. De Lorenzo at least gave credit to GM for introducing the racing version of the Z06, the new C7.R, at the same time as the production car. But of the Infiniti/Red Bull Racing tie-in, De Lorenzo was not impressed. At all.
“How about Gimmicky, Misguided and Chock-Full of Clichés? The Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge is such a classic screw-up I don’t even know where to begin. This whole business about Infiniti trying to somehow establish a link between hanging its name on the side of the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 machines and translating it into production cars worth desiring is not going well. At all. There is absolutely nothing about this car that suggests that Infiniti’s considerable financial involvement in the Red Bull Racing F1 team and having World Champion Sebastian Vettel act as technical adviser has been worth the effort, or even capable of yielding even a shred of desirability in the future.”
There is one vehicle he considered a home run: the new aluminum-bodied Ford F150, which De Lorenzo called “a flat-out a game changer and a grand slam home run, pure and simple” that he believes will leave Ford considerably ahead of the pack in 18 months.
You’ll need to take some time to read all the critiques in detail, but this review is roughly the automotive equivalent of the searing smackdown the New York Times’ Pete Wells laid on Guy Fieri’s new restaurant a couple of years ago. In other words, long and memorable.
The aftermath of the Chinese Grand Prix has centered around Red Bull Racing and its two drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
While Ricciardo has garnered praise at every turn for a masterful drive from sixth to first in the second half of the race, Verstappen has again come under criticism for overzealous driving in the wake of contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
A recap of the past news week for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, and the attention both Ricciardo and Verstappen have garnered, is below.
Ricciardo Surfaces as Outside Title Contender After Chinese Grand Prix Win
Prior to the Chinese Grand Prix, few would have labelled Ricciardo as a possible title contender, especially in the wake of a mechanical failure in the opening laps of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
However, Sunday’s victory in China not only provided a number of thrills for onlookers, it also gave Ricciardo a major boost of confidence, and he asserted afterwards that he thinks a championship push is possible.
“I really feel like, I’ve said a few times, just give me the chance to be in a title hunt and I really believe I will take it,” Ricciardo said in a piece posted on Crash.net. “I feel like I can capitalize on opportunities and I guess [China] was a good example even with a fat lip I am still pretty fast and pretty good on a Sunday.”
The victory also comes at an interesting time in Ricciardo’s career, as the 2018 season is the final one in his current contract with the Red Bull team. On the market for a new contract, Ricciardo mentioned that he’s seeking a two-year deal with whichever team he signs with.
“I don’t want to sign anything too long because I don’t know where the sport’s going,” Ricciardo said in an interview with The Times newspaper.
He added, “Ideally, I’d sign a two-year contract. I think two years I can definitely be comfortable with and then see it from there. That third year will be the rule change so I will probably wait and see what happens then.”
Ricciardo also added that whether or not he returns to Red Bull is entirely down to the team’s performance this year.
“I kind of feel like if they want me to race for them they should contact me, but they haven’t,” he said. “If we win this year then I’m staying with Red Bull. It’s pretty simple. It’s really just about performance at the moment.”
Jos Verstappen Offers Constructive Criticism to Max
Max Verstappen has again come under fire for overzealous driving, and not just from rivals this time.
Perhaps most notably, Max’s father Jos Verstappen, a former Formula 1 driver in his own right, offered his thoughts this past weekend, asserting that Max needs to show more patience and a little better judgment in his overtaking moves.
“The overtake on Vettel really wasn’t on. It wasn’t possible. It was an error of judgement. In some circumstances Max just has to think more,” Jos told Ziggo Sport’s Peptalk, referenced in a Crash.net story.
However, Jos also praised his son’s driving style, noting that he hopes that part doesn’t change.
“I don’t want him to change his driving style. He passed two people at the start. He did that perfectly,” he added. “That’s what we all want to see. But we don’t want to see these kinds of actions. He needs to have it under control. He needs to think.”
In addition to receiving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Verstappen also received two penalty points, bringing his total to five. A driver who gets 12 penalty points within a span of 12 months is automatically given a one-race ban.
Rubens Barrichello Recovering from Brain Tumor
Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year after collapsing in the shower.
“Suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my head. It seemed to be exploding, I had to fall on the ground and only after a few minutes I managed to reach my wife Silvana to ask for help. I immediately realized that it was a serious problem,” Barrichello said of the ordeal in an emotional interview.
Barrichello, whose health has appeared to improve in recent weeks, revealed that the recovery process has been nothing short of miraculous.
“I feel like a miracle,” he said. “(The doctors) told me that only 14 percent of the people who suffered this type of problem then managed to recover completely.
“I am still going through exams and so on, but I am honestly great and the difficulties in life are the ones who show us how to grow and how to be better.”