What a way to warm up for the Australian Grand Prix; Jenson Button takes a Mclaren around the Mount Panorama circuit, a place that is enshrined in the canon of the world’s truly great tracks, while 10,000 committed fans look on. Like at the Bathurst 1000 itself, the camera work is cinematic, there are few tracks that look this dramatic on a TV screen.
The 2009 world champ has already sampled a V8 Supercar, but this time both Jenson and Craig Lowndes also got to take a Formula One car around the fabled Bathurst circuit. Lowndes is best known as a touring car champion Down Under, but he’s driven a single seater in the past although his talented F3000 teammate Juan Pablo Montoya’s sublime skills consigned Craig to a lifetime in saloon cars. The Aussie champ took the F1 car in his stride and lapped only a second off Button’s pace, showing the value of experience on this unique piece of tarmac.
This is the perfect way to get excited about the F1 race in Melbourne where practice gets underway shortly. The V8 Supercars will also be doing battle though the fragile Pirelli tyres, crazy KERS and movable wings could allow F1 to deliver more action than the world’s tip-top tin-tops, which is quite a prospect. Expect racing like we saw at the Canadian Grand Prix last year where rubber was wearing out faster than it takes Adrian Newey to wash his hair. That was the most frantic battling of 2011, if Pirelli can recreate that kind of race every week then we won’t be talking about all the buttons on the steering wheel. Drivers, start your engines!