Automotive New Year's Resolutions
I don't need resolutions, I'm perfect. This lot though? Hmmmm
2020 has seen some absolute stinkers in the world of cars, and there are a lot of companies and teams that really must do better. So join me as I write out some resolutions for other people.
Ferrari - Specifically Scuderia Ferrari
2020 was a shocker for Ferrari in Formula One. Outscored by Renault, Racing Point and McLaren with only three podiums under their belt. Their worst result since 1980 where they finished tenth. A place that saw them finish behind McLaren and Renault. Oddly enough they were beaten by Renault twice in this season. Once by the works team, and also by Lotus-Ford, a team that would go on to become Lotus and then just end up becoming part of Renault. This is probably also one of the earliest examples of Mercedes beating Ferrari too. If you use the logic that in 1980 Ferrari lost out to Tyrell-Ford by four points. A team who'd go on to become Mercedes, via BAR, Honda, Brawn and then finally the Silver Arrows.
The 1980 Ferrari 312 T5 dated and outperformed by the FW07 run by Williams.
So a bit of a shocking season for one of the most highly lauded names in F1. A season peppered with brake failures, recalcitrant aero, an abject lack of power, leadership that makes a despotic dictator seem benevolent and cohesive. There's no sole reason behind their dire season, but a lot of it points to them resting on their laurels.
It wasn't until late in the 2019 season that they were finally called out for their fuel flow dodging and lost all their power. Something that had been the redeeming feature of what was a bit of a mutt of a car. Now with very little time to remedy this for 2020, the team seems to have struggled to put together an aero package that can compensate for their lack of grunt. The finished product was a bit of a shambles and with an upset development program courtesy of COVID-19, the team couldn't adequately prep between winter testing and what should have been the first race of the season.
Photos taken moments before disaster. Not a good home race at all.
Now add a large splash of mismanagement from the top, a lot of which is aimed at Mattia Binotto. The poor handling of Seb's contract and his treatment in his final season for Scuderia have been shocking, to say the least. The guy must be looking forward to racing for Aston Martin for 2021. At points, it did look like Ferrari had forgotten about the guy.
Low budget memes to make my case.
So for 2021 Ferrari are one of my contenders for 'Must Do Better'. They need to work on their team management. Looking at how they structure the team, potentially it is too top-heavy; with too much management, not enough boots on the ground.
They need to work on engine development, clearly. Being the worst-performing engine provider on the grid is not a title anyone wants, and with a badge like Ferrari's, you'd expect it go at least go like a stabbed rat.
A dash of humble wouldn't go amiss. Potentially it was their over-inflated self-opinion that lead to their downfall this season. While Red-Bull squabbled internally in 2019 it allowed Ferrari to slip through and mop up the leftovers with considerable more ease than this year. But a more cohesive Red-Bull has meant that you needed to be on your A-game to bring the battle to the Bulls and Arrows.
BMW - Styling and Marketing departments
What BMWs used to look like.
BMW used to make stylish, suave cars. Cars that looked like they were doing one hundred miles per hour while stationary. The 507, the 2002, the E30 3 Series. These were beautiful cars. Arguably the Isetta is a brilliant design too. And then it went a bit wrong. And I'm not talking about the Chris Bangle era cars, which to my eye have aged well. It's their current line up. The 1-Series look like it's been over-inflated. The 2-Series Active Tourer looks like a shrunken Zafira with an inferiority complex. The 4-Series looks like a chipmunk, the 7-Series has a building-site fence for a grille, the X range is just monstrous and the X7 is the worst of the lot. The M3 and M4 are bequeathed with the same gopping face as the 4-Series but with added creases, lines and haunches that make you think the stylist got carried away, the iX looks like Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's. What went so wrong that we ended up with a car that looks like that?
You can see what I'm on about, can't you?
So the cars look terrible. At least their marketing isn't terri... oh wait. For a company that'll sell you a sports exhaust that's as loud and obnoxious as a road car can be, how do they expect to get away with also having this on their Instagram?
Seth Phillips and a reworking of an old meme. No one is impressed by your marketing strategies BMW.
BMWi slapped that up. Yeah, we get it, you sell electric cars that look like horrendous racist stereotypes. And then they made a "meme" and called their audience 'Boomers'. Which went down like a cup of cold sick.
And then I'm pretty sure at one point they threatened to release the details of people who chose not to get an extended warranty. But this being 2020 that seemed normal and has been forgotten, or it was a fever dream of mine. If anyone has anything to prove this happened, drop it in the comments. Please.
So resolutions for BMW? Learn to draw cars. Invest in some market research with the optically gifted. Read a book on how to address your audience without alienating them, or stirring up a Twitter storm. Gone are the days of "all publicity is good publicity".
Going back to F1 for a short one here. And it should largely be obvious what I'm about to say, as I'm sure this sentiment echoes throughout the F1 community.
"GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER"
If you're going to come down on Sir Lewis for wearing a t-shirt on the podium, you should come down just as hard, if not harder on one of your drivers who posts a video to his social media of him sexually assaulting a woman. There's been no public announcement as to what, if any, punishment has been doled out to the driver in question. All we know is that Haas have dealt with it internally. Which isn't a high bar one would imagine. Countless F1 pundits, commentators, content creators and reporters have made their point clear on this. How can we be expected to "race as one" in a bid for equality of all kinds when this disgusting behaviour is allowed.
FAO: The FIA. You look like clowns currently.
So for 2021, I'd like the FIA to take a long hard look in the mirror. They know what we want. Although as disheartening as the reason behind it is, I would like to see TV coverage interrupted by loud boo-ing as car number 9 passes by.
Now I've got that off my chest I'm ready to face 2021. But what do you think?
So there we have it, three groups who I think ought to 'buck their ideas up' in this newest of new years. But who do you think needs to improve in 2021? Let me know in the comments.