THE F1 GRAND
ALL revhead roads lead to Melbourne this weekend for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. National motoring editor PAUL GOVER takes a look at what cars the drivers have in their garage at home WO of the world’s fastest drivers do not own a car. Grand prix rookies Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi might each have a 300km/h Formula One car waiting for them in the garage at Albert Park, but when they get home to Europe their car spaces are empty.
Hispania Racing Team’s Senna, nephew of the three-time world champion Ayrton Senna who was killed in an F1 crash in 1994, began his roadgoing career in a secondhand Audi A3 in Brazil but now survives on lifts and loan cars.
For di Grassi, who has joined the grand prix world with the all-new Virgin team, life in Monaco means he does not need a car.
Walking is much easier in the tiny, moneydrenched city-state on the side of the Mediterranean Sea.
But the two rookies are rare in the F1 world, where drivers can get almost anything with a giant discount, or free.
TThere was a time when Mercedes-Benz handed cars to anyone with an F1 drive, just as they backed the stars of the golf and tennis world, and there are still good deals at the threepointed star.
Of course, for Mercedes-Benz GP drivers Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg a car is part of the package.
And it’s no surprise that both have chosen the pocket-rocket C63 AMG, although two-time dad Schumacher goes for the station wagon.
As for the rest of the line-up in Schumacher’s garage, all those years at Ferrari means there are definitely some red cars . . .
Rubens Barrichello used to be Schumacher’s sidekick at the red team and still has the Ferrari 575 he got during his time with Ferrari.
Today’s Ferrari drivers are both Maserati men, with Fernando Alonso sliding into the latest GranCabrio last week to celebrate his win in the Bahrain GP and Felipe Massa holding on to the Quattroporte he likes to drive in Melbourne.
But moving back to Benz sees Jenson Button has a shiny new silver Benz C63, just like Rosberg and Schumacher.
The difference is he almost bent the AMG hotrod on one of his first drives, sliding into his race base at McLaren in Britain on fresh snow and narrowly avoiding a crash — in the carpark.
Robert Kubica in the driver’s seat