Te Papa is thrilled to have former Formula One great, Chris Amon along with commentator Bob McMurray (who was with McLaren for a number of years) and motorsport historian Michael Clark sharing their vast knowledge and views on Formula One as well as particular tidbits on the cars (and sometimes their drivers) featured in the Formula One exhibition.
These excellent floortalks are within the Formula One exhibition – this morning’s one had a captivated crowd:
- it was an interesting thing to watch as the crowd moved to each car in turn, like a circular swarm of bees. The experts discussed the development in the designs of F1 cars, as well as engineering, materials, latest developments of the time, how they drove, choice of colour…
You’ve got the Cooper & the Lotus in their traditional British racing green, red for Italy’s Ferrari (or though I did learn that over the years the particular shade of red has been gradually changed until today it is the same shade red as the company who sponsors Ferrari has on their product – never noticed!) and ORANGE for the McLaren M7A. You have to type in caps when you write ORANGE in this instance – its the brightest car in the exhibition – I love it!
There are various explanations floating around as to why it is that excellent shade, including something about the McLaren family having their roots in Ireland, orange being the colour associated with that country. This is not so, according to the experts. It was decided to use a colour that made the CanAm McLarens stand out more on the track - the ORANGE was then used in their F1 cars as well.
After berating the BRM somewhat (not the most handsome car you’ll have to admit) the three turned to the 1988
MP4-4. They discussed the choice McLaren made that year not to look ahead and incorporate some of the new changes implemented in the F1 rules, but instead decided that as turbo’s would be outlawed in 1989 they would focus on working with Honda and fit out the cars with reliable & great engines. So Prost & Senna were lucky to have turbocharged Honda RA168E V6 engines in their MP4-4s. Even under F1 restrictions each engine could deliver up to 900bhp – but Bob said that at times up to 1500bhp was delivered! Mention has been made that maybe turbo’s might be allowed back into F1 … do you think they will or if it does happen will it simply become an advantage that the teams with more resource would have over the lesser-resourced ones? McLaren dominated that 1988 season – 15 wins out a possible 16.
I enjoyed the floortalk as anybody has the opportunity to get up close with the experts, gain insight into the nuts and bolts of F1 as well as hear their personal views & experiences. Questions were also welcomed and answered. I will say that it was mentioned how women ask very good, insightful questions
There were two floortalks today but if you missed them then tomorrow morning is the exclusive Father’s Day Formula One brunch where you will meet three Formula One experts in an informal setting – Chris Amon, motorsport writer Eoin Young, and Michael Clark. As of this morning there were only a couple of tickets to this left, so be quick.
Also at 2-3pm tomorrow on the Marae we’ve got ‘Ask the Boys’ where you can test the motorsport experts, in a no-holds-barred question and answer session. With Chris Amon, Greg Murphy and Bob McMurray. Chaired by motorsport writer Michael Clark. This is a free event, so get the rubber burnin and get on down!