McLaren MP4-12C – Click above for high-res image gallery
At this past weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, the Brawn cars didn't just beat McLaren – they lapped them. With both teams running the same Mercedes engines, and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton piloting the lapped McLaren, it was clear that Brawn is simply running a better car. Anyone watching the race had to be wondering what the corporate big-wigs at Mercedes were thinking as the Brawn cars crossed the finish line a full lap ahead of the McLaren. But we can stop wondering now.
A string of reports over the past couple of days are emerging to paint a picture of a potentially huge reshuffle of the Formula One grid and the players involved as early as next season. The FIA and the teams are planning another round of regulation changes to further curb costs in F1, but while that might entice some, for others it could be too little too late.
They have got to be kidding. Another SLR derivative? Before the Mercedes-McLaren supercar speeds off into the horizon, it will have spawned no less than six different versions - including the original coupe, the Roadster, 722, 722 GT, the upcoming "Speedster", and this latest variant - if the latest reports are to be believed. We would have thought that the spied Speedster version would have been the last, but then spy shots surface of what appears to be a 722 Roadster.
It's been a long, drawn-out goodbye for the lackluster Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. The last of the original coupes rolled smoothly off the production line at the end of last year, and the subsequent SLR Roadster is set to follow in 2009.