Jo Borras: The World's Fastest Hybrids are Back (and So Am I)

This is the first week of Formula 1 winter testing, and we are under way in Jerez, Spain – and make no mistake: the world’s fastest hybrids are back!

Since my very early childhood, the end of the Formula 1 season has been a dark and dismal affair. There are no more early European and Asian races on BBC1 to get me out of bed at 0-dark-thirty on Sundays. There are no early qualifying sessions to catch on Saturday. I don’t have to wake up extra early on Fridays to sneak a peek at the teams’ free practice session times before work.

You can, I’m sure, guess what happens next. I stay up a bit later on Thursdays. Maybe I go out on Friday nights, which leaves me too tired to get up early on Saturday. Saturday nights? Spent with friends and family, with no regard to the relentlessly ticking clocks that read 9:30, 10:00, 11:30, etc. until I find myself (fittingly?) waking up with the sun on Sunday mornings.

This means I’m “awake” Sunday night, of course, and I don’t get enough sleep that night, so that Monday’s exhaustion at the 9-5 becomes even more miserable than the “dark when I go to work, dark when I go home” Midwestern winters. That exhaustion (and misery!) bleeds over into Tuesdays. Tuesday’s horror bleeds over into Wednesday. Thursday seems OK, sure, but Thursday is a wicked liar, because I can check my watch on Thursday at 3:24PM, then check it again an hour later … at 3:37PM.

I’m broke the whole time this is happening, too, either because I have to save up for holiday gifts and family travel or because I just bought holiday gifts and maxed out my credit cards on family travel. There’s food everywhere, so I try to bury all this misery with sweets, salty snacks, and alcohol while trying to “pep up” with coffee and 15-hour energy slime. This last bit, of course, makes me gain weight – and nobody likes to get fat, you know?

You know (you pig).

It’s hardly surprising, then, that I took a few months away from regular writing and my weekend editor duties. Predictable, even, that I’d taken every vacation day the 9-5 had to offer and hidden myself away from the 5-9 gig, too. This pattern has become so predictable, in fact, that the people closest to me don’t even take my off-season suicide threats (promises?) seriously anymore … and rightly so, because here we are: it is day 1 of week 1, and I am jazzed!

I am ripped to the tits on (mostly) adrenaline and endorphins, poring over hundreds of photos of every new F1 reveal with the buzzing intensity and burning curiosity of a 5 year old. Why does the new Sauber have little winglets on the end of its flat nose? Why does the new Ferrari have a pointed “prow” under the driver? Why is the new McLaren the only 2012 Formula 1 car without a “stepped” nose? Why does the new RB8 look so much like the RB5?

Look, dammit! LOOK!!

These are, of course, the cream of the Formula 1 crop. Also, Sauber.

For 2012, every one of the 12 F1 teams challenging for the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships (save the Virgin Marussia car) are high-powered hybrid racers, equipped with the most advanced, lightweight, highest-capacity automotive batteries and capacitors in the world. This is the world where KERS technology can make a zero a hero, if it’s working properly and used at the right time, of course. Additionally, these cars make use of the most efficient regenerative braking technology in the known universe, with budgets in the tens and hundreds of millions at their disposal to shave tenths and hundredths of second off their cars’ times.

Good stuff, in other words, which has already led to advances in regenerative technology at Porsche, Volvo, and more.

So, where does that leave us?

Formula 1 is back, I am back, Gas 2 will be covering a lot more motorsports news this year than it did last year, and I need to lose this holiday weight by Amerivespa.

Stay tuned, kiddies. More to come.

Source | Photos: Planet F1


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.