For the final article of 2022 (I’ve delayed the actual posting to New Year’s Day as I hope no one was reading blogs on New Year’s Eve), I’ve put together my latest SSO Awards list covering the automotive universe in general. In putting together what must be the auto universe’s least prestigious awards list, I would like to first acknowledge that I have no real basis to be doing this (that’s better left up to the professional journalists and those that actually work in the automotive sector). Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty to take a different approach that probably only amuses me but does give me a rare opportunity to use my very overpriced and fairly useless education. Please excuse some of the more esoteric references.
The Four Season’s Hospitality Award goes to Lance Stroll, who welcomed Fernando Alonso to the Aston Martin F1 Team by crashing into him at the US GP. Stroll did such a fine job of it that he took himself out of the race but Alonso was able to finish 7th. Given Alonso is known to have one of the longest memories in F1 and doesn’t get mad, he just gets even, 2023 should be an exciting time in the AMR GP garage.
The Pastor Maldonado Award goes to Mick Schumacher. Poor Mick ran up over €3 million in repair bills for damage to his F1 car in the 2022 season. His propensity to run into solid objects cost him his race seat at Haas the end of the season. As a final goodbye to Haas, Schumacher attempted to do a few donuts at the conclusion of the season’s final race in Abu Dhabi and was told to stop by the team as they feared he might bin it. For his troubles, Mick is getting to spend the next year in the Mercedes Benz F1 simulator as there 3rddriver. (On a serious note, I do hope Mick gets another chance. While his last name opens doors and provides opportunities, it also brings with it near impossible expectations.)
The Tobias Moers Hypercar Development Award (Moers is the father of the Mercedes Project One and Stepfather of the Aston Martin Valkyrie) goes to De Tomaso. After making a huge splash at both Goodwood and Pebble Beach with the P72 in 2019, De Tomaso then announced in October 2020 that they were moving all of their operations to the US “to restore the romance, beauty, passion and elegance in the luxury American automotive industry”. Since then, other than posting a video of parts being bolted onto a chassis sitting on a stand in an otherwise empty garage, they seem to have made little progress toward the actual production of customer cars.
The Spruce Goose Award goes to Aston Martin for the Valkyrie. While the Spruce Goose only flew once for 30 seconds, the Valkyries which Aston Martin has delivered to its long suffering depositors haven’t fared much better. Like the Spruce Goose, most Valkyries seem destined to end up as static displays in museums or garages.
The Isaac Newton 1st Law of Gravity Award goes to Elon Musk and Tesla’s stock price. Elon Musk is the 1stperson in history to lose $200 billion as Telsa’s stock price is down 75% this year. Another year or two like this and Twitter will be Musk’s most valuable asset.
The Dutch Tulipmania Stem goes to EV manufacturer Lucid. Since Lucid hit its post IPO (via a reverse merger with a SPAC) high of $55.21 in November of 2021 before crashing back down to finish 2022 at $6.83. This still leaves Lucid with a market cap of $12.5 bil. If Lucid delivers against its 7,000 vehicles target for 2022, this gives it a market value of $1.8 mil per vehicle produced. As a reference Tesla is currently valued at $278k per vehicle produced.
The US Marshalls Witness Protection Program Cloak goes to Amedeo Felisa. After being appointed CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda in May 2022, he has basically disappeared from the public eye with the exception of turning up on the quarterly earnings calls where he does a great job of not directly answering questions. Given his predecessor’s high (if irrated and grumpy) media profile, the change is quit jarring. Then again, given AML performance, this might just be a smart move on Felisa’s part.
The Drew Bledsoe Award goes to Lewis Hamilton. Back in 2020 Hamilton got Covid and George Russell put in a spectacular drive subbing for him. In 2022, Mercedes signed Russell as their 2nd driver. In his first season with the Mercedes F1, George Russell finished the season fourth in the drivers’ championship to Hamilton’s 6thand Russell scored 275 points to Hamilton’s 240.
Margaret Thatcher Unceremoniously Dumped Trophy goes to Daniel Ricciardo. After two years with McLaren F1, one victory, no poles and a 11th place finish in the Driver’s standings this year, the Honey Badger was dumped by McLaren and has ended up back with Red Bull where he started his career and their reserve driver.
The Neville Chamberlain Award goes to Lawrence Stroll, Executive Chairman of Aston Martin. In February Stroll stated: “Let me be crystal-clear, black-and-white: we do not need money.” Then in July Stroll launched a £653 mil. Equity Raise which should serve to keep the lights on at Aston Martin for at least another year. Stroll’s Feb statement turned out to be about as accurate as British Prime Minister Chamberlain declaring in 1938 that he had secured “Peace for our time”.
The David vs. Goliath Award (also known as the Eli Manning vs. Tom Brady Superbowl Trophy) goes to Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus for its 3rd and 4th place finish at this year’s 24 hrs of Le Mans. They did this on a budget that is probably less than 20% of 1st place finisher Toyota’s.
The Battle of Teutoberg Forest Eagle goes to Mattia Binotto and the Ferrari F1 Team. Like the Roman Legions in the Teutoberg Forest, a series of strategic blunders sunk Ferrari’s F1 Title hopes in 2022 after a strong start to the season.
The Golden Snail goes to McLaren for the Artura. After multiple launch delays going back to the beginning of 2021, it looks like McLaren is finally ready to start customer deliveries of the Artura.
The HRH Princess Anne Metal for Hard Work is awarded to Nico Hülkenberg. Nico is one of the hardest working drivers in F1. He always turns up when needed, puts in a commendable performance, and knows he will never be champion. For his efforts in the last two years, Nico has earned a full time spot back on the F1 grid for the 2023 with Haas.
The Prince Andrew Ribbon can only be given to Nikita Mazepin. Mazepin’s F1 career started with a groping incident and ended due to unsavory relationships. Given that in his brief time on the grid, Mazepin mostly demonstrated a talent for spinning and crashing, its unlikely he will be seen again in F1.
The Coco Chanel “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” Pin goes to Gordon Murray Automotive for the T.33. From the front, the GMA T.33 looks very similar to the long forgotten but occasionally loved Noble M12.
The Henry Ford Learning Opportunity Award goes to Ford. Henry Ford famously said the “the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing,”. In 2022 Ford had a plethora of learning opportunities as they lead the US market with 67 recalls, which was 50% more than #2 Volkswagen.
Julius Ceasar Veni Vidi Vici Award (Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered) goes to Ferrari naturally. With the launch of the Purosangue SUV, Ferrari has completed its dominance of just about every conceivable supercar segment.
The Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder Scroll is given to BMW for the new 7 Series. The huge new front “kidney” grill gives it a smushed in nose look that is even further accentuated by the narrow headlights. It’s the automotive Catfish.
The Jamie Dimon Award for Getting Fired and Moving Up this year goes to Michael Leiters at McLaren. After getting pushed out as Chief Technology Officer at Ferrari by new Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna, Leiters landed shortly thereafter as the new CEO at McLaren Automotive. (Jamie Dimon, currently the Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase, was fired by Citibank in 1998. JPMorgan Chase is the largest of the US Big Four Banks and Citibank is the smallest)
Thank you for taking the time in 2022 to read the musings of an amateur blogger with a passion for supercars. I hope this puts at least a small smile on your face as 2022 comes to an end. It’s been a wild ride of a year and hopefully 2023 brings more normalcy and stability. All the best for a safe, happy, healthy, and joyous 2023.
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