With less than 3 weeks to go before the start of the F1 season, its already hotting up between the two teams believed to be the main championship contenders for the 2007 season, Ferrari and McLaren.

Not content to be outdone in any area by their championship rivals, McLaren have revealed they will be doing something unheard of in its 41 year racing history which will no doubt strike fear into the very heart of Maranello.

What is this secret weapon you ask?…..replica team kits for the fans.

I suspect you’ve probably had to re-read that last line a few times, just to check I’m not off my rocker.

Kimi and Felipe looking cool in their new kit, a look which tifosi will no doubt want to emulate

Yes McLaren have decided to copy their rivals and start producing replica team apparel for their fan base, something unheard before from the Woking based team. Apparently the move is a bid to improve the global image of McLaren and to appeal to a younger audience. And honestly has nothing to do with trying to fleece a few easy Euros out of the fickle Spanish Fernando Alonso supporters who hadn’t a clue what Formula 1 was until last year…and won’t be watching in 3 years time.

“With this new team clothing, we really wanted to bring the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team closer to the fans and what better way to reach them than by clothing them in the teamwear” Ron Dennis McLaren CEO (and the original Mr Grey and Gloomy) commented on the launch.

sexmyclaren2.JPGFirstly, does McLaren actually have any fans to sell the replica kit to? How many fans do you honestly see going around with ‘Forza McLaren’ banners and McLaren Mercedes hats?

Secondly, grey is not by nature a very trendy colour…I just can’t imagine young people looking at them and going ‘oooh I must have that unbelievably dull coloured shirt that looks like it got accidentally dyed by mum in a dark wash cycle’. Grey is not the new Black.

Thirdly, if your trying to improve your global image and appeal to a younger, trendier audience then there is a simpler solution that does not involve some poor 5 year old asian child slaving away 16 hours a day in a sweatshop over reels of grey cloth……
Yes you got it. Get rid of Ron.

Ron Dennis, enough to put anyone off grey for life

The only people who must actually be cock-a-hoop about this new development in the merchandising department must be the two cleaners employed by McLaren who successfully managed to sneak off scot-free with thousands of pounds worth of merchandise last year. They will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of all those sexy free grey shirts…..mmmmmm lovely.

Does Ferrari Sporting Director Stefano Domenicali look a worried man?…I suspect not.