I realize that our coverage of Serbian agricultural exhibitions has been, at best, limited. I’m not proud of this, but to make up for it, I’d like to show you something displayed at a recent agricultural equipment expo in Serbia, what may or may not be a running prototype from the Minsk Tractor Factory in Belarus, something that they’re calling the MTZ 50 Formula 1 tractor. Yes, it looks like someone typed “formula 1 car but it’s a tractor” into some AI image generator, only this is a thing that exists in our reality, alongside dryer sheets and your cousins.
There’s a video floating around online that seems to be Belarusian dictator Alexander Loukachenko claiming he drove it at nearly 200 mph:
Biélorussie : MTZ a présenté un "tracteur Formule 1", lors d'une exposition en Serbie, l'usine a assemblé un véhicule de course.
MTZ affirme qu'il ne s'agit que d'un prototype marketing. pic.twitter.com/jgC0jR1ZXn
— Rebecca Rambar (@RebeccaRambar) June 3, 2023
I’m not so sure I believe him. This F1 Tractor is a very-well executed joke, but I’m just about sure there’s no way in hell that old dictator drove it at 198 mph, on tractor tires. Yes, I’m calling bullshit on a dictator. What I don’t know is if this was all supposed to be part of the joke? Or was he really trying to claim it as true? It’s got to be part of the joke, right?
As a joke, I have to hand it to the MTZ factory, because they executed this really well, a perfect meshing of tractor visual vocabulary re-worked into the forms and shapes and proportions of an F1 car.
All of the components seem to be pulled right from or at least adapted from the actual tractor parts, and I especially like the details of keeping the front “face” with the rectangular headlamps, the big side steps, the vertical exhaust stacks, and the tractor wheels and tires.
For reference, here is the stock MTZ 30 the F1 tractor is based on, so you can understand the design lineage:
I also like how it appears to have some sort of agricultural hardware mounted on the back, which if I knew more about farming I suppose I could identify:
Imagine how much sorghum you could plant with this baby!
It’s a good joke, and MTZ should absolutely trot it out more often to get some mileage out of it. I’d love to know if Loukachenko is actually in on the gag, or is just making shit up to get political clout? I’m not well versed enough is the politics of that region to know what’s actually possible or not, but I can still appreciate the goofball absurdity of this F1 tractor, dammit.