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The days are beginning to blur into each other. Early morning starts around 6am and hitting the sack between 1-2am is beginning to take its toll. Yet for me the best time to be at the circuit is before dawn and after dusk.
This may sound strange to you, but there is much more to see and do than drink beer and watch the cars for 8 hours a day – though at times the former sounds like a good plan.
This is a shot of the paddock around 7pm, it is quite dark though the photograph has been adjusted to give some detail. On the right is Ferrari’s Maranello Rosso perfectly colour coded temporary hospitality unit. It resembles at night a classy bordello and even has a couple of fake shrubs to adorn the entrance.
I digress. The reason I love the early mornings and late evenings is for most their days work is done, but for others the night shift is just beginning. Between about 17:30 and 20:00 hours, the paddock lane as you can see settles down to a relaxed rhythm.
Drivers and engineers are in debrief; the corporate entertainment machine is winding down as the guests leave in good spirits for an evening at their hotels and then its time for the team personnel to have dinner.
At this time you can find some very interesting people to chat with. They are – shall we say – the cogs in the F1 machine and I get to chat without them hurrying off to service the needs of the great and good.
I had a most interesting half an hour with someone who works closely in service with one of this year’s drivers who is in with a good shot at the WDC. Yet time needs to elapse before I can begin to tell you what is not said to the TV camera and microphone.
I have to hurry on because I need to leave for the track soon. I have become an expert on the exact GPS location where 3G is available and am thinking of writing to Google earth for this feature to be added. I can also rate most decent hotels in Jerez on their WIFI performance. None would fare better than a 4-5 out of 10. Getting pictures in information onto the WWW is challenging, even for the pros.
So I couldn’t get a decent connection last night and am writing this at 5am before leaving for the days endeavors. I have lots of interesting pictures which we will get nicely tidied up and release with the stories they tell when I return.
So apologies if I haven’t returned emails or acknowledged your comments – normal service will resume on Monday/Tuesday.
A quick tale and then I’ll try to update you throughout the day.
Elements of the F1 media are most fickle. Many left last night and hotel room rates have nearly halved for tonight. Had the teams put their ‘No. 1 driver’ in the car on days 1 and 2, many would have left the night before last.
For me last night, there was one story I would like more than others if I had only one to pen. The media scrum around the Lotus garage was unbelievable and I could barely hear what the whispering monosyllabic Finn had to say. I snatched a couple of pictures before gangster rap style Kimi was hustled off into the hospitality area.
You will not see from the TV or my picture, but it was very dark when this interview took place, yet Kimi still had the shades on. The ‘Yang’ bit back as he stumbled up the steps when making a swift exit.
Having done, the press corps dissipated into the night and I wandered down the never ending line of trucks once more. There he was my preferred story of the day. Valtteri Bottas. 1 European lad reporter and one TV camera – that was it.
I felt for Valtteri, his big F1 day had come and nobody was interested. He cut a lonesome figure as he sauntered off down the rear of the pits to the Williams garage near the beginning of the pit lane. I think he was texting a lady friend for some solace.
Sorry I’ve got to dash – be back later.