Wednesday, 29 June 2011

F1: A Contradiction Competition

This morning I checked the F1 news page on the BBC website and was greeted by this article in which Lewis Hamilton states that he is aiming for McLaren to get a one-two at Silverstone. Brilliant, we all think, Lewis getting back on form. Well, I'm annoyed. Formula One seems to be full of contradictions lately and I for one am getting fed up. The mass of contradictions by drivers and officials is making the sport far more confusing than DRS and KERS overtakes ever were.

Let me first explain perhaps the most apparent instance of contradictions in F1: the Bahrain situation. Initially, the Bahrain GP was postponed because of unrest in the country. This is fair enough, as the people of a country come first (something stated by Mark Webber - one of the most vocal drivers about the Bahrain situation). A waiting game then ensued whereby meetings were held or pushed back to discuss and see how the situation would evolve in the country. A deadline was given to the country and FIA officials to decide whether the race could be held. Great, we all thought, we're going to get a firm "yes" or "no" on the 1st of May. Nope. The deadline was then extended by over a month. This was kind of annoying, however most of the fans understood. Eventually, after many meetings and much gossip the FIA took the decision to reschedule the Bahrain race. This seemed like a firm answer, and most fans thought the matter was solved. However, the teams called for a boycott of the race, and more negotiations ensued, along with the usual gossip which accompanies so many big decisions. The teams' protest was officially based on the logistics of the date of the rescheduled race, however many also felt that the ethical implications of going to a country in such a state would outweigh any benefit of F1 returning to the country. While the teams protested, the FIA sought to reassure them, stating that Bahrain was now safe. However, the teams couldn't be ignored and as such the Bahrain race was eventually cancelled - a move which many felt should have occurred in the first place.

When you see the number of articles saying that the race was off-on-off-on-off, you can see how annoying it was to watch this situation unfold. The whole process of decision making seemed completely unprofessional, as it appeared that the officials never spoke with the teams and decisions were made based purely on money alone. The contradictions made the situation so hard to follow, and many were simply relieved that it was over.

Anyway, we moved on from this and got on with the season. However, the drivers seem to have got into a competition for who can have the most contradictions. The first one I noticed was Fernando Alonso. Before the race at Valencia, Alonso was quoted as saying that Ferrari were having a bad year. After the race, during the press conference, Alonso said how well Ferrari had done during the last few races:

Monaco was a very good performance all weekend. We finished second. Canada was a very good performance. We didn't score any points there and here again very good weekend in terms of performance Felipe (Massa) and me and now both cars in the top five is a great team result so definitely moving in the right direction.

To add to this, another BBC article quoted Alonso as giving up on the title fight. So, what's Alonso's position? "Ferrari are bad - we're doing well - I've given up".

Now, to my final example. Lewis Hamilton has been all over the media. Given his run of bad luck lately, this isn't surprising. The previous article quoted Lewis as saying that he had pretty much given up on the next race at Silverstone, let alone the title. He said that he was "really not looking forward to Silverstone", that McLaren had "taken a step back" and that "It's finished really. In the sense of the title it's almost over". So, pretty pessimistic stuff. However, in the next breath Lewis has all of his optimism back and he's looking for the world championship! In terms of the Silverstone race, Lewis's initial comments of "we're just not quick enough to win there. I think we'll really struggle" have been forgotten, and he's now saying that McLaren can get a one-two finish there. In fact, he's said that "nothing is impossible", and the championship is far from over.

So what's going on with F1 lately? People were complaining at the start of the year that the races were confusing what with all the overtaking, but now it seems that the source of the confusion has very little to do with the on track action. Of course, I understand that the media isn't always accurate, but there must be a grain of truth in most of these articles and the drivers seem to be saying two things at once. I wish that the drivers and media would stop speculating, or at least stick with one point of view. For new fans, it must be excruciating to try and get into the sport with all this going on. Personally, I'm considering ignoring what each driver says, simply because I don't know whether they're being truthful or whether next week their views will be completely different. So, if I've sent a hundred links out to media spokespeople or drivers and you're reading this, I implore you to get your stories straight or say nothing at all - these contradictions are giving me a headache!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Valencia - Double DRS and Still No Action

Well Valencia has been and gone and the general consensus is that the race was perhaps the most boring of the season. We all knew that a boring race was looming - especially after the drama of Canada - and Valencia was the most likely candidate, given that a few years back we saw just one overtake in the race. Yes, people were hoping that a double DRS activation zone, KERS and the treacherous Pirelli tyres would spice things up, however we had no such luck.

Watching the race was fine for me - I still enjoyed it, despite that there was little change at the front of the grid. Well, maybe I enjoyed it because there was little change at the front; don't forget that I'm a die-hard Vettel/Red Bull girl! However I do feel for new fans that the race wouldn't give the best impression. It also made me wonder how long Valencia would be hosting the European race. I seem to recall that Europe moved around different circuits each year. The first race at the Nurburgring that I saw was the European Grand Prix for example. The past few years though the European race has been at Valencia, in effect giving us two Spanish Grand Prix races. Good for Alonso fans, not so good if you like variety.

Overall, I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, despite the boring race. For F1 fans, any race is alright. Yes, it is annoying to have non-eventful races, but rather that than no race at all. Valencia did have some merit to it though: for the first time in F1 history 24 cars have finished a race, which is an achievement for the sport in terms of reliability. Also, Vettel made the record books being the only man to finish in the top two for the first eight races of the season and completing over 1,000 laps in the lead of the race. So, well done to him and to the teams!

One man who wasn't so happy at Valencia was the usual suspect: Lewis Hamilton. He's been all over the media lately, first being quoted as giving up in the championship, then being quoted as a fighter. It's kind of irritating for fans, as nobody really knows what his actual position is and what he's being told to say by PR people. It's more than likely the media twisting words, as is usual - Lewis isn't the only one being represented by contradictory statements this year. Fernando Alonso was first quoted as saying that Ferrari are having a bad year, then in the next breath he rattled off a list of races which Ferrari should be proud of. Generally, I try and avoid the media hype and take each race as it comes. Look at what happened with Schumacher; every media spokesperson out there said that Schumi was too old to race and that he should retire. After Canada, he's back on form! Whatever happens, hopefully the rest of the year will be a bit better than Valencia, and we'll get back to the exciting form of F1.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Unsung Heroes of Formula One

Been a while since I posted last, sorry about that! Anyway, I wanted to post a quick one about the unsung heroes of F1, the people who we see but don't ever hear about. I'm not talking about the marshals and officials, not because they don't deserve a mention but because we know that without them events wouldn't run. I'm talking about the people who do the strange jobs which put the finishing touches to a race meeting.

Firstly, there is the man who announces the winners of the grand prix (my personal favourite). This guy apparently loves his job, although of late it seems that the only name he really has to announce is Sebastian Vettel. He is a hero of F1 for doing this job and for making a fine effort in announcing "THE CHAMPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGNE!!!". Seriously, when he shouts that it goes on forever! I take my hat off to him.

Speaking of hats, my second unsung hero of F1 is a man who I term 'Sinister Hat Man'. After every race it's this guy's job to hand out the hats, watches, water and towels to the top three finishers. He seems like a lovely man, however he looks incredibly sinister and seems to stand in total silence. Whenever a race winner takes his time on putting on his hat, you can rely on Sinister Hat Man to be waiting patiently until the reluctant driver gives in and places the hat on his head. Bravo!

Third and finally, there is the Parc Ferme Man. This man directs the cars to Parc Ferme after a race, however I'm not sure whether he actually does anything else. He can be relied upon for standing in the road, blocking all other paths which would lead away from Parc Ferme. Without him, the cars would possibly get lost - just look at what happened to Jenson Button in Monaco a few years ago! Truly, Parc Ferme Man is an unsung hero of F1.

So, three of my unsung heroes of F1. You might not agree with my choices, you might not agree that I haven't bothered to find the real names of these heroes, but you have to say that there are far more people in F1 than just the 24 we see each weekend and among these unseen and unsung people there are true heroes. Bring on Valencia

Monday, 13 June 2011

It's Health and Safety Gone Mad!

I'm hoping most of my readership would have seen the thriller of a race which we were treated to yesterday. If not, go to the BBC iPlayer right now and watch it. I promise you won't be disappointed.

I think I spent more time watching F1 than any other point in my past. The BBC's coverage started at 5, and at 10:30 I was still sat in my Red Bull shirt and hat watching it. No, the F1 Forum didn't go on for an exceptionally long time, but the rain meant that we had a whole two hours mid-race where nothing was happening. Congratulations to David Coulthard and Martin Brundle for keeping us entertained for that long while the cars were sat stationary underneath their covers. If you're new to F1 you might be wondering why a bit of rain halted play for so long. Well, it's all a question of safety. It's common sense that you don't want drivers going around a circuit at high speed when the track has absolutely no grip, and when the walls could mean a driver is injured should they push too hard during these states. It's also no good to make the drivers just go slower - F1 cars are designed to operate at high speeds, so while other forms of racing could just take things a bit easier in the wet this isn't the best option for F1. So, yesterday's racing was interrupted for perhaps the longest period I can remember.

Now, there's a lot of debate whether this was the right thing to do or not. We haven't had a single wet race this season - something which has kind of disappointed me as I love watching wet races (however, the Nurburgring has to stay dry for my sake when I'll be staying in a tent). We all knew that Montreal carried the risk of rain, and so on Sunday when it was rainy I'm sure a lot of fans thought that we were in for a brilliant start. However, the race started behind the safety car. This was an interesting move - we've seen races previously where conditions have been worse and the cars were allowed to start as usual. The general consensus was that race control pre-empted incidents, and so were keen to prevent anything from happening. This is a smart move on one hand - injuries and risks are kept to a minimum. However, this isn't racing. If conditions were so bad that the race took place behind a safety car I would have preferred them not to start it at all and wait for the circuit to improve. Eventually though the safety car went in and we got around ten laps of actual racing.

During this time it has to be said that Lewis Hamilton had an absolute shocker. He overtook Mark Webber and sent him spinning, he went to overtake his team mate Jenson Button and the two ended up colliding. This eventually led to him stopping on track as his suspension suffered damage. Because of Lewis's stop on track, we got yet another safety car, and eventually the race was red flagged due to the weather. You have to wonder about Lewis Hamilton this year. He's being much more aggressive and punchy with his overtaking, as if expecting people just to make way for him. I respect that he's a racing driver at heart, however at the moment he seems to struggle to stay out of trouble. Whether it's due to frustration or not I don't know, but I think that he has to get his act together a little bit more, get his head down and return to the old Lewis of a few years ago - the supreme racer, not the bumper car King.

The two hours of waiting for the race to restart after the red flags was agony for the fans. We were all expecting that the race would be called off, as in Malaysia a few years ago. However, race control assured everyone that the race would not be cancelled until it got dark. Unfortunately for UK viewers, this could have been any time up until the very late night and so people began to speculate whether coverage would continue. Luckily, the rain eased up and the race was restarted under the safety car.

Once the safety car went in (after what was quite an extended period I felt - you have to wonder whether Bernd Maylander was getting his money's worth or whether it was a real issue of safety or not) we were treated to some awesome racing. The final five laps were perhaps the best I've seen all year. Michael Schumacher managed a commendable fourth place, and was even in with a shot at the podium. This was to my immense delight, as I now feel the media can stop with the endless torrent of criticism that has been facing Michael all year. While Michael Schumacher was easily going to be my driver of the day, Jenson Button changed all that. After one of many safety car periods Jenson was running stone dead last, and nobody thought that Vettel could be caught at the front (indeed, Sebastian seems to be king of the restarts this year). However, Jenson came through the field and eventually caught Sebastian on the very last part of the final lap in what was some beautiful driving. It was definitely his best career win, and as much as I admire Sebastian and congratulate him for leading all but half a lap of the race I have to say that Jenson deserved that win.

undriveable then bring the safety car out or stop the race. If a circuit is too wet to drive on then simply don't start the race at all. I loved the race yesterday, but I feel cheated of a proper start. Whether this happens again remains to be seen at the next wet race. So long as the Nurburgring is dry, I await the next one with bated breath.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Motor Racing is Really Boring... Unless There's a Crash!

Last night I was watching the F1 practice session while my sister was over for a family gathering. It was all lovely, and then my sister said something that really gets my back up: "Let's face it, it's not that interesting unless somebody crashes". I hate this. I hate it when people watch races to see people crash. Now, it's not my sister's fault - she doesn't watch motorsport at all - but I want to outline why exactly I hate this point of view, and why people should find motorsport interesting without incidents occurring.

Every time anyone gets a ticket to go and watch a motorsport event there's a warning on the ticket saying 'Motorsport is dangerous'. On most occasions, there's little risk to a spectator but the warning is fair nonetheless. Motorsport IS dangerous - and perhaps the greatest risk is for those inside the cars or in close contact with them at least. I really don't like watching people crash in races. My first thought is always for the driver and their safety. At the last F1 race in Monaco I waited with bated breath to hear whether Perez was ok, as it was horrible watching the extraction procedures with the screens covering the car. Thankfully, Perez was alright and it's a tribute to how far F1 has come in terms of driver safety. So while we can be content in the knowledge that a driver's likely to be safe during an F1 race there's still a risk of serious injury - just look at Massa in Hungary. In other disciplines of motorsport there's a higher risk: Kubica's rally accident which left him out of the F1 season so far being an example. This is precisely why I dislike people watching races for the crashes - there's a real chance of serious injury for the drivers, and people shouldn't be willing an incident to happen.

However, I can see why people have this view. Motorsport is a balancing act. To get the fastest car, you have to have it right on its limits. Accidents happen because a driver's gone past this limit. While (hopefully) most of us spectators are watching races hoping that drivers get to the limit, but not beyond it, some people (particularly those who don't know much about the sport) cross the line and hope to see drivers going past these limits. It's here where the accidents and injuries lie. I honestly think that people who watch races for crashes don't have much knowledge of the risks involved. F1 is so safe that serious injuries rarely occur, and so people don't necessarily remember the 2/3 chance of dying during a race many years ago. Ok, it's a testament to those who campaigned to change those odds that people think F1 is perhaps safe enough to be able to "enjoy" accidents, but we shouldn't forget that there are still risks which could lead to death. This was one of the reasons why I wanted more people to see the Senna movie - people would realise that motorsport isn't all that safe and when things go wrong there are occasionally serious consequences.

So, if you're one of those people who does watch motorsport for the accidents then I hope you realise that it's not nice to wish someone would have the risk of serious injury or death. You should watch F1 and other sports for the racing - not for the crashes. It's much more fun to watch two drivers battling for position in close races than it is to watch a driver being pulled from a car and taken to hospital. It's also much more interesting watching a driver push his car to the very limit of its capabilities, rather than watching him spin off in a cloud of dust. Yes, accidents will happen, but they're not the reason why you should watch races.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Updates and Random Thoughts

It's been a while since my last post - exams have been given a high priority before three months of summer and my trip to Germany.

Now, I posted ages ago about Hamilton's comments on his calling to the stewards: "Maybe it's because I'm Black". Since he said that, there was uproar from the media and division among the public. On the one hand it was viewed as something terrible to say, understandable as F1 is a global sport and as such race, colour and creed have nothing to do with anything. On the other, people were pleased that Lewis was expressing his displeasure and not becoming a corporate robot. I can see both sides of the argument and I'm kind of in the middle ground. Yes, it's good that he's being honest with his views. However, it's also unprofessional and I think he needs to take these things up in private before shouting it to the media. Yeah, it was a heat of the moment comment, but he should have known better. There were rumours that sanctions for his comments would occur, as he could have been in breach of the regulations which state that nobody should bring the sport into disrepute (which is what happened to Max Mosely a few years back). However, Lewis since apologised and the stewards have accepted. Jean Todt today said that there would be no sanctions against Lewis. So, a lucky escape and it's definitely something for Lewis to learn by.

Something I haven't posted on before is the whole issue of Bahrain. The race was postponed because of the situation in the country and a meeting was held in the beginning of June (after being pushed back from May) to see whether it could be rescheduled. The FIA decided that the situation in Bahrain was settled enough for the race to go ahead. As a result, the race was scheduled to replace the Indian GP, with this race being pushed to December. Fantastic you might think, as we get 20 races this year and a shorter wait before the 2012 season. However, there are far deeper issues here.

Now, the FIA never consulted with the teams on their decision to reschedule the race. The season was scheduled to end two weeks later than usual - something which has implications for those who have to work for the teams. Also, article 66 of the regulations states that no changes can be made to the championship season after the entries have been confirmed without consulting the competitors themselves. So, even though the FIA vote has pushed through Bahrain, without the teams' say so it can't go ahead. FOTA have written to the FIA asking them to reconsider based on logistical grounds, with comments from Mark Webber, Bernie Ecclestone and others saying that the race can't go ahead.

Aside from logistics, there are a number of ethical issues to consider. The protests staged in Bahrain have been peaceful, however the authorities have taken action which has led to the deaths and injury of protesters. The issues of human rights have simply been ignored by the country. So, does F1 - a global sport - want to be associated with rescheduling a race in a country which does not take care of its people? No doubt there will be more negotiations in the coming weeks and we'll know soon enough whether Bahrain goes ahead with or without the competitors' approval.

A random thought I had came after I saw the Senna movie. In F1 there are clear greats (such as Senna, Prost et al.), and these greats are idolised. Now, one man who hold all the records is Michael Schumacher. However, people don't idolise him in general. I asked my Dad about this, and his response was that Schumacher made F1 boring. He was so good that nobody could catch him - therefore it was a foregone conclusion that he would win. I know I seem to defend Schumacher a lot, but I feel that I have good reason to. To me, the argument that Schumacher made F1 boring is ridiculous - surely it's up to the other teams to catch up? In this case, the other teams made it boring because they simply weren't as good! A similar situation has arisen this season with qualifying - Sebastian Vettel is making it boring. However, I'm not complaining about this (and not just because Seb is my hero), because it's up to another driver to challenge Seb's Saturdays. I was wondering whether Senna's heroism would be considered in the same way if he'd have lived. Say Senna went on to dominate F1 in much the same way as Schumacher did - would people still have the respect and adoration of him as they do now? Maybe it's human nature. People don't like people who excel all the time - we want to see slip ups. I just find it odd that Schumi was criticised for making F1 boring - the man has won 7 world titles! Surely that deserves awe and respect?

Friday, 3 June 2011


I'm back at home having just seen Senna - a film I've been waiting for since it was announced last year. What can I say? Despite having never seen Senna race (well, if I did I don't remember - I was only 2 when he died), like any good F1 fan I know that he was one of the greatest - if not the greatest - drivers of all time. However, I'm sorry to say that I don't know all that much about Senna's career aside from snippets read on the internet. So, the Senna movie was something I desperately wanted to see to learn more about the legend.

We had a bit of trouble getting to see the film, as there was only one cinema in Kent showing it (a travesty really, as I feel the film could be a platform for getting more interested in F1. Still, all to do with money I guess). Finally though, I managed to get tickets for Senna on the day it was released. So today I came back from university (having completed a statistics exam - fun!) and immediately set off with my Mum and Dad to the Bluewater Shopping Centre.

The film started eventually and even from the first few bars of the music I knew it was going to be a special film. The shots of Senna driving his cars from the very start to the untimely end of his career were stunning. I'm so glad that the film was made using real footage, rather than staged clips filmed for the purpose. I don't think any filmmaker would be able to capture the atmosphere of the crowd and Senna's magic when he drove.

The personal story of Senna was something very inspirational. His statements that he always aimed to learn and do his very best was something which I feel we can all aspire to - I relate very much to Senna's sentiments with my academic life. As such, this side to Ayrton makes the film much more accessible to non-F1 fans.

The combination of Senna's absolute raw skill in driving and his frankly inspirational personality were demonstrated and balanced so well in the film as a whole. Although I knew that Senna was rated as one of the greats, it's hard to capture this combination in books and internet articles. The film served to explain to me exactly why Senna was considered to be such a great man - and why his death shocked and saddened so many people.

I was only 2 when Senna had his crash at Imola in 1994. It's one of the events in F1 that I have never dared to find on internet videos - I don't like it when drivers crash and I despise people who watch motor-racing for the accidents. I have, however read about Senna's accident and the controversy which surrounds it. Watching the accidents in the cinema was rather poignant and shocking. You could feel the tension in the audience whenever a driver crashed, as we all knew that the film would be showing Senna's demise.

I have to admit, the accidents shown in the film unsettled me somewhat. The first crash shown with a driver out of the car lying on the ground was perhaps the most shocking I've seen - however the driver survived. Barrichello's crash at Imola in 1994 was the first in a series of crashes shown at Senna's last race. It was so unexpected during the course of the film and you could hear the intake of breath from the audience. Roland Ratzenberger's fatal accident was the next to be shown. It was horrific watching the doctors trying to resuscitate him. I guess if I was watching any other film there would be comfort in knowing that it wasn't real, that the man in the car was little more than an actor who would be able to walk away. Not so in Senna - we know that the moments we're watching are the driver's last, and it's humbling and harrowing at the same time.

It was emotional watching the Imola sequence. The whole audience knew what was about to happen, and the portrayal of Senna as a hero throughout the film made everyone wish that history was different - that Senna had taken Sid Watkins's advice and retired at the peak of his career, or that the race had been cancelled in light of Ratzenberger's death. However, we knew that this wouldn't be the case. It was hard watching Senna's last few days. He was clearly unsettled with the car and was deeply affected by the death of Ratzenberger. You get the impression that Senna was considering his own mortality - something which perhaps wasn't as present in Senna previously (at least, this is the impression I formed when watching the film). Inevitably, Senna got into his car on the 1st of May 1994 and hit the Imola wall in an accident that everyone wishes never happened. This was the hardest thing I've watched in any film.

One more thing I would like to say about Senna is that the film didn't portray Alain Prost in the best light. Now, I can kind of understand this on one level as the film maker was out to portray Senna as the hero. This is understandable - the film is called Senna after all, and so perhaps it was necessary to portray Prost in a more negative light than is true. Whether Prost was as villainous as the film makes out isn't for me to say - there was notable rivalry between the two; we already know this. However, the rivalry is understandable to whatever degree in reality. We see rivalries in modern F1 too, rivalries which mirror Prost and Senna: Hamilton and Alonso and (to an extent last season) Webber and Vettel being some examples of this. The drivers are out for wins and rivalries develop. As fans we may choose which driver we prefer over another and side with them much more - which is perhaps what happened with this film and the Prost/Senna rivalry. The film makers simply chose Senna over Prost. Nevertheless, Prost's portrayal as the 'villain' in the film was countered at the very end when it was revealed that he was a patron to the Ayrton Senna Foundation; so while they were rivals on the track there was undoubtedly respect between the two.

 Overall, I think everyone should see Senna - whether you like F1 or not. Hell, if I had the money I'd take each and every one of you to see it, just so you can learn more about the legend. Senna was portrayed as such a generous, talented and inspirational man, and even though I was too young to remember him racing I admire him all the more for seeing this film. After watching the crash and seeing Senna motionless in his car followed footage of his funeral. This was perhaps where it hit me that Senna was much more than a racing driver - he was a hero to the people of Brazil and to people from the rest of the world and when he died there was a great loss to not only motorsport, but to the world.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


As I'm nearing the end of my exams I'm having to look for things to do over the exceptionally long summer break. It's highly unlikely that I'll find paid work (I'm only available for 12 weeks over the summer, and I don't particularly fancy working in a shop somewhere - besides, I already have a job as a student ambassador), so I've been looking for voluntary work to do. I already volunteer for my local branch of the Parkinson's Disease Society and next year I'm hoping to work for Headway (a brain injury charity), so I've been trying to look for something a little different. Initially, I looked for mentoring positions, then writing positions and goodness knows what other random stuff. Then it hit me: I want to become a marshal.

I had looked up marshalling positions before, however I never got round to registering with anyone. As I'm now left with a lot of free time in between revision, I figured I'd sign up and see what happens. Obviously, marshalling's not going to keep me occupied for the whole 12 weeks I have free, but it's definitely something to look forward to.

Being a marshal seems like a great opportunity to get involved with motorsport for very little cost. You get to attend race meetings for free and you're much more a part of the racing than if you go and spectate. All round, marshalling seems to be a good thing to so - without the marshals the events don't run, so everyone benefits. Also, for someone my age it seems like a good thing to put on the CV - I had my current CV assessed and by demonstrating my interest in motorsport it added an extra dimension and made me seem less of an academic nerd. By marshalling, I get to demonstrate that I am actively involved in voluntary work, as well as showing my interest and dedication to motorsport.

If you're into motorsport I think you should give marshalling a go at least once in your lifetime. If you're interested, then look at the British Motorsport Marshals' Club. They offer taster days (which is what I've registered for) and training, so all you need to do is be interested in motorsport and they'll help you with the rest!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Less Than Fifty Days To Go

In 48 days' time my Dad and I will be at Dover getting ready to board the ferry to Calais and start the epic road trip to the Nurburgring! I am understandably excited - the thought of my trip to Germany is the only thing keeping me sane through my current exams. Well, that and my blog of course. I thought I'd better give a quick update on where we are with our preparations, hence the post.

The Rangey is now in possession of a shiny new MOT - sailed through as ever. It's lovely to have such a reliably good car! The Wee Beastie has been fitted with nice new Plymouth Blue panels. Well, I say panels - it's actually the whole of the body of the Rangey which has been replaced. Where my Dad and I off road the Rangey so much it has understandably sustained a lot of damage. If you were to look at the car now compared to it a few weeks ago it is simply unrecognisable! That's not to say that it won't get off-roaded at some point in the future. It has been fitted with new tree-sliders (to protect the body from trees by providing a sort of barrier) and still has its armour plating underneath (in the form of tank guards and such). Perhaps the most surprising addition was the new roof. Why would we need to replace the roof? Well, sometimes when we off road the Rangey we kind of forget how tall it is... Low trees are not kind! Anyway, after a day of work we now have a new, straight roof with a very posh glass sunroof. We're going up in the world! The next step is to get a set of Red Bull stickers for the sides...

Aside from the Rangey being tidied up there's not a whole lot more that's occurred in preparation for Germany. I have received the last of my student loan, paid all of my rent for this year and my first month's rent for next year and I'm still left with a good amount of money left over. So, spending spree at the Nurburgring it is! We still have to pay for camping, airbeds, food and such, so maybe the spending spree should be held off for a while.

In non-Germany related news, I'm going to see the Senna film on Friday! I'm going to see it at the Bluewater shopping centre, largely because very few cinemas are showing the film over the country. I'm severely disappointed that the film isn't being shown nationwide. I was hoping that the Senna film would encourage people who weren't F1 fanatics to become more involved with motorsport, but it would seem that the film is being aimed at existing F1 fans. This is a shame, as it's not all that often that F1 films are made, let alone shown in the cinema. Anyway, no doubt I'll be telling my friends to go and see the film - I honestly think that it will encourage people to learn more about F1 and hopefully the audience for our weekend races will increase. Expect a report on Friday to give my opinions of the film - after I've stopped crying anyway. It's going to be an emotional one.