Category Archives: Trackside

We’ve Been Nominated….How Amazing..

We found out yesterday that we’ve been nominated in the very first F1 Fan Awards. These are meant to be a light hearted nod from the fans, who we all know don’t get much of a say in anything F1 so what a welcome relief they are!
FullSizeRender-28To even be nominated is simply amazing, considering we have only been blogging since the start of the year and only been able to take our followers and fans to races with us since the Spanish GP.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who enjoys what we do and understands that we do it because we know its what fans want.

Fans want that little bit more, to know that little extra piece of info, to feel included in the team and that they matter!!

Of course fans matter, without fans there in no Motorsport!!

We’d appreciate a vote, although these are not meant to be take too seriously we like you love our sport, so we are in it to win it!!

Thank you

Sandra & Ben

 >> Please vote here <<

A Tale Of Two Cities

As Thursday morning begins so does the start of a Grand Prix weekend. Barcelona marks a change for all the teams. Gone are the long haul flights and mostly modern circuits with purpose built hospitality suites. Now we enter the period of the season where we visit the most historical circuits and also have the purpose built team hospitality suites.

This extra team space gives the press, television and sponsors lots of opportunity to take advantage of the surroundings and as such they plan various events and filming sessions with drivers and team bosses.

brandcentre

The McLaren Brand Centre is one of the best looking and most functional hospitality units in the paddock. There are 50+ TV screens, a fully functioning internal network that is the equivalent to a small business premises as well as a wireless network for guests, a PA system and many other features that will be used by the above mentioned people to maximize their event or filming session.

Luckily for me these systems behaved themselves and the weekend passed with no real drama.

The first European race is exciting and the prospect of the ever-developing McLaren Honda making its way up the grid makes this particular race weekend one to savour. However, there was a once of jealousy in me as I was regularly updated by Sandra in Brands Hatch telling me what a great time she was having. I love racing and to see the cars in the Blancpain GT series would have been a treat, especially the McLaren 650S GT.

After the race was finished the entire paddock remained built, as there was a two day test to commence on the Tuesday. This posses a challenge to many of the teams with large Motorhomes as they have to take down their units on Thursday and travel immediately to the next venue to build there. The next race is Monaco and this also presents it own set of unique challenges the main two being that there is only one road in and out of the paddock area and the second is that the weekend starts on a Wednesday, a day early as there is no F1 running on a Friday.

The de-rig began on Wednesday night straight after the test had finished and was then completed in a full day on Thursday.

The crew then travelled via the company vans to Monaco on Friday.

Monaco is basically a nightmare for teams in terms of organization and logistics. The pit lane is small and there is no space to keep the normal build of trucks and tyre garage/office space directly behind the garages. Instead there is an upstairs section above the garage and everything has to be fitted into that space with the tyres being sorted in the open air in what will become the pit lane in the race.

There is a tiny space between the back of the garages and the start finish straight, just enough of somebody to stand with the pitboard and hang through the fence. From that angle the spectacle of F1 cars bursting down the street is one that cannot be repeated anywhere else in the world.

As I mentioned before the paddock has one road in and out. That is because it is a harbour side that is opposite the Rascasse turn. (Where Schumacher stopped that time).

In its normal guise this area is a car park and residential area. On one side is the sea and the other restaurants and apartment buildings.

For that week the peace for these residents is well and truly disturbed as there parking area is taken over completely with F1.

The first day of the build (Saturday) is a fight between locals and teams as people park their cars where you need to put a truck and Bentleys, scooters and motorbikes ride through to get to the yacht club just beyond the end of the car park.

Building is slow and at times painful as someone is blocking the road with a truck or a piece of lifting equipment. Everybody is trying to get built but in the most part everybody works together to help each other out. Smaller teams or units have to wait for the ‘big boys’ to get done before they can move in but everybody manages to get done and built with literally a foot of space between each unit.

Taking it all down presents the same set of problems so once the final truck leaves the dock it’s a big sigh of relief not only for the teams but the residents of Monte Carlo harbour.

Signing out for another week, see you all again soon

Ben

The Season Starts, Its Lights Out & Away We Go..

Here we are, its finally arrived and the season has got under way for both of us! Before we go any further, the plan is to both post once a week each with our antics throughout the season and therefore give a realistic insight as to what working within F1 and British Motorsport in 2015 really involves and taking all of you on the ride along with us this season.

Being a local to the circuit of Brand Hatch, I don’t need to find an excuse to go and with Ben away in Barcelona with his F1 team i’m not sitting at home moping around this year! I would still prefer it if he were here, we are such a team neither functions that well without the other so I am still missing him like crazy even with all my own motorsport action this season.

So we move onto this week, on Saturday I headed up to Brands, I should have been with Ali Rushforth’s team all weekend, were it not for a touch of fate getting in the way, as Ali went to load the car he started her up and it became clear that her engine had blown, so that as they say was that, his MG Trophy race weekend over before it had even started.

Ali needed to source another engine so he still came down on the Saturday so I had the chance to grab a chat and have a catch up before off Ali went to see what could be found. Astoundingly by the time he left to go back to Didcot that afternoon he had it all sorted and so onto Donington for him, however, what does that say about the MG community? competitors and rivals on track but friends and family off track and willing to rally round to help.

It was still a good day and I had gone up to Brands Hatch with our once twitter friend who’s now become a great friend in the real world too Mark, he kept me company on Saturday and we were planning this weekend which sees us trackside yet again at Brands Hatch for the Blancpain GT’s and we shall be spending the day in Stopwatch Hospitality again.

I also got to meet up with others that till then I only spoke to on twitter, Jay Mooney being one. Jay is another MG Trophy driver and genuinely didn’t mind spending some time chatting, likewise was the lovely Nathalie McGloin, who is the ONLY female in the UK with spinal injuries and an ARDS.

Nathalie and I had spent the previous week chatting and I got to interview her in this PitCrewOnline piece. It was nice to go and meet her and put a face to the name, especially as she had just finished 12th in her 2nd ever race! A name to watch and I will definitely stay in touch and follow her season with interest.

After a long day and lots of new faces it was time to head home a little tired and overwhelmed with the day, little did I realise that Saturday was NOTHING compared to the week coming.

The week started quietly and I got to work at writing and publishing Nathalie’s piece, then the most crazy series of events happens…

In case you didn’t know I also write for www.thepitcrewonline.net and some of the crew are followed by different people to me. They were all RTing the interview and somehow WEC Spa 6hrs winner Fernando Rees had seen it and Favourited it, what happened next is now a bit of a blur, the short story is he allowed me to interview him next. To say i was absolutely stunned is an understatement, i’m still in shock I think

My Fernando Rees interview will go live in the very near future! (FR interview can now be found here)

Around the same time I was talking with British GT’s driver Dennis Strandberg,  as i’ve been working on him being my next driver interview, at the time he wanted to wait till after his next race which was last Sunday at Rockingham. He came 2nd in the GT4 class with his team mate Will Moore and so we had something to talk about, although with my busy week we’ve not yet finished that, but in the meantime its been fun getting to know him, definitely give him a follow, he only recently joined twitter and so its very easy to chat with him there, and oh my what a week of joking that has been!!

There’s also some other things going on that I can’t yet share yet, I certainly will as the seasons progress and the times become right.

Its Ben’s turn next and so early next week, Tuesday I believe he will be posting his 1st week away racing, so you’ll all get your F1 fix then.

catch you all again soon

 

Sandra