The next race on the Calendar is Austria. This is a place that is new to me. Last year I was recovering from an operation so did not attend the race.
Going to new places comes with a bit of excitement and intrigue as to what you might find and what the place is like in general. I had heard good things about the circuit and of the hotel but you need to make up your own mind. Everybody on the team has their favorite places and in most cases there are differences in opinion.
The hotel we checked into was very nice and the staff very friendly. There was a home like feel to the place and in the evening the meals were freshly made by one chef so it was home cooking of sorts. The main order for the entire stay was schnitzel. There are many different variations of schnitzel and I can tell you that I sampled every one of them more than once! I also made a discovery in pumpkin oil. It is served on salads and it was so nice that a bottle came home with me. I urge you to find it and try it. An old man who was at the bar when I was given the bottle by the hotel owner informed me that it was very good for the workings of the downstairs area! What part of that area is unclear as he only spoke German but I think that he was referring to prostate cancer? I think!
For one of the meals and on the last breakfast we were given a special chocolate F1 car each that had the name of the hotel on and the Mclaren logo on the rear wing. There was also a short note thanking us for our stay and how much fun they have had with us staying there. AS I said before it was family atmosphere there and that showed it.
Now I will move onto the circuit. The RedBull Ring. As you probably already know this was once the A1 ring and has staged F1 on and off for many years. However since it was last on the calendar RedBull have done an excellent job of upgrading the facility. I do not wish to be to negative on this blog, however for people that don’t know me I have a very strong opinion on the state of a certain circuit that starts with an S and ends in ilverstone. I hope that somebody connected to that certain circuit may read this blog because I would urge them to go and have a look at how a F1 paddock and facility should be upgraded. Every part of the RedBull ring has been carefully thought about and then finished off to a high standard. To add to that the surrounding area is beautiful and just like something from The Sound of Music. It is definitely one of the alternative European races I would recommend coming to.
This was another race that was followed by a test and just like in Barcelona the time to get to the next circuit and set up was tight.
There was talk of having to do a back to back race de-rig which basically means that you start straight after the test finishes and don’t stop until it is all packed up. This can be from 17-25 hours depending on the paddock and smoothness of the pack up.
Luckily this was not the case but we still had to go straight to Silverstone (That certain place!) and start the build the next day. This was quite frustrating as you are back in your home country but still quite far away from your family.
I wish that I could have brought everybody up to stay with me but there is simply not enough room for everybody to bring their nearest and dearest along.
This makes the race weekend a special one because we do get the opportunity to bring the family up to watch the race and with a bit of organization into where you work too! Even though I talk about it all the time it is not until you enter the paddock and see all the Motor homes and race trucks that you get a real impression off the scale of the F1 circus.
It is also nice to meet everybody else’s family. You live and work with the your team for such a large part of the year it is nice to finally meet people you have heard so many stories about.
After Silverstone was all packed up I drove home and finally got to spend some time in the home I had just moved into when I left for Austria which by now is almost a month in the past. However I was not there very long. There were some repairs and other small jobs that had popped up during the time away and that meant that we had to go into work straight away.
Once that was out of the way Sandra and I packed the car and headed to Spa Francorchamps for the British GT Championship. (Blog to follow). Two Days after that had finished I was driving one of the crew vans to Hungary. One of the vans is driven in rotation and it was my turn.
After Hungary is the two week shut down and let me tell you I am looking forward to that very much and hopefully we can take life in second gear or maybe even in park!