… Especially without the effing Red Bull logo.
Was that a Freudian shunt in Korea, Mark?
I feel sorry for Sebastian about his eleventh hour engine failure, but I’m happy to see a great tradition emerging. Your car’s on fire, you’re the one to douse the flames. F1’s equivalent of the Captain only leaving his ship when nothing can be done any more. Stuff of legends.
I feel personally responsible for this. For years I’ve shown the way by keeping a fireman’s helmet in my office, and extinguishing a proverbial fire or two. Mostly after having started them myself, but that’s a minor detail.
Keep going, lads. Much praise for our courageous drivers, and for the pit wall crews who hand them their blowers.
No idea how she got my number, but there she was. Said she’d watched our Tea Party from her house, and that it was really time for us to Man Up. Apparently she couldn’t bear the sight of two dozen manly men, huddling under umbrellas and waiting for the rain to stop in order to go about their business.
Ms Palin, I said, first of all it was not a Tea Party. It was a race. A Formula One Grand Prix at that. And second, it was in Korea. I don’t think you could see it from your house, because Japan is kind of sitting in the way.
“Mr Ecclestone,” she says. (I hate it when people call me that. It’s either Mr E, or Bernie if I know you.) “Mr Ecclestone, don’t try to catch me out like all those socialist media wussies. Many tried and it’s getting old. When I say I can see it from my house that’s proverbially speakin’. And what I do see is what your people say on Twitter. Or actually, my people see that. I try to stay away from it because by gollie, there’s always sumtin’ going wrong when I do it myself.
“And I’ll be gosh darned if I’ll Continue reading
Some of the lads in Korea came up with a Birthday present they thought fitting for an eighty year old Supremo. A walking frame. Haha. Very funny.
And here’s the steering wheel for the thing. We know all about reinventing those, of course. Anybody see what’s missing? It lacks the most important switch of all: Negotiation Settings. Should have positions, for Wait it out; Hang them out to dry; Squeeze; Extort; and Close the deal.
Just a small hint for my 81st Birthday, laddies. Not sure about you, but I’ll still be there.
Well, the first Korean Grand Prix has happened. And what a race it was. A brand new circuit, five Championship contenders and the outskirts of a tropical typhoon.
It’s had quite the cozy feeling to it. Only the very hardcore F1 followers had dared to venture into the unknown. It felt like a small gathering of friends in between big events elsewhere.
It makes me realise that very few of you have had the chance to experience the new circuit in the flesh, so to speak. So let me share with you a few pictures that tell the story of how Mokpo differed from other Grand Prix experiences.
For those who want it all on one page: Continue reading
Suddenly everybody is treating me like an Emperor. Personal plates are one thing, but this is taking it to the extreme.
If your country wants to host a future Grand Prix, pay attention. The Koreans are setting a benchmark here.
[Thanks to Adam Cooper.]
They’ve come up with a creative solution: roller races.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. They’re lining up all these rollers on the starting grid, the five lights come on and off and there they go, for a race around the circuit. The idea is that having all these rollers go round forces excess oils out of the tarmac so it won’t come out during the Grand Prix.
It’s fun to see for about half a minute. They say there’s a lot of overtaking but I haven’t waited around to see it happen. One overtaking manoeuver takes nearly half an hour. Lap time is about six hours. Should be fun if someone made a video so you can play it at high speed.
Charlie Whiting’s back in the office. What he saw was a finished circuit. So please stop bothering me, make your travel arrangements, buy your tickets and I’ll see you all in a week’s time.
Oh and one other thing: I said the circuit‘s finished. Paddock too, by the way. And some grandstands. Great stuff, job well done. But don’t expect anything else.
Charlie tells me the Koreans tried to pretend the only thing that still needs to be done is ‘some landscaping’. Forget it. There is no landscape. The place is sitting in the middle of a giant construction site. The lunatics’re building a bloody city in the middle of the circuit, and all around it.
So don’t stare yourself blind on the scene from the F1 2010 video game in the top picture. A computer monitor is the only place where you’ll see the circuit in its proper shape for some time to come. The real deal’s a building pit, and it will remain that for the next two years at least. Bring your boots.
There. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.
How did it go, I asked him. Did the Inspector Frogleg outfit work? “Like a charm,” he said. “Nobody recognised me. One person asked me if I was Mr Bean. They all seem to love Mr Bean over there.” Well, that would explain the construction delays, then. So you could find out how they’re doing without being noticed?
“Oh no,” he says. “I said they didn’t recognise me. But they did notice me. Of course they did. How could they not? I stuck out like a sore thumb. Literally. This is some backwater deep in South Korea, you know. I was the only Westerner for hundreds of miles around.”
“But I did find out how they’re doing. Continue reading
Koreans are deadline junkies. The circuit’ll probably be ready just in time, and the grandstands will be empty. But now the lads are getting restless too. Complain that they have to book their tickets while still being uncertain if there will be a race.
That’s your typical team boss: operating on a hundred million annual budget and getting all worked up over a 50 quid cancellation fee.
Of course it doesn’t help that the deadline junkies have managed to stall the final inspection all the way to October 11th. So I’ve told Charlie Whiting, our in-house sleuth, to travel straight from Singapore to Yeongam and have a look-see. Incognito.
Charlie’s not used to cloak and dagger stuff, and he’s quite excited about it. I’ve started calling him Inspector Clouseau, which is French for frog leg, and he’s bought a little hat and a raincoat with a big collar.
Let’s hope he brings good news. I’ll keep you posted.