Felipe Baby

So the McLaren hearing yadda yadda, who cares, right?

This is much more fun. You remember Rob Smedley on Massa’s radio back in Sepang? Here’s a quick reminder:

Well, Christine over at Sidepodcast.com (yes I know I plug them a lot) has recorded a tribute song to wish him better luck! If you do nothing else this week, at least go and take a listen to this.

Clearly it didn’t work for Bahrain but I’m thinking he was too busy with qualifying and everything to hear it – perhaps for Spain?

Today it was even played to Smedley himself on a BBC local radio station up North somewhere, where he was a guest! Everyone at SPC is quite flabbergasted at this happening – it was just a little something for the commenting/blogging community and now Rob has heard it and has a copy! Will Felipe be next to hear it? Will it get a mention on the BBC F1 or radio coverage from Barcelona? We will be listening to everything they say..

Race Notes: Bahrain Grand Prix 2009

2009 Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
Circuit: Bahrain International Circuit
Location: Sakhir, Bahrain
Coverage: BBC One
Distance: 57 laps

Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard (DC) and Eddie Jordan (EJ)
Race commentary: Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
Pit and paddock reports: Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

We’re using Supersoft and Medium tyres this week.

** Disclaimer – These are notes taken during the race. They may or may not make any sense and I have only edited them for brevity, punctuation and grammar. **

BBC coverage is a GO at 12.10pm UK time. 50 minutes to race start.
EJ: Two clashing pairs of pink shirts, why didn’t you tell me I had to wear pink?

Qualifying report with Ted:
- In Q1 Sutil blocked Webber on the final corner of the lap. Webber was on a hot lap.
- Sutil gets 3-place penalty.
- BMW are 1sec/lap off the pace.
- Kovalainen wasn’t happy with 11th after an electrical problem in practice.
- Raikkonen used all his new tyres in Q1 and Q2 so had none left for Q3, result: 10th.
- RBR has race-winning pace with Vettel.
- Toyota on front row, Trulli says it is time to get the first Toyota win.

START ORDER
Trulli (pole), Glock
Vettel, Button
Hamilton, Rubens
Alonso, Massa
Rosberg, Kimi
Heikki, Nakajima
Kubica, Heidfeld
Piquet, Buemi
Fisichella, Webber
Sutil (pen), Bourdais

Ferrari report, basically saying “Ferrari’s current form isn’t great is it.” Features classic F1 clips!!
Jean Alesi is in Bahrain for Speedcar: One driver is world champion, Kimi, the other nearly won it at the last second. They are missing something technically, they are not quick enough.
Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari: We need to look forward and solve the issues we have. We could have been faster but even with that we should have scored points in the first three races.

LeeMcK: For now the Prancing Horse is injured.

BBC Trio of Jake, David and Eddie are outside the Ferrari garage chatting about them. Nothing interesting to report here..

35 mins to go and a short 10-15 second ‘local culture’ video montage, excellent!

Jake leaves the other guys at Ferrari and walks to McLaren to introduce a recorded interview with Lewis Hamilton.
Summary: He’s here to have fun and race and win. It was hard to have his integrity questioned. He’s committed to McLaren.
Jakes asks if he’s willing to up with “the bad stuff” in order to stay in F1, Lewis says “absolutely!”.

12:30 PITLANE OPEN
Hamilton leaves the pits followed by a BMW.

Martin’s track guide:
3.4 miles, hot, sandy. DC is with him.
DC: The apex for turn 1 determines the line for turn 2. I had an accident at 200mph when a brake disc exploded, no worries about safety here.
Nice comparison between Hamilton and Button’s lines – Jenson was faster and you could see it.
DC: No chance of rain but a reasonable chance of a sandstorm bringing sand on to the track. (not necessarily during the race, it could be deposited there any time)

We’re live again.
EJ: Glock is lighter. Trulli did this before in Monaco, he had pole and he won it.

12:37 Martin’s live gridwalk:
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin is also on the grid but doesn’t want to be interviewed on TV – Brundle not happy about that and will doorstop him privately later! Eric Clapton is ready and willing, he’s here now:
EC: I love Ferrari, I love Grands Prix and this is a great venue. Ferrari will be alright, couple more races!
As Eric turns away we see Peter Windsor dive straight in to talk to him!!
The left side of the grid is in the shade which will help them.

His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Bahrain:
HRH: The heat is one of the challenges of the Middle East. I’m careful not to make predictions so I hope we have a successful race.
I like HRH, he’s very relaxed and not ‘up himself’. This is the 6th Bahrain GP!
Martin can’t find any drivers. Maybe keeping cool in the aircon of the garage?
John Button, Jenson’s dad: He’s so totally relaxed it’s unbelievable.
Rubens: It’s gonna be crazy for everyone for water temperatures in the engine. We have to be in free air.
Pat Symonds, Renault: The temp is 6deg higher than predicted and the predicted headwind hasn’t appeared. It’s gonna be hot.
Massa accepts a chat: I wanna finish and I hope with good points. In a hot race like that anything can happen.

Excellent grid walking! Ultra-extended edition.

Bahraini National Anthem. Backing track only, no singing..

Ted’s analysis of qual:
Actual:
Trulli, Glock, Vettel, Button, Hamilton
Fuel-adjusted:
Trulli, Vettel, Button, Glock, Hamilton.
Glock and Trulli should stop first.

EJ picks Trulli to lead from the front.

12:55 FOM INTRO
We join Jonathan and Martin in the comm box.
JL’s first line: At least its not raining!
Live timing has reset.

Engines fired and mechanics clear the grid.

GREEN LIGHT
JL says they are all on the Super Soft.

Rob Smedley on Massa’s radio: The Brawns have cut out the back of their bodywork for cooling.

Trulli is taking his time leading them around. Is this the Ultimate Trulli Train?

Grid forming.

RED LIGHTS 1.2.3.4.5.. GO!

Hamilton up to 3rd straight away. Racing a Toyota now.
Contact at the rear.
Webber is passing cars all over the place! Glock took Trulli on the start.

Lap 1 complete
We’re on L2 – Button takes Hamilton into turn 1.
Webber is still passing, he’s 13th or so. There are cars absolutely everywhere!!

L3 Glock leads.
Glock, Trulli, Button, Hamilton, Vettel, Rubens, Kimi.
Kubica and Nakajima both pit for nosecones.

Start replays.
Replay of Button’s nice move on Hamilton.
L4 Massa pits for new nose and tyres. Ted speculates they may also have a KERS problem.

L5 Cars are spreading out now. Toyotas trading fastest laps.
Webber is up to 11th! Hell of a drive. Helped by 3 cars pitting but that’s impressive from where he started, and for Fisichella one place behind him.

L6 Martin says Vettel needs a faster pace than this, he’s following behind Hamilton at the moment.

L8 Toyotas and Button are really pulling away from the field.
Ted: Button has now been told to ‘turn his engine down’ to keep it cool.
This early??

Nosecam! Camera close to the ground with no bodywork in vision, very cool.

Rubens radio: You will have to use the overtake button to get past him.
He’s behind Vettel.

L10 Martin thinks Glock is going to pit soon (already).
Vettel radio: Target plus 2. Save your tyres.
Martin: Target plus two seconds I’d imagine.

L12 Glock pits from the lead. 9.3? He’s out alongside Rosberg, Nico beats him so he’s 9th.
Hamilton team radio: Prime is slower, Prime is slower recommend Option for next stint.
Hamilton: I agree, I agree.

L13 Trulli pits from the lead. 8.9. He’s out alongside Alonso and beats him! Trulli 6th and has changed to the medium tyres.
Martin says the paddock expected the supersofts to be the things to have and they’ve been taken by surprise.

L14 Heikki pits according to timing, we haven’t seen it on TV yet. Alonso alongside Trulli, he takes him!

L15 Barrichello pits and takes the supersofts. He’s out and beats Fisichella for 10th.

L16 Button and Hamilton pit. Both take supersofts.
Martin wonders if he’s misunderstood the Prime/Option discussion earlier. They don’t call them supersofts and mediums and he assumed prime meant soft, it actually means medium. Are you confused yet?

L17 Alonso pits. Supersofts. Button has passed both Toyotas during the stops and Trulli is ahead of Glock.
We don’t see where Alonso emerges because we’re watching Rubens fight with Nelsinho.
Rubens raises his arm! Does he think Nelson is blocking him? He is being held up but it is for position, can’t expect blue flags. On the straight Piquet has the KERS and Barrichello does not, Barrichello is a lot faster through the corners.
Rubens gets alongside at the tight left but Piquet jumps on KERS and just drives away from him!

L18 Bourdais pits. Replay: Rubens passes Piquet on turn one, nice move.
L19 Vettel pits from the lead. Raikkonen now leads but is yet to stop. Vettel on the medium tyres and he’s out behind Trulli and ahead of Rosberg, so he’s 4th.

L20 Vettel radio: The car in front is Trulli. Rosberg behind will stop in two laps.
Replay: Rubens passes Glock for 7th. Made it look easy, does Glock have a problem? Is it the medium tyres?

Kimi, Button, Trulli, Vettel, Rosberg, Hamilton, Rubens, Glock, Piquet, Alonso, Sutil, Buemi, Fisi, Webber, Massa, Kova, Bourdais, Kubica, Nakajima, Heidfeld.
L22 Kimi pits from the lead. Supersofts. Rosberg is in too. Kimi is out behind Piquet for 9th. Piquet has not stopped.
Buemi pits from 12th.

L24 Massa radio: The KERS is not working very well?
Massa: Yes the KERS.
L25 Hamilton radio: Trulli is on prime, he’s stopping at a similar time to you, we’re trying to out run him.
Button leads Trulli by 9 seconds. Trulli has Vettel and Hamilton close behind with Barrichello catching quickly.
Glock is next and 2 seconds per lap slower.

L27 Barrichello pits from 5th. Comes in just as he catches the slower cars ahead of him, nice timing. Supersofts. Beats Rosberg to the first corner for 8th. Hasn’t he run supersofts all the way? That means he has top stop again to run the mediums.

L30 Pretty stable at the moment. Things should happen in the final stint when the Brawns and Hamilton are on mediums and Toyotas and run the faster supersofts.
Hamilton radio: We believe you are 2 laps longer than Trulli. Vettel is even longer but you are racing Trulli for a podium.
Martin: So McLaren think Button is going to win it!

We’re a couple of laps over halfway and the first car has only just been lapped! Such a hot pace from everybody. No retirements, just delays to some cars for repairs. Another car is lapped as Nakajima exits the pits.

L32 Button is now 13.9 seconds ahead of Trulli. Not sure why Hamilton’s KERS isn’t getting him past Vettel – we saw the difference between Piquet and Barrichello earlier.

Ted has been running between garages for a straw poll: The consensus among the engineers is that Jenson is on a 2-stop, possibly switched from a 3-stop and that option is still available.

L34 Glock pits from 7th. Supersofts. He’s used both compounds and now can choose the preferred tyre. Now 10th.
L35 Trulli radio: Try to open a gap to Vettel, he’s longer than us but he’s on the prime tyre for the lasta steent.

Shot of John Button in a pink shirt.
Martin: Pink shirts, everyone is in pink shirts. Jake, DC, Daddy Button.
Jonathan: Tempted?
Martin: Not yet.

Kubica pits but he’s a lap down. BMW having a nightmare. 18th and 19th. Massa is about to be lapped by Button but Massa has stopped once more than most of the field.

L37 Bourdais pits from 14th.
L38 Button pits and takes mediums. 2-stopper then. Trulli and Hamilton also pit. Lewis has medium and Jarno has supersoft.
Barrichello passes Hamilton in the stops.
Fisichella, Kovalainen and Webber pit – they were running close together. McLaren was wrong about Trulli stopping later.

L39 Barrichello makes a move on Trulli but overshoots.
Ted says Jenson has been complaining of traffic.
We haven’t seen it.
Hamilton radio: Barrichello has to stop in ten laps.

L40 Vettel leads by 11.5 from Button but needs to stop. He pits now. Long train of cars coming down the road and he beats all except Kimi, he beats Trulli!

L43 Nakajima has jumped the two BMWs which now run dead last.
Martin: Trulli is on supersofts, if he can get past Vettel on the mediums he could get a run on Button who is also on mediums.

L44 Ted: Lots of people at BMW looking miserable. Both cars have sustained aero damage and both were converted to one-stops so their tyres are completely destroyed as well.
I never understood why teams switch to one-stoppers.

L45 Raikkonen pits from a long second stint. He’s out alongside Glock and isn’t able to maintain the place, so he’s 8th. Kimi wakes up and hits KERS, he’s past Glock straight away!

L46 Rosberg pits.
Replay: Kubica takes a look at passing Nakijima but hits him and spins!
L47 Massa pits. He’s well down the order, out of the points.
L48 Barrichello is in from 4th on his 3-stopper and takes his mediums. He just beats Raikkonen and Glock, it was a very short stop.

Button is 12.9 up on Vettel, then 1.1 to Trulli, Hamilton, Rubens, Kimi, Glock, Alonso, Rosbeg, Piquet, Webber, Kova, Bourdais, Fisi, Massa, Sutil, Buemi, Naka, Kubica, Heidfeld.

French Seb is kicking Swiss Seb’s ass today – he needed that to save his career.

L50 Nakajima pits for some reason. Late stop? No we cut to him and he’s pulled into the garage to retire. Only one retiree with 7 to go, that’s impressive in the heat here.

L51 Massa and Fisichella touch as Massa takes the position – all of 14th. Button is up behind them to lap them, Fisi seems to be blocking him!
It cost Button 1.5 seconds on that lap. He’s now 11.1 ahead of Vettel, still a big gap for the laps remaining.

L55 All very stable now, nothing much going on. Vettel and Trulli are catching Button rapidly but he’s clearly turned his settings down.

Grandstands don’t look too bad, the main one has a lot of people. Can’t see into the others dotted around.

L56 FINAL LAP
JL: What have we learnt? This is the first dry race. (err, what was Australia then, JL?)
Martin: The Brawn is the best car, the gap isn’t great to Red Bull. Ross Brawn’s sabbatical, he hasn’t lost his strategic ablility.

Jenson Button WINS!
Vettel 2nd
Trulli 3rd

Button radio! Congrats from the team, congrats from Button. He’s happy with the big points lead they’ve built up going into the European season. I think he feels very good to finally take a chequered flag at racing speeds in a Brawn!

Cars heading back to Parc Ferme. I never realised how slowly they did it. Now we’re on the BBC we are watching it happen, ITV always went to commercials here.

Button get on to his car and throws his arm in the air!
Martin says the BBC Forum is going to be at Brawn, that’ll be interesting!

Drivers to the podum, with Ron Meadows the team manager of Brawn. Nice to send him instead of Ross Brawn. Jarno Trulli doesn’t look happy.

British national anthem for Button and Brawn.

Trophies. Legard needs to stop talking about football.

Champaa… no, not champage. Muslim country so we have a local rose water drink instead. We don’t even get Bob Constanduros shouting “rose waaaaateeerrrrrr”.

We’re back with Jake, Eddie and David, seated this time.

Lee with Hamilton: Delighted with 4th, it was so hard to keep up with the guys, they were fast in the corners. It can be hot in this heat.

It is hot in the heat. Yep. Often is.

Press conference with Peter Windsor:
Button: Tough race. We haven’t had the pace we had at the first few races, I guess these guys have caught up. We knew Sebastian was longer but we made it work.
Vettel: The start was okay then all of a sudden Lewis was there, when I looked in my mirror he was not there but I guess he pressed his special button. (he talks about tyre degradation)
Trulli: I am a bit disappointed because I wanted the first win for Toyota. We had a long stint on hard tyres, it was hard fighting a lot of cars. At the end I was quicker (than Sebastian) but could not overtake so that’s how the race was. I want to thank the team.

Drivers of the day?
DC: Jenson and Lewis.
EJ: Vettel, we saw him dominate in the wet and this was his chance to show what he can do in the dry, I’d add him to the two DC gave.

3pm and we’re out of here. BBC closes the show with “I can see clearly now, the rain has gone”. Very good. :-)

Race Result

1. Button 57 laps [10]
2. Vettel + 7.1 sec [8]
3. Trulli + 9.1 (to Button) [6]
4. Hamilton + 22.0 [5]
5. Barrichello + 37.7 [4]
6. Raikkonen + 42.0 [3]
7. Glock + 42.8 [2]
8. Alonso + 52.7 [1]
9. Rosberg + 65.1
10. Piquet + 67.6
11. Webber 67.6
12. Kovalainen + 77.8
13. Bourdais + 78.8
14. Massa + 1 lap
15. Fisichella + 1 lap
16. Sutil + 1 lap
17. Buemi + 1 lap
18. Kubica + 1 lap
19. Heidfeld + 1 lap
DNF Nakajima + 9 laps

FL Jarno Trulli 1:34.556 on lap 10

Drivers Championship

1. Button 21+10 = 31
2. Barrichello 15+4 = 19
3. Vettel 10+8 = 18
4. Trulli 8.5+6 = 14.5
5. Glock 10+2 = 12
6. Webber 9.5
7. Hamilton 4+5 = 9
8. Alonso 4+1 = 5
9. Heidfeld 4
10. Kovalainen 4
11. Rosberg 3.5
12. Raikkonen 0+3 = 3
13. Buemi 3
14. Bourdais 1

Button extends his lead. Vettel gains on Rubens. Trulli is up two places and Hamilton jumps from 10th to 7th. Raikkonen scores some points!

Constructors Championship

1. Brawn Mercedes 36+14 = 50
2. RBR Renault 19.5+8 = 27.5
3. Toyota 18.5+8 = 26.5
4. McLaren Mercedes 8+5 = 13
5. BMW Sauber 4
6. Renault 4+1 = 5
7. STR Ferrari 4
8. Williams Toyota 3.5
9. Ferrari 3
10. Force India Mercedes 0

Look at that points leads after just four races. Can they be beaten? McLaren have awoken yet are still falling behind the front three. A real shake up in the order this year.

The next race is the Spanish Grand Prix of May 10th, a tighter circuit which is usually one of the more boring races of the year – this will be a good test of the new regulations. Meanwhile the entire F1 paddock will enjoy the break in the knowledge we have no more back-to-back races for the whole year. For the forseeable future we’re back to the fortnightly races around Europe at 1pm, and I for one cannot wait!

* * *
I’m going to be very busy with college work again this week, I hope I’ll get a chance to catch up on the two IndyCar races I’ve not seen yet and post notes about them, otherwise I’ll try to post at least a little something between now and the Previews at the end of the week.

Weekend Preview: 25-26 April 2009

* * * *
Feature Event

FIA Formula 1 World Championship (4/17)
– Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix
- Sakhir, Bahrain

Go to the F1 Preview!

Race coverage:
UK: Live on BBC1 @ 12.10pm BST
US: Live on SPEED @ 7.30am EDT

* * *
Other Major International Events:

IRL IndyCar Series
– RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 (3/17)
- Kansas City, Kansas, USA

Go to the IndyCar preview!

Race coverage:
UK: Live on Sky Sports 2 @ 11.00pm BST
US: Live on VERSUS @ 4pm EDT

MotoGP
– Japanese Grand Prix
- Twin-Ring Motegi, Japan

I can’t say I find Motegi’s watching road course any more enjoyable than its oval.

UK: Live on BBC Two at 6:45am with highlights at 2pm, and a re-run under the Red Button on a rolling loop overnight from 11pm. I expect British Eurosport will run their version as soon as the BBC coverage is scheduled to end.

US: Not sure, probably Speed.

NASCAR Sprint Cup
– Aaron’s 499 (9/36)
- Talledega, Alabama, USA

The taxicabs are on the high banks at Talledega for a long restrictor plate race. What’s the 499 about? It can’t be the mileage because I can’t make the numbers work. It’s a 2.66 mile track. Anyway, restrictor plate tracks are boring, everyone is just waiting for the inevitible huge accident and that’s not fun.

Race coverage:

UK: Live on Sky Sports 2 @ 7pm BST
US: Live on FOX @ 1.00pm EDT Sunday

FIA World Rally Championship
– Rally Argentina (5/12)
- Carlos Paz, Argentina

More dusty gravel.

UK: Eurosport / Dave

* * *
Other Events – check your TV listings:

Grand-Am Rolex Series
- Virginia International Raceway (2/12)
- Virginia, USA

HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship
– Thruxton (2/10)
- Thruxton, Hampshire, UK

The BTCC’s 2nd meeting of the year is at the fastest track in the UK, if you don’t include the Rockingham oval. There are always issues with punctures and pushing the limits at the ultra-fast Church corner out at the back of the track.

I was all set to attend this meeting but an overdose of college work has prevented it!

UK: Live on ITV4 and at www.itv.com/itv4 from 11:30am to 6pm, including lots of support races such as FRenault, the Clio Cup and those Ginetta things.

GP2 Asia Series
Sakhir, Bahrain (with F1)

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Talladega, Alabama, United States (with N-Cup)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Kansas City, Kansas, United States (with IndyCar)

Firestone Indy Lights
Kansas City, Kansas, United States (with IndyCar)

Star Mazda & FBMW NA
Virginia, USA (with GrandAm)

IndyCar Preview – Kansas 2009

IRL IndyCar Series
– Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 (3/17)
– Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas, United States
– 200 laps
www.indycar.com
Track Map

Event History
Going to be honest, I have no idea.

Circuit
It’s a 1.5 mile oval and it should be highly entertaining. The IRL visits a lot of 1.5 mile ovals – remember when American Open Wheel featured the long superspeedways and the short low-banked one milers? What happened to that?

I can’t find a decent YouTube or DailyMotion vid of the track action other than some practice shots of lone cars, which is a bit lame really. Ovals are only exciting when there is more than one car on it.
EDIT – SandWedge pointed out this excellent vid from 2003 which I somehow missed, thanks!

Form
First oval of the year so nobody knows! Will the former ‘transition’ teams be up to speed in the race? It looks like it because the front row is made up of Rahal and Doornbos! How will Robert cope with starting his first oval race up front?

Support Races
NASCAR Camping World Trucks, Firestone Indy Lights


US TV: LIVE on VERSUS at 4pm ET!

UK TV: Sky Sports 2 at 11pm! (I *think* it is live but since it follows the NASCAR I can’t be sure – it does seem to tally with the US TV time though)

Sorry for the short and late preview. I don’t know a great deal about this racetrack or history and I’ve been mega busy!

TMR on Two Podcasts!

Amazingly I have appeared on two podcasts in the last week. Hot on the heels of meeting up with the voices and commenters at Sidepodcast.com last week when an impromptu chat was recorded with a whole group of us, I also joined in with the Sidepodpanel on Sunday night! It was a lot of fun and I hope to go on again at some point in time, if they’ll have me. The edited podcasts are now live on the site so go over and check them out!

Sidepodchat:
This is an irregular feature on the website and the Science Museum Meetup provided an ideal chance to hold a version with everyone actually present in person. I had a few words to say but preferred to mill around listening to everyone else speak, as much as was possible with so many people in an open space!
Head here to listen to the podcast, it comes in at a tidy 16 minutes and you can listen on the page or download the MP3.
Although I sent a voicemail just before Melbourne, this was my first ‘proper’ podcast appearance with me talking live and direct into the mike. A very strange experience!

Sidepodpanel (Series 2 Panel 10):
This is a regular series in which two teams of three guests answer questions set by a guest host, with points awarded by Christine who is the host of the other podcasts produced by SPC (as I’m sure you don’t need telling, being regular listeners yourselves).
I was placed with Team Fish & Chips alongside Alex and Scott. We were up against Team Alex’s Trousers comprising Gavin, Steven and Andy. The guest host was Chris Evans (not the TV/radio one). Don’t ask about the team names. :-)

Before listening to this one you should be familiar with this video from the former ITV commentator James Allen.

It was a hell of a lot of fun to take part so thanks to everyone concerned! It was very, very nerve-racking being put on the spot and coming up with something but everyone was nice about it and encouraging – after all, they were all newbies once too – and actually it was a good thing because it meant the questions were pitched at the right level, and made us all think. Nice job Chris!

Head to this page to hear the podcast! This one comes in at less than 40 minutes. Download it and listen after this weekend’s racing action if you prefer.

Don’t forget to catch up with all the Bahrain action with their other podcasts across the weekend including the brilliant aSide with Joe featuring Joe Saward of GrandPrix.com, calling direct from Bahrain.

Race Notes: Chinese Grand Prix 2009

Apologies for the delay, I’m in the final phase of studying so there will be frequent delays on the blog until mid-June. Sorry! I watched this race live albeit away from my computer so I did not take notes live – I am watching this again on Friday night with a beer.

2009 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix
Circuit: Shanghai International Circuit
Location: Shanghai, China
Coverage: BBC One (via iPlayer)
56 laps

Anchor: Jake Humphrey
Analysts in the paddock: David Coulthard and Mike Gascoyne (standing-in for Eddie Jordan)
Race commentary: Jonathan Legard and Martin Brundle
Pit and paddock reports: Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie

** Disclaimer – These are notes taken during the race. They may or may not make any sense and I have only edited them for brevity, punctuation and grammar. **

BBC coverage is GO with classic opener, The Chain!

Unexpected rain in China! Rain was forecast to arrive some time after the race and here we are and it is wet.

Jake Humphrey the tallest TV anchor ever is live in the empty-looking Shanghai pitlane with David Coulthard and Mike Gascoyne, famed F1 car designer and possibly the shortest man in F1.

Light rain and fairly heavy gusts of wind as the guys talk and recap the points.

Top Drivers:
Button 15
Rubens 10
Trulli 8.5
Glock 8

Top Teams:
Brawn 25
Toyota 16.5
BMW 4
Renault 4

Crazy half-points awarded last time out in the rain-shortened Malaysian GP. First time we’ve done the half-points thing in 20 years or something. I forget the exact number of years.

Qualifying report with Lee McKenzie. Highlights:
- It wasn’t raining then.
- Kubica out in Q1.
- Hamilton thanks the team for improving the car, “we’re gradually catching up”.
- Vettel on pole, Alonso 2nd.
- Alonso is light.
- Start order:

Vettel, Alonso
Webber, Rubens
Button, Trulli
Rosberg, Kimi
Lewis, Buemi
Heidfeld, Kova
Massa, Nakajima
Bourdais, Piquet
Kubica, Sutil
Glock (penalty), Fisi

Onboard with Vettel on his one and only lap in Q3, his pole lap described by Martin Brundle. Seb is on fire, brilliant lap.
Recorded segment with Coulthard talking to Webber and Vettel – Seb is in David’s old seat!
Seb: “We did not expect we would be that strong in qualifying.”
Mark: “I spoke to an aerodynamicist and he was in tears at the qualifying result, they had such a hard job over the winter.”

Back with Jake and DC says he’s extremely proud of the team, he had four seasons working with them and developing the cars.

The pitlane is getting busier as we go to Ted and a news roundup:
- Ron Dennis out of the McLaren F1 team, moves over to the ‘automotive’ side.
- Martin Whitmarsh saying they are changing the culture of the business.
- Diffuser update: Now they are legal, McLaren and Renault have brought some to test in China.
- Ferrari: 2 races, zero points. Kimi has given up on the WDC but thinks they can win races later in the year. No KERS for Ferrari in China after reliability issues in Malaysia.
- BMW will not have KERS because they don’t think it provides enough benefit in China.

Wow look at all that news, Ted rocks!

Package: Martin Brundle talking tyre terminology. Graining, marbles. Oh only 30 seconds? BBC going for 101 short and sharp packages before the race. Straight into a recorded chat with Jake and Jenson Button. If they are going too quickly to note it down, how are we supposed to listen to it?

This section is quite long actually. JB says they tested the car pre-season – later than everyone else – and it was fastest by six tenths, “which was quite nice”.

David Coulthard and Mike Gascoyne both agree that JB will win the title this year. Mike says Jenson has matured a lot in the years since he drove for Mike at Renault in 2002.

Martin’s Track Guide but you can go back to my China Preview to see an onboard so I’ll save some space here.

Jake, Martin and Mike are walking along pitlane and through the gate on to the grid. Walking and talking at the same time! These guys are talented. There are 30 minutes until the race starts and the cars are now leaving pit lane.

The main grandstand is full. I’m not sure if that’s a good sign or if the organisers bussed them in – it has been known at this venue in the past.

Gascoyne mentions that ‘Alonso is very light, could be Flav going for some attention.’ (paraphrased) I laugh because Mike used to work for Flav!

Martin Brundle is on the grid and joins the trio. He was hiding under an umbrella while the guys are unprotected. They joke.

Martin: These installation laps to the grid are the first laps they’ve done in the wet all weekend. There is no practice or warmup before the race these days.
DC: I’d want to do an extra lap of prep if I had the fuel available to do so.
Mike: Did your engineer ever tell you to ‘stay cool baby’?
DC: I never had that intimate a relationship with my engineer.

I already think Mike should permanently replace EJ in this role.

Lewis on his out-lap to the grid. A LOT of spray and standing water.

Martin collars DC and they BOTH do the Gridwalk!!

MB: There’s a Renault guy here with Red Bull because they supply engines, where do his loyalties lie?
DC: With Red Bull because he works for Red Bull, he supplies the engine. They’re delighted with pole. Renault are very fair with their supply. The guys trying to butt in on Kai Ebel of German TV who is interviewing Vettel! Kai backs out.
SV: We have the fuel on board, everyone knows. We are in quite early compared to others.
(A Premiere mike appears.)
DC: Why do you name your cars? Your cars are female I presume?
SV: Yes they are always female. You should have a good relationship.. I don’t know. You respect her and you try to treat her well, anyway you are the man for when it comes to women, so..
Martin pulls DC away before he can reply and they make a beeline for Alonso’s Renault.

Martin trying to pushing his way through and interrupts some other language broadcaster who is waiting her turn patiently. “We booked months ago, honestly!”
FA: We have a completely different race now in these conditions. We go for some points, we see how many.

Martin doesn’t like the qualifying system. Fuel-corrected Barrichello is on pole because if you adjust it for the weight they carried, he was fastest.

Guys darting from car to car looking for people, asks Steve at McLaren (ex-Autosport man) where Lewis is. He’s in the garage. DC – it means he’s in the toilet doesn’t it.

That was The.Best.Gridwalk.Ever. I hope someone capped it on to YouTube, I will look for it later.

Ted reports on his analysis of when everyone will stop which is fantastically awesome for a dry race but I really don’t think it means anything in a wet race.
Back live and Ted has found that Toyota have elected to start Glock from the pitlane. May as well, they were at the back after a penalty for a gearbox change. Briatore doesn’t look happy.

Ted with Pat Symonds of Renault – we have a Safety Car start due to the wet conditions. He says it’s the worse thing that could have happened to them because they were light.

Ultra-rapid editing turnaround as we get a montage of cars and personnel on the grid. I’ve never seen editing as fast as these little packages before we hit the World Feed. Stunning.

WORLD FEED - we join Jonathan Legard and the FOM-supplied pictures

JL: In the year of the ox, how appropriate is it that there’s a Red Bull in a China shop?

Lots of water streaming off the main buildings.

We have a Safety Car start so there will be NO FORMATION LAP. When the green light is lit we will be on lap one immediately.

MB – Bit underwhelmed to get up to the comm box and see it is a Safety Car start quite honestly, these are the best drivers in the world. The car I want to be in is the Red Bull, it seems the best balanced for the conditions.

We missed the Chinese national anthem, I think we were in the gridwalk at the time. No mention in the coverage. I’m not fussed about anthems per se, I just like to hear it as part of the atmosphere of the event and the build up to the race, as if you were in the stands. I guess being on the grid is just a little bit more interesting so I won’t complain :-)

START ORDER
Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Barrichello, Button, Trulli, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Buemi, Heidfeld, Kovalainen, Massa, Nakajima, Bourdais, Piquet, Sutil, Fisichella
Electing to start from pitlane: Kubica and Glock

GREEN LIGHT
Bernd Maylander in the Mercedes AMG Safety Car leads the field away from the grid. Under wet start rules we are now GO Go go in a very underwhelming manner.

56 to go (56/56)
(I’m doing laps to go this week, usually I take the current lap from the live timing counter but I’m watching this on Friday!)

Onboard camera inside the SC, all smiles in there. Guys make the point that if you rode with Bernd you’d get out breathless, it only looks pedestrian compared to F1 cars.

One SC lap gone. Martin says they’ll bring it in pretty soon. Legard says conditions aren’t getting better but they are not getting worse.
Martin says the issue here is aquaplaning, skimming over the water not in control of the car.
Button radio – visibility is very very bad, got aquaplaning.
Ted Kravitz – both Williams drivers can’t conceive of the SC coming in yet.

We can only see three cars coming down the straight at any one time, so much spray. Not Fuji 2007 levels but pretty bad. Similar to Malaysia without the darkness!

54/56 – JL congratulates to Kovalainen for completing a lap!
Vettel radio – there is water on the track but it is okay, we’ve had worse in the past.
Martin agrees but also says the F1 aero and downforce doesn’t work until 70mph so the spray isn’t clearing as well and car temperatures are down. Massa went off track.

53/56 – Rosberg radio: aquaplaning on the main straight.
Martin calls up Mike in the BBC area of the paddock, what’s going on at the pitwall?
“The guys light on fuel haven’t got long left so shall I rejig my strategy and pit now? Those front 3 cars I’d think about pitting now.”
52/56 – Force India are in the pitlane as Sutil pits. Gets a pit stop out of the way when it doesn’t cost them anything. Kimi runs off track at the last corner.
Alonso on the radio: If we start running quick the water will disappear.
Martin: That message is not for us, it’s coded well not at all actually, it’s for Charlie Whiting.

51/56 – Rosberg pits. Hamilton’s radio says it will rain for 30 minutes at least.
Ted comes on and tells us Rosberg was on a 3-stopper, they switched him to a 2.

50/56 – Martin: “We should be motor racing now. Sorry if I sound like a stuck record but we should be getting on with this now, surely.”

49/56 – Alonso pits from 2nd. He should join the back of the pack and we get a message saying the Safety Car will come in at the end of this lap. Let’s see if we can see what’s going on in the spray on this start.

GREEN FLAG

This is the first hot lap in wet conditions for the whole weekend.

Hamilton takes Raikkonen! Kimi tries to hang on but Lewis pulls away around turn 13 and may have hit KERS down the following straight.

47/56 Buemi takes a look at Kimi but thinks better of it, and then again on the straight, still no, then Seb runs very wide at the last turn. Lots of runoff so he gets away with it.

46/56 Heidfeld is off wide at turn one.
45/56 A Brawn and Hamilton went wide at the last turn as well, Martin says that must be where there is a lot of standing water.
Buemi takes Raikkonen! Now Hamilton is slow! Buemi and the two Ferraris pass Hamilton but it baulks Kimi allowing Massa by him as well. Now Bourdais is on Hamilton’s tail.
Replay: Hamilton spun, full 360. Actually quite impressive that he managed to end up pointing the right way!
44/56 Buemi now passes Trulli! Swiss Seb is on a charge.
Massa is now lined up behind Trulli.

Replay: Piquet and Fisichella have a little tap. We go live just as Glock’s front wing taps Heidfeld into a spin.

43/56 Massa passes Trulli. Replay: Glock and Heidfeld, Glock didn’t know he was there. Replay: Nice move from Massa on Trulli.
42/56 Webber pits from 2nd. He’s out just in front of Trulli. Legard says he’s in front of the Trulli Train! The train gets a mention on TV!
41/56 Vettel pits from the lead. This is lap 15. Slow away. Nice clear track waiting for him.
Replay: Hamilton passes Raikkonen… again. He passed him, spun, then passed him again. Kimi slow in the wet, Lewis quick but hanging it on the edge..
Kovalainen passes a Toyota and someone follows him. We’re struggling to see who, may be Bourdais.

40/56 Button leads from Barrichello but neither have stopped. Glock starting at the back has caught Trulli who is slow in the wet. Martin says Lewis had a slow lap (on the timing screen) and lost the place to Kimi again.

39/56 Ted: When Vettel’s engineer saw the lap time of the Brawns his head dropped…
As Ted speaks we see a Toyota with no rear wing! Meanwhile a BMW is in with a new nose. Replay: Kubica hits Trulli hard! Completely destroys the rear wing of the Toyota. Trulli slow into the last turn, Kubica at full speed..

SAFETY CAR
It deploys immediately and picks up the first car which is Glock, not the leader Button. I don’t like that. Hold the SC at pit out until Button appears.

Glock slow without a wing on the backstraight. Button pits before he catches the SC. Pits don’t close any more, remember.
Now Buemi’s front wing is damaged.. Barrichello is in. I believe Vettel now leads.
Replay: Glock slow on the backstraight, Vettel slows down because he doesn’t want to pass a car under yellow and Buemi tags Vettel. Vettel proceeds past the damaged car (this is allowed).

36/56 Mike Gascoyne: Vettel is lighter than Button behind him. Ferrari and McLaren have not stopped and they can only be 7-10 laps from their pit window.

Massa has stopped on the circuit. Marshals run to his car. Three races, zero points. Replay: he just loses drive.
Ted says Vettel has no damage.

35/56 Hamilton radio: This is lap 22 we expect you to get to 33.
SC in this lap. Bourdais spins before the restart.

34/56 GREEN FLAG
Barrichello is losing places. Hamilton passed Raikkonen somewhere, we didn’t see it. Alonso passes Nakajima.
Replay: Hamilton just drives around the outside of Raikkonen!
Vettel 4 seconds faster than Button on that lap..

33/56 Top order: Vettel, Button, Webber, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Kovalainen, BuemiBarrichello
Glock’s front wing is at a strangle angle, he pits. Toyota have a nice little trolley carrying the front wing, little time-saving measure..
Vettel is just driving away from everyone else and making it look easy.

30/56 Button radio: Vettel is only quicker due to the fuel effect.
Nakajima and Glock both run off independently of each other. Martin, are you a fan of the big runoff areas?
MB: Yeah, it keeps them in the race doesn’t it and I’ve hit enough catch fences and posts that I’m quite jealous actually.
Nakajima off the road again a lap later. Rejoins.
Piquet has wiped the nose off his car. Eventually rejoins, all the nose debris is in the gravel. Replay: Took out the polystrene braking marker!
Replay: Sutil wide.

28/56 Piquet pits for his new nose but it’s taking a while.
Webber has passed Button somewhere: replay: Button brakes too late at the end of the long straight and Webber just takes the normal line to pass him.

26/56 In these conditions to only have two drivers out (Trulli and Massa) is quite remarkable. A wet race like this is normally a race of attrition. Impressive.

25/56 Button repasses Webber! Replay: Webber ran off track at the last turn.
Webber is coming back at him and retakes the position! Excellent! He did the same thing as Hamilton earlier, same place.
Button weaving and warming his tyres at racing speeds..

23/56 Hamilton pits. He should get fuel for the rest of the race, where does he come out? He’s 8th on a clear track with good visibility.
Everyone has stopped apart from Kovalainen in 4th.

22/56 Kovy is in now. Kubica’s nosecone is at a funny angle. Has he hit something else or did they not fit this one properly?
21/56 Alonso pits from 5th, looks like he’s out in 9th. Kubica pits for another nose.
20/56 Bourdais is doing donuts on the grass. Martin: What do you give that, 5.9? Oop another 180, that’s the full 6.

French Seb isn’t getting on well with F1 cars, is he?

19/56 German Seb pits. Button retakes 2nd and Vettel is now 3rd. Webber leads but needs to stop.
A slow Renault of Alonso. Up to speed again. Did he spin? Replay: it comes around on him at turn 13.
18/56 Vettel is catching Button. Good traction out of 13 on the onboard.
17/56 Webber pits from the lead. Vettel sets fastest lap. Webber is 3rd just ahead of Barrichello.
Glock takes Raikkonen for 11th.

16/56 Vettel takes the lead! He pulls out from behind Button in the spray and dives by at the end of the long straight.
15/56 Rosberg pits for intermediate tyres! That can’t be the right choice.
Replay: Alonso passes Raikkonen for 11th. I think that might be wrong because Glock was 11th a second ago.
14/56 Button pits, Vettel FL. Full wets for Button. Martin says Rosberg is going pretty well on the inters.
13/56 Barrichello pits and takes full wets, drops to 5th.
Vettel, Webber, Button, Buemi, Barrichello, Hamilton, Kovalainen, Sutil(!)
Martin says Rosberg is 2 seconds off the pace on his intermediates now.

12/56 Nakajima parks it in the garage.
11/56 Martin: I’d love to see that Force India get a point.
He’s doing a good job to stay ahead of Heidfeld and Glock.
10/56 Piquet spins at pit entry. May not have intended to go down the pit entry road.
Martin: I don’t want to beat up on the kid but he’s had three 17th slots on the grid, he’s going to have to raise his game.

9/56 Hamilton runs off the road where he went off earlier, doesn’t spin this time but it lets Kovalainen through.

8/56 Despite the McLarens being in close contact they are catching Barrichello. Replay: Rosberg loses it on the wrong tyres. Sutil is 7th now, I thought he was 8th. Martin says Heidfeld and Glock have passed Buemi because Buemi pitted, I’m guessing Sutil did too. Vettel, Webber, Button, Barrichello, Kovalainen, Hamilton, team by team..

7/56 Rosberg pits for full wets. Hamilton 360 in the last corner, Sutil passes him for 6th!! Very nice drive from Adrian, he’s proving himself a good wet weather driver.

6/56 Oh big accident! Wheels go flying. Must be big because it broke the tethers. Ah shit, it’s Adrian Sutil. Of all the guys to go off.. Onboard replay, can’t see a thing but it just twitches on him. He corrects it and it takes him by surprise.

No SC as yet, I hope that wheel got clear. The car is in the gravel, should be okay if nobody else goes off there.. Adrian is okay it seems.

4/56 No SC, I’m guessing if this had been lap 20 we would get one but since we only have four left they aren’t doing so. Martin says we are very close to SC conditions here with that car in that position, it is a judgement call.

3/56 Double-waved yellows while they recover Sutil’s car. Martin says that’s a close call, the drivers should be really backing off under double-yellows. Needless to say.. they aren’t.

2 to go – Everyone is just trying to make the end now.

Final Lap

SEBASTIAN VETTEL WINS!

What a fantastic drive. He really is excellent in the wet. A 1-2 finish as Webber comes in 2nd. I feel bad for Mark because he’s worked hard for several years only to have Seb come in and take the first RBR win from him – but Seb drove the better race and deserved it on the day.

Cool-down lap.
Parc Ferme.
Replays of the win.
The applauding grid girls!
The podium drivers are met by Joe Bauer

Podium!

German national anthem for Vettel.
British national anthem for Red Bull Racing – erm, don’t they race under an Austran licence in deference to the owners? Should be the Austrian anthem!
Trophies.
Champaaaaagne!

We’re all done. BBC are out of here on the main coverage, they continue on the interactive feed with the F1 Forum. I’ll leave that this week as I am on the replay and can’t find it.

Race Result

1. Vettel 56 laps [10pts]
2. Webber + 10.970s [8]
3. Button + 44.975s [6]
4. Barrichello + 1:01.704 [5]
5. Kovalainen + 1:05.102 [4]
6. Hamilton + 1:11.866 [3]
7. Glock + 1:14.476 [2]
8. Buemi + 1:16.439 [1]
9. Alonso + 1:24.309
10. Raikkonen + 1:31.750
11. Bourdais + 1:34.156
12. Heidfeld + 1:35.834
13. Kubica + 1:46.853
14. Fisichella + 1 lap
15. Rosberg + 1 lap
16. Piquet + 2 laps
17. Sutil + 6 laps
Nakajima – Not classified
Massa – Not classified
Trulli – Not classified

I had no idea the Red Bulls were so far ahead of everyone else at the end there. Other than RBR and Button it was actually a fairly tight finish for F1 with 30 seconds separating 4th from 10th. That’s not bad.

Drivers Championship

1. Button 15+6 = 21
2. Barrichello 10+5 = 15
3. Vettel 0+10 = 10
4. Glock 8+2 = 10
5. Webber 1.5+8 = 9.5
6. Trulli 8.5
7. Heidfeld 4
8. Alonso 4
9. Kovalainen 0+4 = 4
10. Hamilton 1+3 = 4
11. Rosberg 3.5
12. Buemi 2+1 = 3
13. Bourdais 1
(no other scorers)

Button and Barrichello strengthen their positions at the top as Vettel jumps straight into 3rd position with his win. Glock and Webber look good for the fight for 3rd, maybe Trulli too.

Constructors Championship

1. Brawn Mercedes 25+11 = 36
2. RBR Renault 1.5+18 = 19.5
3. Toyota 16.5+2 = 18.5
4. McLaren Mercedes 1+7 = 8
5. BMW Sauber 4
6. Renault 4
7. STR Ferrari 3+1 = 4
8. Williams Toyota 3.5

RBR make big gains and take 2nd position. Brawn have a healthy lead already and Toyota are going extremely well for them. McLaren finally get a semi-respectable score while amazingly Ferrari remain as non-scorers – their worst start in points since 1981.

* * *
Bahrain is up next and we’re part way through that weekend already. I will have notes ready on Sunday evening. I plan to post my previews on Saturday morning and the Long Beach notes on Saturday night.

Sidepodcast Meetup: Science Museum, London

What: Fast Forward F1 exhibition
When: Wednesday 15th April, 2009
Where: Science Museum, Kensington, London

Background: A few weeks ago Mr & Mrs C, the brains behind Sidepodcast.com, mentioned they planned to visit the new F1 technology exhibition at the Science Museum in London, and asked if any of the commenters from the site would like to join them. I tagged along for the ride.

Arriving into London Waterloo on time, I hit a snag: signal failure on the Underground. Being stuck on a hot, sweaty tube train is not a lot of fun and so I arrived at the museum 30 minutes later than planned, not a good start when you’ve never met the other attendees before. Thankfully from reading the comments it seems our hosts arrived mere minutes before I did, something I didn’t realise at the time and it helps that ‘Sidepodtime’ is fairly relaxed and nobody seemed to mind.

Once clear of the bag-search area ubiquitous of any London attraction these days I made a beeline for the McLaren hung upside down from the ceiling, then up the stairs to the designated meeting place where I found a large group of Formula 1 fans!

McLaren on the ceiling

After a quick group photo we made our way to the adjacent exhibit – it’s fair to say as soon as we saw it we were fairly underwhelmed. There are 20 objects arranged in a rough square in a very dark corner of a mezzanine floor above the main lobby, and you got the distinct impression it had been tucked out of the way.

F1 Exhibits (image brightened with Picasa software)

Each exhibit had a small piece of text underneath it explaining what the object was for, which was actually very interesting, the shame about it was that we’d all read the same information online before visiting the museum and it would have been nice to have found out a little more. Perhaps this information was contained within the touch-screens, I tried one of them and couldn’t make much sense of how to use it – it didn’t respond to touches very well.

Here are a few of the goodies at the exhibition:

Pod for premature babies Wheelchair

Medical telemetry system Wellbeing pod (no, we didn’t know either)

Other items included reinforced materials for soldiers’ armour, a magnetic device for cleaning a house heating system, a bicycle (the one at the Ferrari shop seemed more advanced), and some carbon-fibre stairs. Yes I took a (bad) photo of that too.

There was some tech intended for F1 as well, although this KERS device is not currently being used by any of the teams we believed it was intended to end up in the Honda. It would have been the only ‘hybrid’ KERS on the grid to use a combination of a flywheel with battery packs and is perhaps surprisingly small:

Flybrid KERS – a flywheel/battery hybrid system

The funniest moment was the comedy security guard! He took his job FAR too seriously. There was an invisible ‘barrier’ between the walkway and the glass/plastic cases – if you broke the barrier with your hand, or if you leaned in for a close photo an annoyingly loud alarm sounded until you moved back. This guy kept walking briskly around the exhibit telling people off for activating the alarm. Net result: more and more people did it! Only when he was relieved and another more relaxed guard appeared did the buzzing suddenly stop…

A final look

It took about an hour to cover the exhibits at a very slow pace and we hung around for another 30 or so minutes chatting and looking in closer detail, before getting bored of the whole thing. We were having a good time yet this was much more to do with who we were with than what we were seeing. If you are in London or if you are meeting a few people then it’s worth popping in for a while to check out the exhibits because they are interesting – our complaint was that so much more could have been done.

We wandered downstairs to the space section of the museum:

Huygens probe Hubble telescope

The actual capsule from Apollo 10!!

Someone then remembered there is another McLaren stationed at the very back of Museum. We went to take a look and it turned out to be Mika Hakkinen’s crashed car from the 1999 German Grand Prix at the old version of Hockenheim.

McLaren-Mercedes
Diffuser -1999 style Diffuser

By now we’d got entirely bored of the museum – this may have been due to the stuffy heat in there and the many kids running around, after all it was the Easter holidays. We decided to relocate ourselves to nearby Hyde Park for an ice cream and a chat and we stayed there for a very enjoyable afternoon. I’m sure we were there longer than in the museum, not that it matters.
We even broadcast live via justin.tv/sidepodcast which was an interesting experiment, before the audio gear was set up and a ‘Sidepodchat’ was recorded. I think most of us said at least a few words on that – even me!

After that we adjourned to the pub for a refreshing drink or five, a bite to eat, and a lot of alcohol-fuelled debate about F1 and other sorts of racing which is always fun. It’s been quite a long time since my last alcohol-fuelled F1 debate (outside of text comments) so that was good. With that we were done!

They are all a great bunch of people and the C’s are even nicer in person than on the podcasts, which is quite an achievement. Thanks guys for organising everything. And it was nice to finally meet Gavin after talking online for so long!

The following day I wandered around London for a while and located the Ferrari Store in Regent Street, it was good to see they have a relatively modern car (2003) in the main entrance but not being big on Ferrari I didn’t stay long.
I then found another shop I liked a lot: Pole Position, also in Regent Street towards the Piccadilly end. It was here I found some BrawnGP merchandise and so I promptly paid £19.99 for a hat, and the same again for an Aston Martin Racing hat. I do collect racing hats although I no longer wear them as often as I did. The guys in the shop were amazed at how quickly the BrawnGP gear was selling – the consignment had arrived 15 minutes before I did and they had almost sold out!

Suitable satisfied with a very enjoyable two days I made my way back home. Sorry for the long post but I think it deserved it! Take yourself along to the museum if you are in the area and be sure to pick up some F1 gear from Pole Position.

* * *
Links
An edited edition of the chat in the park is due to be released as a podcast soon, I’ll update this post with a link when it appears – let’s not pressure them though, they have a very big schedule of podcasts to record on each race weekend!

CLICK HERE to listen to the latest ‘Aside With Joe’, the regular feature with Joe Saward of GrandPrix.com who calls Sidepodcast every Friday or Saturday from each Grand Prix – it is always a very revealing chat and well worth the listen.

You can view my gallery here or by clicking the thumbnails above. The photos aren’t spectacular but I’m no photographer! I hope it gives something of a flavour to the day.

This is the website of the exhibution.