The last post I made to this blog concerned the passing of Jules Bianchi and the heartfelt tributes that were being paid to the young Frenchman who tragically slipped away, after suffering horrific injuries in Japan the previous year. Since that post, I’ve been back to Japan – and a few other places too – but haven’t spent much time here.
So what’s been going on? And what ever happened to all those cool ‘On This Day’ things you were posting? Well, it’s a bit of a story…
Basically, my role within Formula One shifted a little bit after taking some time out from travelling. I had a fair bit of idle time on my hands that allowed me to indulge in a little bit of creative license and after purchasing a book at a flea market that covered a lot of classic F1 statistics, I put it to good use with the #F1OTD stuff. Sadly, I have had to reel it in as time nearly gets away with me every single day. But be rest assured, I am working on a little On This Day thingy and hopefully it’ll see the light of day soon.
So what else has been happening?
I have recently returned from the US/Mexico back to back, where amongst other things, I hosted our first ever #AskF1PP. I was sitting on a bus with a contributor to the Twitter feed and he suggested doing it. So after a packet of Doritos and a Super Sized Cola, the combined sugar and salt rush resulted in me embarking on this and then sitting petrified that it’d fall flat. After a slow start, it built and I was answering all manner of questions. I had a great time and thank everyone who took part over the hour that I did it. There will be another one soon and maybe we will take to Reddit to do it so that we don’t clog up timelines – but let’s see how that pans out.
Mexico was awesome. The passion and dedication of the fans there was incredible and something that you usually only see at the level when you travel to Japan. I spoke to many people over the course of the weekend including people who were there the last time we raced there, when Nigel Mansell led Patrese home for a Williams 1 -2. Their genuine excitement for the weekend was infectious. The roar from the grandstands was deafening! Nearly everyone who attended the race from the Paddock are saying that they can’t wait to go back – I say nearly everyone as there are a few who got a dose of the Mexican Cha-Cha after drinking the local water – and I for one am looking forward to the 2016 event.
In Mexico I managed to partake in eating crickets. Now usually, I like to avoid these sorts of things but after drinking what can only be described as a pint of tequila, I put myself forward for this rather foolish challenge. So as the mariachi band played and various Mexican men cheered on with cries of ‘aii aiii aiiiiiiiii’, I dug a corn chip into the guacamole and cricket ensemble and munched away. Then I did something truly unbelievable.
I tucked into another.
It was then that I became aware of the consistency inside my mouth and as I struggled to get the next mouthful down, I found myself raising a second pint of tequila to my lips. As I chugged it down, the scratching of antennae and cricket legs bounced off my esophagus and I swore black and blue that I’d never do that again. Of course, I can’t actually confirm if I went back for thirds or not. After then, it’s all a bit of a blur after that second pint of tequila. There are pictures of me dressed in a sombrero, arm draped around some poor soul from a mariachi band and obviously in full song. Needless to say, I probably won’t be welcomed back next year…
America was awesome, as always and Texas put on a great show. Maybe a little too much of a weather show but man, were we lucky to get away with what we did. As we saw, the next week COTA got hammered by an even bigger storm causing a great deal of damage with flooding, overturned buildings and a massive lightning strike to the main grandstand. To everyone out at COTA, hang tough. We’ll be back and we’ll do you proud in 2016. Just sort that little funding issue out first eh?
Japan was emotional for many, including myself as we returned to the race where Jules was so cruelly struck down some 12 months before. The tributes from the fans were touching and I felt that everyone down at Manor handled themselves with dignity and respect. Suzuka will always be special to many in the F1 fraternity but for the class of 2014, it will always be remembered for Jules. Rest easy champ.
So onto the final two rounds. As I type this, practice is on in Brazil and Lewis is doing his usual, despite having a little fender bender in Monaco earlier in the week after a little too much partying. Hamilton normally channels Ayrton Senna but it seems of late, he seems to have James Hunt on the Ouija board. At least he’s been honest about it and told it how it is – for that I respect him totally. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt – nor was anyone else – and he’s put it down to fatigue. But I would have to ask what he’s doing out at 3am the morning before he’s due to fly to Brazil. But hey, that’s just me.
Finally, I end with the fact that 21 years ago today, Schumacher and Hill clattered together in Adelaide in the World Championship title decider. Schumacher got airborne and crashed out while Hill limped around to the pit lane. After an inspection, Hill’s suspension was too badly damaged to continue and thus, the title was handed to Schumacher, the first of his seven.