No, it’s not Saturday just yet, but Lukeh has kindly agreed to swap days with me as I may be offline tomorrow. Thanks Lukeh!

So the first testing session of the year has wrapped up in Valencia. I have decided that this year I will call the green and yellow team Lotus, and the black and gold team will be called Renault. Easy!

  • Robert Kubica set the fastest time on the final day of testing and also made what I think was the funniest comment this week when he was asked if it was his dream to drive for Lotus.
  • Michael Schumacher said he doesn’t mind that his Mercedes was 1.3 seconds slower than Kubica’s Renault yesterday.
  • The FIA is “open to tweaking” the rules about the movable rear wing, which include a 600m overtaking zone at the end of the main straight at each track, to be outlined by painted lines on the track.
  • Adam Cooper and Joe Saward have both written pieces about teams spying on each other.
  • Lotus launched their new podcast this week with Holly Samos interviewing the team members. I wonder if Holly will continue to do the Renault podcasts too? And now that she has more time on her hands, I wonder if she will do other non-Lotus team podcasts.
  • Red Bull uploaded a press manual on their website with some cool graphics.
  • Finally, McLaren’s online launch of the MP4-26 is at 11am UK time (12PM CET) today. Yay for another online launch!

Autosport International

I promised Mr C that I would give a summary of my first experience at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham. I must say that I was both impressed and disappointed. I loved all the cars on display and the DVD & book stalls, but I felt like I was at an industry exhibition. Having worked stalls at industry exhibitions before, I could truly appreciate the bored looks on some stall holder’s faces!

Early on I did a big loop of the whole show and found the layout confusing. The halls were staggered which meant I couldn’t really systematically walk through each aisle, but I quickly discovered that most of the stuff I wanted to see was in the one area anyway.

I had four highlights at the show – the F1 Racing Grid where most teams had cars on show, and Stuart Codling interviewed guests; the Autosport stage with more interviews; seeing the new Lotus Renault GP livery; and the CSC (Virgin) Engineers at the Motorsport Magazine stall.

I mainly watched the interviews that Stuart was doing at the F1 Racing Grid, as the interviews from the Autosport Stage were uploaded to the website. I also talked to the guy from CSC who writes the blog on race weekends. He seemed genuinely surprised that I had heard of this blog [obviously doesn’t appreciate the impact of twitter]. He was showing visitors the pit wall that was set up at the Motorsport Magazine stall with the data that the engineers see during a session.

The Fifth Gear live show was enjoyable enough, and Martin and Jake turned up at the end for a very brief chat with the crowd. But if there had been an interview I had wanted to see instead, I definitely would have skipped the live show.

For £7 more than the standard ticket, I got a paddock pass ticket. In retrospect, this seemed a waste of £7. The paddock pass ticket allowed guests to line up for autographs from people such as Jody Scheckter, Martin Brundle and Ant Davidson. But seeing as I didn’t want to queue for ages to get autographs, I didn’t really see any benefit in getting the paddock ticket (unless I missed some other perk).

So, would I go again? I don’t really know. The best interviews were shown online, and there were so many people crammed into the NEC that I couldn’t get a decent photo without people in the background. But I did love seeing the Formula One cars up close, even if some were demonstration models.

The 'grid'

Credit: Pamela

The 'grid'

Old Renault, New Livery

Credit: Pamela

Old Renault, New Livery

My next daily will be written from Australia where Amy and I will be getting ready to attend the Melb GP (Jeremy & Paul too perhaps?), and the Malaysian GP. I’m hoping to return to the UK later in the year, but for now, I gotta find me some sun!

Oh, I’ll also mention that in my next daily, I’ll tell all about the Lotus Factory tour in Hingham I did a few weeks ago.

Enjoy your Friday, I’m off to Paris for a bit before I head home.

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