F1 diary GP Austria 2018: left behind the puff

F1 diary GP Austria 2018
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D he Grand Prix of Austria is the second race in my individual Formula 1 calendar. And at the same time the second race that belongs to the France-Austria-England triple marathon. A brutal effort for the logisticians. Both physically and mentally. It's far more convenient there. Instead of four wheels, my trip to idyllic Styria begins on rails. Colleague Michael Schmidt picks me up on the transit at the train station in his former home in Landshut. From there it goes via Passau towards Spielberg. The Dutch are already getting us into the mood: They park their car with a trailer in the Max Verstappen design at the service area next to us.

Germany is leaving the World Cup

Exceptionally, but not necessarily the Dutch are very strong at football, but we Germans. At our dinner at the Bachwirt in Knittelfeld, one of our regular bars at the Grand Prix in Spielberg, we learned that Germany lost the game against Korea and was eliminated. I'm not a big football fan, so I'm not disappointed. But something seems to be in the air, after all, on Thursday morning a weeping sky greets us over the Red Bull Ring. At 12 degrees Celsius, you almost feel like you are in winter.

Not exactly the best conditions for photographing technology upgrades. But Mercedes shows such a big transformation on the car that I spend most of the day taking photos of the details. It all comes down to the right timing. If you are just hanging around in front of another garage when the Mercedes car is being pushed out for the technical inspection, the motto is: put your feet in your hands and sprint! The new side pods in particular are the first thing that catches the eye on the Silver Arrow.

Donkey bridge for navigation

After all, we get off the track in good time after tinkering with the first photo show. Even in my second Austrian race, I can't remember the way to the place nine kilometers away, where we stay overnight. Although there is a donkey bridge: Behind the puff on the left. You shouldn't miss the junction right behind an hour hotel. Logo that we can remember it well.

At 9 p.m. we have an appointment with our colleagues in the KuK pub. It's only a three-minute walk from our guesthouse, whose name says it all: Schlummerburg. I am sleepingexcellent in the small 80 centimeter wide bed. Even if the equipment is more, let's say, reminiscent of a Smart without any extras. Some of the teams don't just spend the night in 5-star hotels. In the KuK restaurant, which includes some guest rooms, we see some Ferrari employees.

Traditional food should not be missing in Austria!

The tone is set in the training sessions on Friday Mercedes on. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas dominate both sessions. Not necessarily cheap for Sebastian Vettel, who was grilled by the media on Thursday and asked whether he was making too many mistakes. An allusion to the starting crash in Paul Ricard a few days earlier. His answer: 'Wherever there is planing, chips fall.'

Acquaintance with the mayor

This motto could also be attached to colleague Schmidt on his lapel. After dinner we return to the KuK. There we get to know the mayor. Of course, you don't just let the celebrities sit there and that's why it will be a little later. So late that I miss Michael at breakfast on Saturday morning. But anyone who knows him knows that he can be relied on. I was on my own with him only once in my eight years in Formula 1: when he had to miss the Japanese Grand Prix after a bicycle accident. Logo, since then the bike has been standing around and gathering dust. Too risky after all. The Formula 1 Kindergarten is against it.

Saturday is all about penalties. Sebastian Vettel gets one because he obstructed Carlos Sainz in the second part of training. Instead of third place, there is only sixth place. To put it mildly: suboptimal. A similar fate befell one of our colleagues with whom we are having dinner in the Liebmann restaurant. The village police are evidently very active during the Formula Grand Prix and are issuing an administrative order for illegal parking. We learn: this is nothing more than a parking ticket. In Austria they also like to say “Orgerl”.

In response to this shock, our group really earned the apricot schnapps. The landlady gives it to us, because Schmiddi has been coming to this restaurant since he was a studentknown. When will naturalization follow? By the way, if you are wondering why we talk a lot about restaurant visits here and think we'd better give out a gastro guide: In addition to working on the route, these are our highlights of the day, there is obviously no time for sightseeing etc. p>

No women in Formula 1? Nonsense! My colleagues and I.

Piquet cannot be found

The alarm clock rings early the next morning, because at 9 Michael wants to be on the track to meet Nelson Piquet. His son drives in the GP3. But Michael misses him. Anyway, the trip to the paddock of the frame series is almost adventurous, yes, so to speak, no man's land - normally we cannot be lured out of the Formula 1 atmosphere. But I often visit the Porsche Supercup next door - firstly, I also write about GT racing and secondly, my friend happens to be there as a coach this weekend.

The Formula 1 race then offers almost as much chaos as on my first assignment in Azerbaijan. Max Verstappen, who even got his own fan village in Spielberg, wins ahead of Kimi Räikkönen and Sebastian Vettel. The Dutch in the stands are beside themselves. Only at Mercedes is there a dizzying mood. After Valtteri Bottas left, they slept through pitting Lewis Hamilton during the Virtual Safety Car phase. Strategy ace James Vowles even apologized personally on the radio at Hamilton. In the end, the Briton will be eliminated anyway - for the first time since Malaysia 2016.


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