F1 diary GP Japan 2015

F1 diary GP Japan 2015
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V on Singapore Tuesday morning we went straight to Japan. Weeks earlier, my colleague Schmidt had raved about the small sushi shop in Tokyo that we had only discovered the previous year. Like at a German currywurst stall, the guests stand there at the counter and have one fish bite after the other served to order. But nothing came of it. When we arrived at 9:30 p.m., the door was shut in your face. We couldn't believe it.

Pork offal instead of raw fish

One should think that in Tokyo is one sushi restaurant next to another. But that's not the case. We wandered through the entire entertainment district 'Ginza' and only found one other shop - but it was also closed. Apparently, the Japanese like to go to bed earlier.

However, it is not always possible to see directly from the outside what is on the table inside. We then decided on a restaurant with a glowing billboard depicting a cartoon pig. Hopefully there will be a decent piece of meat here, we thought. But it was not like that. The menu in English showed a number of grilled wooden skewers with various giblets. You could choose between liver, tongue, uterus, heart, stomach, intestines or cartilage. Bon appetit.

Despite such experiences, we always like to travel to Japan. The people are friendly and reserved. Everything is clean and safe. The toilet seats are always preheated. And thanks to the Shinkansen express trains, you could cross the country in no time. The 350-kilometer route from Tokyo to Nagoya, for example, can be covered in over an hour and a half. Then it's only a stone's throw to our hotel in the small town of Shiroko.

Suzuka brings back Bianchi memories

To be honest, I was a bit queasy on the first trip to the racetrack on Wednesday. When the Ferris wheel of the adjoining amusement park came into view, the oppressive feeling that had arisen 12 months earlier when leaving the paddock came over me. Jules Bianchi's serious accident was the first fatal crash that I experienced directly on the track in my career as an F1 reporter. I will never forget this race.

The first route naturally led us directly to the scene of the accident. We wanted the last few metersfeel for once on foot. Where did Bianchi lose control? How far is the way through the gravel bed? Where exactly was the crane? How did the terrible accident happen? I left a small dedication with a ballpoint pen on the adjacent pile of tires. Instead of mobile recovery cranes, a fixed crane with a long boom has now been placed there to recover stranded cars.

A lot has happened in terms of safety in the last 12 months. But I could hardly believe my eyes at the frame race of the Japanese junior formula series on Saturday. In the fast 130R bend, a driver landed in the tire wall. The car was pulled out of the gravel by an excavator without using the safety car. Only yellow flags were waved at the scene of the accident. I was stunned.

Lotus mechanics are outdoors

The situation around Lotus also caused disbelief . The team hadn't paid their bills and couldn't get a key to the pavilion in the paddock. Sea freight was also held back. When setting up the garage on Wednesday, Force India had to help out with hydraulic fluid. It was an unworthy picture. Bernie Ecclestone invited the homeless mechanics to the Paddock Club canteen on Friday so they wouldn't have to starve to death. As a thank you, there was a group photo with kind regards to the F1 boss.

In terms of sport, the main question was why Mercedes was so fucked up in Singapore. The engineers supposedly found answers. But although the layout and conditions of the track were not comparable, there was some tension as to whether the bankruptcy would not repeat itself. She didn't. Rosberg took the pole position in a superior manner. Hamilton won the race. Then Rosberg complained about the world champion's excessive tackle. But Hamilton smiled confidently away from the complaints.

Apr├ęs victory party with Mercedes

Even with the Mercedes engineers, the mood was exuberant after the double victory. In the late evening we met the technicians again in a restaurant in Shiroko. The auto motor und sport delegation was spontaneously invited for a beer. That was a nice change. When I'm in the pit lane with my camera on the hunt for technical details, the guys with the star on their chest are usually much less relaxed.

On Monday we finally went back home. The flight connection, however, was more than modest. Only at 11.30 p.m. did our plane take off for Singapore. During the stopover we had to spend another eight and a half hours the next morning before we went on to Frankfurt. Incidentally, the smog was now much stronger than a week earlier during the race.


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