F1 diary GP Spain 2015

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F1 diary GP Spain 2015
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D he GP Spain belongs in the Formula 1 calendar like the paella on the Spanish restaurant menu. The premier class of motorsport has been a guest at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona at the gates of the Catalan metropolis since 1991. Not only for GP events, but also for test drives. Mostly before the season. The 4.655-kilometer circuit is ideal for testing the new racing cars extensively. Because the weather in the south usually plays along. And because the track with its 16 bends is a good touchstone for the mechanics and aerodynamics of the cars.

History lesson on the Spanish GP

On our drive from the airport to the hotel - we land on Wednesday -Evening (6.5.2015) in Barcelona - there is a little history lesson for me. The teacher: our Formula 1 main reporter Michael Schmidt. My colleague tells me that the Spanish GP was held in Pedralbes in 1951 and 1954. And points the finger at the district on the outskirts of Barcelona. In 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975 the F1 racers even raced down from Muntjuic, Barcelona's local mountain, into the city and flew up again in the second part of the track. I think those races must have been fantastic. The last one, however, was overshadowed by a serious accident involving Rolf Stommelen, in which five people died.

Football fever raged in Barcelona on Wednesday evening. 'When not'? Our readers' soccer fans will ask themselves. The city is known for its successful football club - FC Barcelona. That evening the fever is particularly high. The Catalan soccer pride meets FC Bayern Munich in the semi-finals of the Champions League. We watch the spectacle that the Spanish FCB won 3-0 in a restaurant in Granollers. We will reside in the small Spanish town for the next five nights. The hotel is perfectly located for the route. Less than 10 minutes and you're in the paddock.

We enjoy the first few minutes with ham, cheese and beer. The main course follows later. With some beer again, of course. Our focus is not just on eating and playing. In the second dining room sits a man with dark hair and a dark beard. He looks very similar to Fernando Alonso. Michael Schmidt and I have to peek around the corner several times before we are sure that it is not the McLaren driver. OurSwiss colleague Roger Benoit doesn't even get up.

I didn't take a photo of the Alonso double because I wouldn't want someone to photograph me like a paparazzo while I was eating. The meeting with Fernando Alonso outside the race track will not take place until later this year in Budapest.

Ferrari mechanic follows every step

I'm not afraid to take photos on the racetrack. Especially not when a Formula 1 racer is pushed in front of my lens. After all, the fans want to see the cars. Preferably with all technical solutions. That sounds easier than it is, as I said in I wrote a diary for the GP Malaysia .

In Spain it will inevitably be more difficult. The European kick-off is known for its many updates. The shorter distances allow the teams to cart a large part of their newly developed parts to the slopes for the first time. The first chance to examine the new developments is the scrutineering on Thursday. During the technical inspection, the mechanics push the cars into the FIA ​​garage. If that is currently blocked by a competitor, there is an opportunity for photographers and journalists.

But the job, because my colleague Tobias Grüner gave me, is by no means easy: 'Take so many good and sharp technical photos as possible.' At Ferrari, after a few seconds, a mechanic is assigned as my personal security guard. He follows me every step of the way and appears in front of the camera at every opportunity. Youth football coaches often say when they ask one of their protégés to take an opponent under cover: 'You chase your opponent everywhere - if necessary to the toilet.' Would the Ferrari mechanic also stand next to me at the urinal? I'm not even trying it out.

In contrast to me, veteran reporter Giorgio Piola is allowed to move freely around the red racing cars. Although he has a visibly better camera for his work. But I have to come to terms with that. After all, nothing is given to you. Things are not going any better at Red Bull and McLaren either. Only when Michael Schmidt speaks to a Red Bull mechanic in conscience, I am no longer blocked.

Maldonado with technology update from the others Art

The Austrian-English team attacked in Barcelona. Like Mercedes, Williams, Lotus and Toro Rosso, the RB11 now has a short nose. To do this, the engineers developed a new front wing and adjusted the baffles. The big update should bring half a second. Nevertheless, Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat will only have seventh and tenth place in the race.

After Michael Schmidtdisappeared into the press center, the Red Bull mechanics concern me. 'You have taken enough photos now,' one of them grumbled at me. 'I've done enough when I think it's right,' I reply. Then I ask him: 'Why do you have a problem with me taking pictures of your car. When you are out in it for the first time on Friday, every professional photographer takes a photo. The team photographers too. Then you can't hide anything anyway.' Answer: 'We can't let you do it. Otherwise we'll get into trouble.' He probably means: from the executive floor.

Pastor Maldonado is trying out a different kind of update on his Lotus on race Sunday. After contact with team mate Romain Grosjean, the left rear wing end plate bends at a 35-degree angle. Nevertheless, Maldonado is fast, but has to give up prematurely because of the existing danger.

Spain is not only a good place for technology fans. Here you can also see the personal cars or the company vehicles of the drivers (article: private cars F1 drivers ). The parking lot is only a few steps away from the paddock, where the teams give their motorhomes pull up. The magnificent buildings are always worth a look.

Fernando Alonso is returning to the place in Barcelona where he had a serious accident during the test drives. The weekend brings no luck again for the proud Spaniard, who is loudly supported by his home crowd. His race is over after only 26 laps. But not without a moment of shock. On the approach to the pit stop, the rear brakes on his McLaren Honda decrease, which is why the braking distance is longer. Alonso almost knocks over a mechanic, who fortunately reacts in time.

Bottas comments on Ferrari rumors

Things are going much better for Nico Rosberg. Last year's World Cup runner-up grabbed his first pole position of the season in Spain, followed by his first victory a day later. Lewis Hamilton has no chance twice. At the start, the world champion fails and has to let Sebastian Vettel pass. Hamilton cannot crack the Ferrari driver on the track. So Mercedes tried the strategy and made three stops out of two. Hamilton uses the superiority of his Silver Arrow, easily pulls out the necessary seconds and comes in second. Vettel only remains in third place. His wish ('Hopefully Mercedes will see red soon') does not come true.

Associated with Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas is in Barcelona. But the Finn weighs it down. 'Lots of stories are being written.Sometimes they're funny. I'm concentrating on this season. 'Bottas, who finished fourth in Spain, should have to answer rumors more often in 2015. But ultimately everything stays the same. Kimi Räikkönen continues for Ferrari, Bottas continues for Williams.

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