Formula 1 travel diary 2010: GP Europe

Formula 1 travel diary 2010
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N after the short trip to Canada across the Atlantic leads us Formula 1 back to Spain. Valencia is on the agenda. My cheap Air Berlin flight forces me to change trains on Mallorca. The detour is kind of funny, and not just because of all the Adiletten tourists on the plane. I have now traveled half the globe, but I only know the 17th state in the Mediterranean from television. This time, however, I don't get to see much more than the airport.

Long walk to the track

In Valencia the program will be a bit more varied. After the suitcases have been unloaded at the hotel, I make my way to the track. My colleague Mathias Brunner recommended the hotel to me six months earlier with the words: 'Inexpensive and within walking distance of the route.' In retrospect, it was probably my own mistake. After all, Stuttgart is somehow within walking distance of the route in Valencia - if you only have enough time. After half an hour of research in the hot midday sun, I finally reach the marina.

Since no one important is on site this Wednesday and I'm already sweaty anyway, I set off to circumnavigate the route. But even this project is doomed to failure. After half a lap, I'm faced with a big barrier. The swing bridge over the port entrance is open to ships, but this also blocks the passage on the route. Since I don't feel like a little swim, the only thing left is to withdraw.

Schmidt and Grüner in soccer fever

In the evening I meet with colleague Michael Schmidt, who is wise to book an afternoon flight would have. The most important thing about the choice for the restaurant for dinner: A television with the German World Cup game against Ghana. Unsurprisingly, the commentator seems somehow Spanish. We don't notice anything of the result of the parallel game. The jubilation over Özil's 1-0 win is all the greater, which leads to some puzzled looks from the other tables. Incidentally, colleague Schmidt does not cheer. Although his passport clearly says 'Germany', he prefers to keep his fingers crossed for the British and South American teams in terms of football.

On Thursday we decide to go to another restaurant. Like the TV commentator the day before, the menu is also a book of sevenSeal. I knew that 'chuleta' had something to do with chops. The indication '600 grams' next to it also sounded promising. But when the waiter arrives with a mountain of raw meat, I'm admittedly a bit surprised. Is that a Spanish specialty that I didn't know about? The Japanese also eat their fish raw. Just as I am about to make up my mind to carry the plate towards the kitchen, the waiter brings a hot stone on which I can sizzle the chop myself. Kind of funny. And somehow also very tasty.

Tour of the route with Christian Danner

Another highlight awaits on the route on Friday of training. Ex-Formula 1 driver Christian Danner takes me to an analysis tour on the slopes. Normally, Formula 1 journalists only sit in the press center and hear as much of what is happening on the track as the spectators at home. Now the expert explains to me how you can tell whether a car is lying well and which drivers don't have their cars so well under control.

Unfortunately, I have had a painful nerve inflammation in my foot since the day before. I hobble and try to follow Danner when he starts the long way towards the hairpin. At over 30 ° C, the pleasure is limited. On the way back we meet Safety Car driver Bernd Mayländer, who, to my amazement, repeats Danner's driver analyzes almost one-to-one without prior consultation.

Spain wins the last sixteen

In the evening it is the soccer game Chile against Spain on the program, which we watch with colleagues over two pans of paella in the old town of Valencia. Spain wins 2-1 and moves into the round of 16, which suddenly drives people onto the streets. Meanwhile, in the Sauber Motorhome, the mood is in the basement. Our Swiss photographer Dani Reinhard keeps me informed by SMS about the status of the parallel game. However, there isn't much that is exciting to report. With the 0-0 win against Honduras, the Swiss were eliminated.

Formula 1 does not offer many interesting news either. After the Red Bull show in qualifying, however, the race suddenly started to get excited. The safety car makes the teams hectic. Ferrari is deprived of all chances of victory when Alonso and Massa get stuck behind the Mayländer-Mercedes. Michael Schumacher is slowed down by a tactical error. The photo of the record world champion at the red pit lights should be a symbol for the whole season.

Return trip on detours

After the race there is again hectic when the FIA ​​against a penalty Half the field is imposed due to excessive speed in the safety car phase. For journalists, investigations and changes to results are always annoying and labor-intensive because old articles have to be updated and new developments reported. Only in the middle of the night can we finally start our way back. Although theSpaniards generally eat a little later, we don't find an open bar anymore.

The return flight to Germany shouldn't go as planned either. The plane to Mallorca is already 20 minutes late when the pilot suddenly moves the plane around and initiates a steep descent. Apparently he had miscalculated somehow. With howling turbines we take off around 500 meters above the ground and fly a lap of honor over the beach of El Arenal. After the more successful second attempt to land, I actually expect the connecting flight to be long gone. But the opposite is the case. The plane to Stuttgart is not there yet.

'Today doesn't seem to be our day'

With an hour and a half delay, we are finally allowed to board the plane. It feels like 50 ° C in the cabin. The pilot answers and apologizes that the correct connection for the ventilation is missing. After another 20 minutes of waiting in the Air Berlin sauna, the plane finally moves backwards. But only briefly. A brief crash is followed by another announcement: 'Unfortunately, today does not seem to be our day,' the captain reports again. 'The tow bar broke. Now we have to first investigate whether the plane has been damaged.'

Two and a half hours after the flight schedule, the plane finally lands in Stuttgart at some point. While waiting for the luggage, I meet Bernd Mayländer again. Since the suitcases also take a little longer that day, there is enough time to discuss the confused safety car situation in the race. At some point I'll finally get home and I'm happy that the first part of the season is over. I ordered my colleague Leppert to go to England. I am quietly celebrating the beginning of my personal summer break.


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