Grand Prix Diary 2011 Part 19: Brazilian GP

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Grand Prix diary 2011 part 19: GP Brazil
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F ormel 1 on the first Advent. When was that last? Thanks to Bernie Ecclestone's expansion strategy, the end of November did not end with Grand Prix races. The 19th and final act was Sao Paulo. Nobody really felt like it anymore. The long season was exhausting for everyone. The early decisions on world championship titles and the rather boring races in the last third of the season did the rest.

Fog in Zurich causes stress

I almost had mine saved Wednesday in Sao Paulo. My feeder flight from Stuttgart to Zurich was almost an hour late. Switzerland reported fog. The boarding for the flight to Brazil was scheduled for 10:10 p.m. Our plane finally landed at 10:20 p.m. I was already preparing for a cozy night in the airport hotel when a nice gentleman from the airport staff was waiting for me at the end of the stairs with a 'Sao Paulo' sign.

Normally the way from an outside parking lot takes the euro -Terminal to the international departure area (including passport and security control) at least 20 minutes. Now it was the quickest way by car over the tarmac. I was invited with my suitcase and thrown out again at the gate of the A340 to Sao Paulo that was already waiting. The suitcase went directly to the cargo hold at the hatch, I dashed into the elevator up to boarding.

The machine was already full. In business class everyone was already waiting for departure. Including a lot of celebrities from Formula 1. Everyone looked at me reproachfully as to why I was so late. With repeated 'Sorry' murmurs, I crept down the aisle to economy class. Actually, due to the night flight ban, you can only take off from Zurich until eleven o'clock. My watch said 11:02 p.m. when the plane finally took off. After all the stress I was tired enough to miss the annoying night flight.

Missed Tomczyk, Ogier and Kubica

Still, you climb in Brazil always completely whacked out of the plane. To make matters worse, the endless queue is still waiting at passport control. After the half-hour taxi ride to the hotel, the next rainfall. The room wasn't free yet. Fortunately, colleague Michael Schmidt had checked in the day before. So I could briefly try the shower with him.

While I slept comfortably on the planethe motorsport world did not stand still. BMW announced the signing of Martin Tomczyk. VW had secured the services of Sebastien Ogier. And Robert Kubica let it be known that he is not ready for the comeback in 2013. There was still a lot of trouble around the Renault press release for the rest of the weekend. Kubica manager Daniele Morelli had voiced the allegation through Italian media that his words had been falsified. Once again, Renault did not give a good picture.

Transfer carousel causes speculation

The most exciting topic in Brazil was the transfer market. The journalists circled the Renault, Force India and Williams pavilions like vultures. All three teams kept a low profile on the subject of driver personnel for 2012. And so there was lively speculation. I had heard that Kimi Raikkonen had already telephoned Renault team boss Eric Boullier before Abu Dhabi. But expert Christian Danner, who normally has a good connection to the team, assured me 'a thousand percent' that Renault has now understood that Kimi is not helping in the current situation. An experienced colleague even wanted to offer me a bet that the driver duo for 2012 would definitely be Senna and Grosjean. As we now know, it turned out differently somehow.

At Force India the problem was Adrian Sutil. With every good performance, the team seemed to ponder more. They had actually already decided in favor of H├╝lkenberg and Di Resta. But suddenly Sutil drove everything to the ground. The Bavarian secured sixth place for the Silverstone team in the constructors' cup almost single-handedly. With sixth place in Sao Paulo, there was still the jump to ninth place in the drivers' standings as a personal reward. Do you want to let such a driver go? Apparently the team wasn't sure either. Discussions continued until mid-December.

Vettel: 'Sorry Nigel'

At Red Bull, the party took place before the race. Sebastian Vettel celebrated the 15th pole position of the season. 'Sorry Nigel,' he grinned into the cameras with a glued-on mustache after beating his 1992 qualifying record. In the race, the Heppenheimer lost luck. A leaky gearbox gave him no chance in the fight against team-mate Webber and gave the Australian his first victory.

After the race, there was chaos in the narrow paddock. BBC expert Eddie Jordan stormed Stefano Domenicali's press round and stole the recorders from the perplexed reporters. At Red Bull they tried to blow up a Renault engine from an old tradition, which, however, did not succeed even with the greatest effort. Rubens Barrichello advertised himself to all journalists. He really wants to go on. Everyone should know that.

Then there was the reconciling hug from Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. The English wanted to go aheadclean up the winter break. And when the end of the day was approaching, Virgin came and suddenly made the long-known commitment of Charles Pic official. Only two Japanese left the Sao Paulo press center after us. Nevertheless, on the drive to the hotel everyone was relieved that the season was finally over. By the way, the first Advent was also over.

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