D he beautiful, carefree times, that was once upon a time . Today GP weekends are clocked every minute for drivers from Thursday morning to Sunday evening. Free space? Nothing! Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton also had to stick to a strict schedule on the most important weekend of the year.
The compulsory program of the multi-million dollar full-throttle athletes is no exception. Engineers, media and sponsors are demanding their share, regardless of whether it's just about the golden pineapple or a world championship title. The Mercedes drivers sit in their cars for around 400 minutes from Friday to Sunday. But you spend a lot more time in the briefing rooms, in the paddock club, at press conferences and at evening events.
3 briefings and 180 minutes of driving on Friday
The work for Rosberg and Hamilton started at noon on Thursday. First briefing with the engineers. From 3 p.m., the PR dates piled up. FIA press conference, TV interviews, a German media round for Rosberg. At 5:30 p.m. the engineers asked again for a meeting. In the evening, the Mercedes stars were at the service of the sponsors. Rosberg for the case manufacturer Tumi, Hamilton for Mercedes-Benz.
On Friday we finally drove. 69 laps for Rosberg, 64 laps for Hamilton. But first a quick briefing with the engineers. The third before a wheel turned. Of course, there were also briefings between the two Friday training sessions and afterwards. For a whole hour.
At 7.30 p.m. the TV stations came into their own. Half an hour later the drivers' meeting was due. On the agenda: criticism of Pirelli's rain tires and the vote on the halo. It took two hours. After that it was still not over. Rosberg and Hamilton had to shake hands in the paddock for sponsors and VIPs.
Also on Saturday an evening program
Saturday, too, how could it be otherwise, begins with a technical meeting. Then 60 minutes of third training followed by the mandatory briefing. After qualification, the priorities are set differently. First the press conference, then the sponsors in the Paddock Club, then the meeting with the engineers from 7.15 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Immediately afterwards, the internal Mercedes press round is scheduled. There is also a program on the evening before the grand finale. Rosberg meets UBS guests, Hamilton representatives of the Starwood Preferred Guest Hotel Program.
Lunch in the afternoon
For once, the Mercedes drivers do not start with the engineers on race day. The drivers sign autographs in the stands. Then Mercedes takes the mandatory team photo. The big strategy meeting takes place at 1 p.m., followed by a final update with the engineers. Then off to the Paddock Club.
After lunch in the middle of the afternoon, things get serious. The FIA asks all drivers to take a group photo, and immediately afterwards to the driver parade. From 4:25 p.m. Rosberg and Hamilton are finally strapped in their cars. The pit lane will open at 4.30 p.m.
At 5 p.m. after a total of 9 briefings, four sponsor meetings and 5 media appearances, the kick-off for the showdown. The moment that the Formula 1 community has been waiting for for 21 races.