The science of sleep

David Cameron on time keeping, set ups and Superman

Racing drivers are always late: it's just a fact of life for anyone who has to deal with them on a regular basis. But even by their standards Alvaro Parente is famous for being late: like every other driver Alvaro would rather sleep than do just about anything else, but he struggles more than any of the others to get out of bed and into the track. Which is why, when we need him early for any reason, we tell him to arrive earlier than we actually need him, just so he is there around the right time.

(Alvaro, if you're reading this I am lying now, honestly: please turn up when we ask you to...)

But fresh from his championship win in Asia, it seems that Kamui Kobayashi is determined to take another new title, even if it's one that no one else really wants. We waited and waited for him to arrive in the paddock, with Dams' media liaison Claire calling him frantically to get here in time for the signing session, but when even Alvaro started complaining about how late Kamui was it was clearly time to go.

Finally turning up after running all the way from the carpark to our paddock, to the pitlane, and eventually to the Bridgestone fan area, he set about signing every card on the table in record time, went off for some water, and even had time to come back and take photos for some of the fans with the Spanish driver contingent, all with his usual cheeky smirk across his face. So there's always photography to fall back on if the driving doesn't work out. Although I assume that they have to get out of bed, too...

One guy who wished he hadn't made the effort to get up in the morning was Lucas di Grassi, who had a bit of a torrid time during the race: after pointing out to everyone in yesterday's press conference that preserving the tyres would be the vital component of today's race his team went the wrong way with their set up, and he had shot tyres after six laps or so and a mountain to climb to protect his position.

But how is it possible to get the set up wrong in Barcelona, where the team's have spent so much time testing? “Unfortunately it's pretty easy to go the wrong way on that,” Gavin Bickerton-Jones told me later that night in the paddock, ironically as he was setting up Diego Nunes' car for race two. “We've all been there, so I can sympathise.
“You can top the times in testing and think right, got everything sorted there, and then turn up for the race and be nowhere. The problem is that the data doesn't always relate: testing is in winter and it's much colder than now, and even that makes a bigger difference than you'd think. Everyone has a slightly different approach over the weekend, and sometimes you can go the wrong way and get lost: unfortunately, that's just part of racing.”

Although one look at what was left of Lucas' head rest after the collision with Alvaro told me that a wrong choice on set up being his biggest problem today was probably a blessing...

The final word should probably go to our first race winner of the year, Romain Grosjean. Sitting on the pitwall I had a spectacularly ugly hat sitting next to my computer for the whole race: when I asked Alexa why it was there she was uncustomarily coy, saying only that she was minding it for a friend. And after the race the Frenchman seemed to be in a bigger hurry than usual to get his helmet off.

It was only then that I noticed the hat: suddenly it was on his head, and he was pulling Superman poses.

“Ah, Superman!” he laughed when I asked him about it later. “It was a bet I made over the winter, because I had nothing better to do! Every time I win I will have to wear a special hat: this time it is Superman, next time I don't know. I will look stupid, but I don't mind: I hope I will look stupid more than once!”

I tracked down the French radio journalist who made the bet after the race, and he was delighted to show me the next potential design. I can only say that if Romain does get another win this year, he will certainly live up to his hopes...


on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 05:15 by paulo

alguém que diga a esse idiota do David Cameron, que o Parente foi o mais rápido nos testes de barcelona, arrancou em 14º e ainda foi apanhar o di grassi!! e nem falou do Parente.


on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 05:36 by Jorge

Alvaro may be the last to wake up, but as he is faster that anybody in the paddock he arrives just in time. Alvaro made a great job, until that touch in Di Grassi car...

on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 07:06 by paulo

ai não. ele falou do parente. chamou-lhe preguiçoso!

on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 09:28 by quark

mr David Cameron,i find your comments about alvaro parente very offensive.who cares what time does alvaro wake up ? who cares about what you think of alvaro ? did you at least see the race ? did you see alvaro gaining 5 positions at the start ?
maybe alvaro does not show up to talk to you because you write such crappy stuff and he prefers to sleep rather than wasting time with such nonsense .
oh and by the way, i found nothing scientifical about what you wrote.perhaps you should change the title to "the science of being rude"

on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 12:03 by Kilincs

Shut up quark, it was not rude AT ALL, don't read it if you don't like it.

David, it's great to read the blog every day now, well done!!!

on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 12:14 by Alexa

Dear Portuguese friends and fans,

Alvaro is a wonderful character and one of the nicest boys around the paddock. We are all very fond of him.

And it's a good thing that he has a great sense of humour: he understands that this comment was meant to have him laugh, which he did.

Sorry if this post has upset you, but you misread it.


on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 12:30 by Béla

Well said Alexa ;)

on Sunday 10 May 2009 - 15:31 by Mary

Seriously Quark - look up the word irony in a directionary and get a grip. A blog is not supposed to be scientific and this one offers us an insight into what is going on behind the scenes..... if you don't like it, don't read it but the rest of us it love it!

on Monday 11 May 2009 - 13:15 by Hugo

I think Alvarinho will find this hilarious, I don't think any of us ever got to school on time back in Porto, it was actually an unsaid rule that whoever lived closest to school would end up being the latest. My suggestion would therefore be for Ocean to setup outside in the circuit parking area ;)

And joking aside...couldn't agree more with Jorge's comment.

Have a good trip to Monaco!

on Tuesday 12 May 2009 - 16:46 by Lito

Could anyone please tell me why the second race fastest lap bonus points was given to Mortara if the official results show that it was Dani Clos who set the fastest lap? Thanks in advance for any help.

on Tuesday 12 May 2009 - 20:09 by Alexa

Dear Lito;

Because Dani failed to finish in the Top 10. Only drivers that did finish in the Top 10 and started from the grid are rewarded the bonus point.

Second fastest was Valerio, but he did not finish in the Top 10 either. So, third fastest was Mortara who qualified for bonus point.


on Tuesday 12 May 2009 - 21:17 by SLB

Mr Cameron Hope you and your team continue looking to ALVARO and giving him all the attention that he deserves , this is a great driver , a driver that is always fighithing to get is budget in the end he always achieve is TEAM objectives. Alvaro is the clear example that the money is the most important in this sport if you look to his carreer you can clearly note that if he wasn`t from Portugal, a brave and beautifull country, but also a small one he would be already in F1 ! He is a champion in all categories he entered !!!

on Tuesday 12 May 2009 - 22:39 by Fletcher

Does Alvaro have a manager cause if he does he should be sacked. I am working on sponsoring a driver in GP2 and am almost there with full budget maybe he and I should talk

on Wednesday 13 May 2009 - 20:43 by Jhon

Yes, Fletcher. Your are great. Can you send me an autograph? If you have so many sponsors, i believe that the problem for you not being in GP2 is the driver, so please go speak with Alvaro and his agent because they probably will love your money.

on Wednesday 20 May 2009 - 23:38 by corrymotta


on Thursday 21 May 2009 - 20:48 by Rodrigo

I can see all the portuguese fans are desperate to see Alvaro in F1 (me included), but clearly someone forgot to take their chill-pill this morning ;)

on Saturday 6 Jun 2009 - 20:08 by Militia129

Alvaro Parente, Filipe Albuquerque, Tiago Monteiro, Pedro Lamy all a full hand more very talented portuguese generation come to show Portuguese drivers is actually very perpared and very good. But after Pedro Lamy, Alvaro Parente its the only champion in all classes he fights. For sure we'll see Alvaro win GP2 and F1 Championships. You can write this!
He's late cause he make 3/4 hours training in simulator for sure... or maybe he have some girl relax he's muscles... You know G-force to Turkisk circuit....

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