It feels so good to be back! I know it’s only been less than two months since we had our last race but when you love racing as much as we do, any hiatus always feels too long. That’s why when we arrived at Yas Marina circuit on Wednesday, it felt like coming home...and the sunny conditions sure helped to make us feel good! There was a mix of familiar and new faces in the pitlane. Teams spent the day working hard on the cars and practicing pit stops. A typical day in our world.
“I just saw Papa Noel (Santa Claus in French)” said Marco Codello.
“You saw Santa?”
“No! Papa Noel Berthon. I cannot pronounce his real name”. When I told Nathanael about his new nickname, the tall Frenchman laughed: “Is it because of my beard?”
“So will you be writing a blog this weekend?” asked Marcus Ericsson as he came to the office. “Of course if I have enough material to write about” I answered, “you’ve got something for me?” The iSport ace smiled: “Well, not now, but I will be on the look-out and if I hear anything interesting, I will report to you. And by the way, you could write about our Karting challenge!”
Ah... The infamous karting challenge! The circuit’s organisers have arranged for some GP2 drivers to compete tonight against journalists to promote our event. Marcus was chosen along with Antonio Felix Da Costa, Alexander Rossi, Fabio Leimer and Esteban Gutierrez. But as the word spread in the paddock about this event and somehow made all the way over to the F1 paddock, Sam Bird who is not racing with us this weekend started a Twitter campaign to try and come too. That will teach me for nagging him about opening his twitter account. And Sam’s online crusade motivated Max Chilton to start his own. As Fabio eventually could not make it tonight, I decided to make the Carlin boy’s day and included him in the group. “Really? I can come?” he said practically hopping up and down. Drivers are quite easy to please. I thought that was the end of the story, but obviously I underestimated Sam’s determination to have some kart fun tonight.
The Brit made his way to our paddock, in all his Mercedes tee-shirt glory. “Are you sure I cannot come to the event tonight? I know I am not racing in GP2 this week but look, I spoke to the Mercedes GP guys – even to Ross Brawn – and they are happy for me to do it! And, I saw some BBC guys and they said that if I was doing it they would come and make a small feature. And, I will be wearing my pretty Mercedes overall and it’s very shiny and everything...” he said with puppy eyes. I did not stand a chance...
I barely have the time to wrap this post and publish it for your reading pleasure. I now have to rush to the event. I will tell you all about it tomorrow unless – of course – my special reporter from the paddock Marcus comes up with a better story!