From Pune to Delhi and then London, wasn’t much of a journey, although my verdict on Delhi airport- it sucks (specially in terms of the crowd boarding the London bound flights), Mumbai is any day better. Ajay Jadeja and his son were on my flight, the sight of a former Indian cricketer when your heading to England for a Formula 1 GP – I’m the last one to be star struck with a cricketer, even if Virat Kohli had to be on the seat next to me.
Arriving in Oxford and then making it Towcester, Northampton was the more tedious part of the journey. With Britain being a hub for Formula 1, i wonder why they too have to have a circuit in the middle of nowhere with the least hotels around and not to mention zero public transport.
As you would know from the last race weekend about the Lewis and Nico spat, Mercedes has been in a tussle to find a serious punishment for the two. The aftermath has followed to Silverstone, which might be a 2 horse race and resulted in a expected turnout of 150,000 people for Sunday.
Thursday: For starters as soon as I walked into the paddock the whole press room was buzzing with the Lewis- Nico issue. As we have seen in my previous posts Lewis loves making a spectacle of himself when it comes to entering a track. This time there was a queue of photographers waiting outside the Mercedes hospitality and paddock entrance and Lewis arrived on a bike with a helmet, and walked through the back entrance of the hospitality with the helmet on.
At the drivers press conference which is the only thing happening on a thursday Lewis and Jenson Button were having chat of their own. Being British drivers the front row was Lewis, Button, and Jolyon Palmer. Lewis dodged questions by the press and said even if there were team orders, he would follow them.
Rumour in the paddock has it that an interview Niki Lauda gave recently interview to one of the publications saying – Lewis was devastated after the Baku qualifying and destroyed his entire room as a result of the frustration and disappointment. The interview also said Lewis had covered up when asked about his relation with Nico and had lied saying ‘all is well’. However, credible sources in the paddock feel Niki Lauda is too smart to make such a statement knowing its repercussions, and that this blast seemed staged and way too convenient. Well the pressroom here can have some exciting gossip at times.
At the Mercedes hospitality Toto did address the entire Media and say that there will be serious consequences if the two drivers make contact again. He didn’t mention what consequences, but he used the term ‘yellow card’ as though it were football. Wonder who will get the red card after gathering enough yellows ? Well in short, the two drivers can race but they can’t make contact, and no team orders but serious consequences. It is highly speculated that the punishment might mean a one or two race ban which will compromise both their points, but not the teams.
The other news setting tongues wagging in India and the F1 paddock has been Vijay Mallya’s entry. He has decided to attend the Silverstone GP, and was seen giving 1-1 interviews yesterday. I do have a slot with him but for tomorrow. However, as far as the F1 press goes, the buzz is more about who will skewer him in the press conference when he faces the entire press. For the interview I have with him I have clearly been asked to stick the questions to Formula 1. With Subrato Roy Sahara in jail and him in exile, it will be interesting to see how Friday press conference unfolds, and the questions the Fleet Street media + the rest of the Brit media throw at him.
Had a brief chat with Nico Hulkenberg, and he said the issues he faced in Austria were brake ones and the temperatures. As far as him commenting on how the rest of the weekend goes, he seemed to be optimistic moving forward.
Thursday has been dull unlike most grand prix weekends, and graced with some awfully chilly English weather. As far as events post work go, Martini had some cocktails on the Williams rooftop, and I saw Toto and Valtterri having a serious chat, god knows what it was about. Manor has some fancy gin called Daffy’s sponsoring them, which called for a Gin n tonic event along with Asian food and curry and rice on the menu. My day end with one of the Haas team guys chauffeuring me back to my accommodation, and they explained a what a friday is called on an F1 weekend ‘Shit Friday’- meaning they work from 6-30 am to 11 pm.. Arrggh!!