Fans always ask us at Badger about going to media events and things such as car launches – so, following the trip to Berlin for the quite stunning McLaren launch, I thought it only right to share the experience… – this is a ‘Wish you were here’ type report, but without Judith Chalmers (phew!)
It’s five o’clock in the morning and your sleepy editor is in the back of a cab on the way to Gatwick to catch a flight to Berlin. Why Berlin? Well, why not – it’s a fantastic city and although it’s around -5 degrees at the moment, there are plenty of warm bars and cafes as well as more museums than you could shake a bratwurst at.
Badger however, will be outside, wrapped up warm waiting for a blanket to removed (or so we thought!) from the all new and highly anticipated 2011 McLaren F1 car. From hearing what everyone’s been saying on Twitter and other media circles, this car sounds amazing already – McLaren really have built up a lot of attention by launching later and missing the first few of test days with a new car – creating a “what are they up to” type atmosphere. Well done.
By 9am, after some much needed and very tasty coffee (thanks Vodafone Ben) it was time to board the flight, not just any flight though, no – it was a chartered McLaren flight, i.e. everyone who was on the plane was going to the big ‘reveal’ – and what an experience, that I can only describe as being akin to getting on a school bus – instantly recognising faces from across F1 media – quite a bizarre experience, but managed to hold back from exclaiming “there’s a badger on the plane” (probably a good thing). So after waiting for Peter Windsor to find his seat, I was all set for take off.
Upon arriving in Berlin, after a short coach ride (even more like a school bus) I arrive at Kaisersaal Media Centre (Potsdamer Platz for those that know Berlin) where there was a terrific buzz of anticipation in the air, as well as more laptops than a flagship Dixons store with journalists working away (well, tweeting). After a short meet and greet with various folk, it was time to head outside for the ‘reveal.’
Thanks to Vodafone, yours truly was stationed up on a balcony with a perfect birdseye view of the event and it was eerily quiet, as everyone stood there stunned and intrigued as random folk walked into the centre stage with pieces of shiny carbon fibre. Things quickly took shape as some mechanics brought out the MP4-26 (aka new McLaren F1 car) chassis out and the various bits and pieces were assembled before the champion duo of drivers and the team personal appeared to a round of applause.
The general thoughts were a) how bizarre, b) well done c) that was great – one thing’s for sure it was a hell of a lot more imaginative that whipping a silk cloth off – great work Vodafone.
After the reveal and the mad scramble to get photos uploaded (see Badger’s ones here) it was back to the media centre and to join the rapidly assembling audience of 150+ media folk from across the planet, awaiting the arrival of Martin Whitmarsh and Fritz-Joussen (top Vodafone chap), then Lewis and Jenson for a Q&A, followed by the technical management (Jonathan Neale et al).
There was much talk of the new rear wings, the re-introduction of KERS, exhaust systems, simulators and of course thoughts ahead of the new season. Badger was then treated to a second Q&A session, with just 20 or so of us having a natter with everyone – a rare treat and a great opportunity. For more on the topics covered at the Q&A, see the rest of our coverage.
After this incredibly rapid and well organised event, laptops were powered off and the place emptied out as the F1 media fraternity got back on coaches to fly back. Complimentary booze on the way back ensured that if people weren’t napping already, they would be soon. By 7pm, some 14hrs after setting off we touched down in London and it was time to wave goodbye to the rest of the media ladies and gents and head back to the Sett. Job done
It’s only right that we thank the fantastic people at Vodafone for this opportunity. For up and coming web based media like Badger GP, it’s tricky to fund going to such events (and getting the access of course), so we’re very grateful to Vodafone for making this possible and arranging it all – cheers folks, they really do deliver ‘power to you’ it seems!