Bernie Ecclestone was on form ahead of the Chinese GP when questioned about the Spanish GP taking place, in light of the current volcanic disruption from the pesky Icelandic volcano – in his typical dry manner he simply suggested they hold the Spanish GP in Shanghai – classic Bernie.
In all seriousness though, at the time of writing there are still no proper flights in and out of the UK, which does pose major issues for the Formula 1 teams. It would all have been fine if the next race was Abu Dhabi or Singapore, but the current 3 week break is before the grand prix circus returns to Europe. With most of the teams being UK based, there are massive issues for the teams getting their cars back to work on and apply the all important updates ahead of Barcelona and Monte Carlo. Bernie’s FOM-organised freight which transports the cars for the long-haul races doesn’t have to comply to the commercial airline ban, but that said, who’d risk a plane full of expensive F1 motors with the cloud of volcanic ash still looming over most of the UK. We’ll leave that upto the clever DHL folk….
On a lighter note, Badger has been busy monitoring its Twitter feeds and can proudly point out that it’s created the current F1 trending topic #volcanicGP which the BBC and other media folk have been using to describe their journeys back to good ol’blighty. Thanks to the wonderfulness of Twitter, we know that at around 2pm this afternoon Jake Humphrey (the BBC F1 anchor) was only 400km away from the ferry which would take him back to the English shores, whereas the BBC 5Live crew were 800km away. Jake was sat in the back of a Ford people carrier with Lee McKenzie, having a laugh while 5Live’s chosen motor was a Citreon Grand Picasso.
At 2.30pm, the 5Live team changed their destination from Caen to Calais and reported that they have traveled 450km in 2hrs 50mins (that’s over 150km/h – das autobahn ist wonderbar!) at 3pm, Jake’s team were complaining of poor traffic in Brussels and at 4pm, the 5Live team had a quick driver change, but at present we’re unaware of Jake’s strategy, except that their first stop may be for Haribo rather than fuel. This is no doubt due to some sweets-envy after learning that the 5Live team comprises of Bradley driving, Crofty navigating, Holly doing telemetry while Ant Davidson and Producer Jas eat Haribos…
Jonathan Legard, the BBC F1 commentator had different flights to Jake, Lee and the 5Live folk – so he’s still in Shanghai with the BBC tech team, FOM and Sauber! Autosport’s Jonathan Noble is singing the praises of Emirates after his Athens-bound flight was abandoned, but then got one to Zurich – he was happy because it meant he will be back in London by Thursday, and in time for the Kate Nash gig (oh dear!)
At 3pm we also learned that another F1 journalist, Adam Cooper got the wrong airport for his flight out of Shanghai and realised the correct one was over 200km away, but he did pick up a bargain Beatles CD boxset earlier in the week so it’s not all bad. Now, we’ve learned that Tony Fernandes’ Air Asia have given a flight to Adam Cooper for Wednesday lunch time and he’s got the correct airport.
As for actual F1 drivers, they’ve been a little quiet, we know Lewis Hamilton is over in South Africa for a publicity shindig and that Jenson is off with his lady celebrating his Chinese GP victory. Only Bruno Senna has recently tweeted say that he’s traveled from Shanghai to Dubai to Alicante to Barcelona and then Nice… blimey.
Another trinket of insight has filtered through the twitter world that Sam Michael and Ross Brawn shared a car across France to get back and have already made it – they may have made it back ahead of the BBC crews, but this result will be pending stewards discussions and any speeding fines… As for the new teams, Lotus are in no rush, with the team hanging out at the Boss’ Air Asia Academy… but they do still promise updates to the car for Barcelona.
So you get the idea – and we should all thank the Icelandic volcano for providing us with the Volcanic Grand Prix! Who said Formula 1 is boring?!
If you’re after some real F1 news and opinion, read our F1 Chinese Top 5 – the Badgerometer