Off to Sherryland

NEWS & STORIES, PICS

Uncle Iberian is absolutely delighted to announce his departure in the Iberian-mobile to Jerez de la Frontera in Spain where the second session of Formula 1 winter testing is about to begin. Here I’m supposed to thank my sponsors (and express more delight) but it appears as though I haven’t got any… It’s a shame and it’s not where I want to be (the lack of sponsors I mean not Jerez).

It’ll mark my only proper report from an F1 event this year because after that it’s going to be Moto2, MotoGP, rallying, GT racing, F2, F3, karting, powerboat racing, Le Mans Series, etc., and possibly WTCC if I get to Porto. Whole lotta noise…

I usually go to Jerez because it allows me to get a decent preview of the F1 circus before the start of the season – the cars are there, the drivers are there, the tickets are cheap, the stores are filled with sherry… For big names in F1 journalism testing is utterly useless and I appreciate it; there’s no glamour, no team bosses around (at least most of the time), no chic of a Grand Prix weekend. You can’t shock your readers with exclusive insider info and then add something about “our spies in the paddock”.

The teams would rather be left alone I think and make winter testing sessions private but how do you keep all those hordes of raging F1 fans away? Especially in Spain on a day when a certain Fernando Alonso is testing in the Ferrari… Besides, you can always get a decent look at what’s happening inside the circuit from the nearby hills or find an opening somewhere. Better make testing financially viable which is exactly what people in charge at Circuito de Jerez did by doubling ticket prices in 2011 (to 20 euros for the main grandstand in front of the garages and 10 for the ones behind the paddock). We’re being ripped off by these pirates in disguise.

I’ll be waiting for the sun (no downpours like last year please!), no live updates from yours truly, sorry. BBC and autosport.com guys will provide anybody who’s willing to spend full 8 hours staring at a computer screen with proper updates.

This is how things went last year:

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Pen 2 the Paper & Camera 2 the Eye