Tony Hall of Fame digital series on iberianmph dot com is in full swing now! Valencia Street Circuit circa 2010, the circuit you loved to hate. Having done track walk, it amazed me we didn’t have a lot of overtaking in Valencia when the track was SO wide in some places. It’s a shame the race is no longer featured on the F1 calendar, it felt alright when you were in the city at the time of the Grand Prix weekend: easy access to the circuit by public transport, fan-friendly, etc.. I’m sure most “celebrity” F1 journos à la @Insert_Your_Name_Here_F1 hated it for various personal reasons, what can you do, eh? You can’t please everybody in this world. The 2010 race will be forever remembered for Kovalainen giving Mark Webber wings, 500 GP start for Lotus Nº2 aka Super Fernandes Later Caterham F1 and what else? HRT’s McLaren 2015 livery of course, Cosworth V8 sound, Bruno Senna’s friendliness (yours truly and Hall of Fame had a great chat with Bruno), Kubica’s driving on the limit and just a bunch of cool drivers on the grid. Good memories.
Paddock Visit – 2010 European GP in Valencia
The European Grand Prix on the street circuit in Valencia saw the second visit by members of Renault F1 team blog to the F1 paddock with the aim of bringing a perspective of what it feels like to be next to the RF1 team, the R30 and our drivers in the paddock at an F1 race event.
We were met by a RF1 press officer on Thursday and guided to the paddock area where everyone was very busy preparing for the race and the drivers’ press conferences. It is also the day that all of the team’s cars have to be scrutinized to ensure that they comply with the F1 technical regulations.
Our first stop was the Renault F1 garages. Entering from the rear /paddock entrance the RF1 lorries which house the spare parts and drivers briefing and rest areas were the first to pass. The Bridgestone tyre allocation for the weekend was arriving, seemed like there were hundreds of them.
The garage area comprised of different sections. There was the IT area where approximately 10 technicians can see everything that is happening to the cars whilst on the track. It also has a live camera feed so they can see what the engineers and mechanics are doing to the cars in the garage.
The next area was where new gear boxes are ready to be fitted should the need arise. Next we saw the drivers’ helmets, racing suits and shoes. It seems, Robert likes to wear driving shoes that are well used, maybe he can feel the pedal better. Another area had all the headsets of the team mechanics lined up and ready for use.
Then we were in the garage, the two R30s right in front of us both stripped of their outer body work. Obviously, no photographs were allowed but we were free to see the mechanics at work, calmly and methodically readying the R30s for Friday’s practice. Around 10 mechanics and technicians were working on each car. The entire garage was so clean and well organised, everything in its right place.
After the garage visit we spent a couple of hours in the paddock. People were coming and going. The team principal, Eric Boullier, was busy either on the telephone or doing an interview, may even have been something for the podcast, we will see. In the Renault motorhome both the drivers, Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov, were relaxing watching a World cup football match. Whoever was playing they seemed to be enjoying it and were smiling, joking and laughing. In addition, we saw Renault young drivers Ho Pin Tung and Jérôme D’Ambrosio. Another visitor was ex-F1 driver Jacques Laffite whose last race in F1 was in 1986.
After the paddock visit it was time for a walk up pit lane. The drivers from all the teams were meeting the public and signing autographs. It was also our opportunity to see inside the other teams’ garages and to observe some of the cars being pushed back down pit lane after being scrutinized by the FIA.
We had a great paddock visit and I hope this gives a sense of what it feels like to be close to the team.
Thank you again Renault F1 for the opportunity.