The Black Flag
Welcome To The Black Flag Page. This is my column, usually produced weekly or after a race weekend. It is where i give my views of the weeks motorsport, and international events for you to enjoy!
ISSUE #1 – MONACO GP WEEKEND 2007
Well, how to start something new i guess before i go on about what had happened since the Monaco GP got into full swing on Wednesday last week, i would like to take the chance to talk about the Blog for a few moments. You see, a few months ago i started the blog because i culdn’t find a place that had all of the F1 news presented in a nice way that i liked, and secondly because i wanted to make a place that “real” f1 fans interacted in an environment where the thing they are reading is written by someone that actually enjoys F1, and is a mere fan aswell. The Blog has exploded, and from the early days where it was just 1 man and his dog viewing us are now gone, we have surpassed the 1,000 hits mark very quickly, within the first 2 months, and as we go into the 5th month of writing, i want to keep a steady base of around 100 people viewing the blog per-day and around 40+ feed subscribers. That has been another success, getting the RSS Set-up as you can see on the right hand side of the page, subscribe if you are using IE7. Now the blog is on its feet, i am introducing new features that i hope you will enjoy, the Black Flag column being just one of them. I am also beginning to strenthen links with F1 teams, so i can bring you many more Q&A’s with top drivers and personnel aswell as Official Press Releases. Anyway, i would just like to thank you as the readers for enjoying the blog, and i hope that you continue visting. We will always be first with the best news and interviews, look at our scoops including Alx Danielsson’s Testing Photos, here before they were published in Autosport, and our scoop on the brake-light testing in F1.
Wednesday at Monaco brought the usual in-flux of over paid celebrities, rich and famous people and superstars who were all here sunning themselves on massive yachts in Monaco’s harbour ready for the week of intense partying and socialising and then the F1 maybe aswell. Although, i think that if many of them want to know the result of the Grand Prix they will be buying the newspaper on Monday morning to see who won. Drivers, were all here and being whisked from one advertising and promotional activity to another, the biggest of which being the Steinmetz partnership with McLaren. It was a great opportunity for the diamond company to put some ridiculously expensive rocks into the side of an F1 helmet, and have a beautiful woman parading massive diamonds around her neck. It also meant that when peolpe want diamonds they will go and buy Steinmetz (yeah sure…). Lewis Hamilton looked pleased enough, his young mind being completly and utterly infatuated with a small ring that spun around and that fact that he had “Bling in his helmet”. I suppose we should let him have some fun Alonso looked a lot more subdued.
However, lets not forget that McLaren aren’t the only ones here with a new “thing” just for Monaco, Ferrari were parading a new blood-red car complete with Marlboro branding, something which you don’t get much of in F1 anymore; one of my biggest dissappointments was the lack of Gauloises logos around the track, something which usually makes me think of Monaco. However, i think that there is one group of people always so madly forgotten at Monaco, and they are the ones that are doing most of the work; the mechanics. Seeing some of the truckies parking their massivly oversized and over-branded trucks into tiny space around Monaco’s harbour is quite amazing and astonishing, there is almost no space at all to get anything around and its quite a logistical nightmare, just one of those things that reminds you this is a city after all. Another funny thing is when you see where the mechanics have to work, they leave the cars and their equipment during the weekend in an underground car park, highly entertaining to see all of the mechanics working in such small confines, one wonders how they do it. Yet despite all of their hardwork it is unlikely they will even smell the scent of champagne from the casino. The other thing that reminds everyone this is still a city, was this picture:
Cars parked around Tabac, interesting to think that F1 cars will be tearing through at well over 150 mph this weekend.
Thursday at Monaco brought an air of optimism to it. The pitlane in the morning was not full of celebs, they were all still in bed nursing the wounds of the night before, but a cool monaco track brought out only the photographers and the die-hards. The cars were pumping through the corners getting use to their new “Hard but soft” tyres. The only real incident was from whom? Oh yes what a surprise Christijan Albers red flagged the practice. At least this time it was not completly his fault, the engine broke. Albers is one of those people that annoy me greatly in F1; i have never spoken to him admittedly, but he seems to be completly crap at driving F1 cars. His new team mate Adrian Sutil is completly eclipsing him in performance, it is quite shocking really. Into the afternoon and the sun came out along with some women who were very interested in their sun-bathing but not the F1 cars; i do wonder why many people actually turn up to Monaco on Thursday, i mean why dont they just fly in on Friday
A few incidents later and that was that, practice gone and McLaren’s new diamonds were making them faster than the Ferrari’s. Im sure that bling was helping them go so much faster (isn’t that right Mr.Steinmetz).
Friday at Monaco is traditionally the rest day. If you want the truth of it, Monaco’s residents could not bear to be woken up at 9am 3 days in a row by the howling of V8 engines, and amazingly they need food to eat so this is yet another day of PR and questions. Ferrari why aren’t you as fast as McLaren? Red Bull, why are Toro Rosso seemingly quicker than you? the same questions continually repeated by many different people.
The only things to look forward to on Friday was the fashion at Amber Lounge. Steve Rider dropped his ITV for the night and came out to watch the women on the catwalk, enjoying it as he did not just commentating on the parade… Bernie was there as usual, but fortunatly for us so were his delectible daughters.
Saturday at Monaco brought the dreaded rain. “Oh yes” i remember thinking to myself, we might have a rain race and that would cause a lot of problems! Amazingly, almost every driver went off somewhere, St.Devote being a favourite, Lewis Hamilton attempting to make the same mistake as he did on Thursday but this time he remembered and just managed to miss the barriers. It was the first time the camera’s really caught site of Schumacher, he was here to help Ferrari although i doubt that Kimi Raikkonen was listening; he really needs to sort himself out. Adrian Sutil was quickest, and good on the lad, its about time everyone sat up and noticed him he is getting as much as he can from that poor Spyker chassis.
The afternoon brightened up, and we saw some intense racing between the McLarens for the fight for the all important pole positon. Kimi Raikkonen did a Schumacher, sending the french commentator into a frenzy, it was amazing to think that maybe Michael Schumacher WAS telling the truth and the Rascasse Cheating was a real accident! Whoever would have thought it (*rolls eyes*). But, Raikkonen had already damaged the suspension, maybe that had something to do with it!
Sunday at Monaco is the big one. Every celebrity, money man and TV crew on the planet seems to have turned up on the grid. Walking through it feels like trying to get through a shopping centre at Christmas. It is complete and utter gridlock. You have the cars, and a lot of people but the TV cameras and then the entire brass band of Monaco on there aswell and its getting crowded. Martin Brundle was running around like normal doing his infamous and might i add very good gridwalks. Some of the persenters just get in the way, but this is Monaco and the gridgirls, some of the best looking of the year (barring the Martini Girls and Hungarian Ladies) brighten the place up a bit. The race got going and the order from the first lap would remain unchanged, and all the people started hitting the mini-bar on their boats. Whiskey, Beer and anything you could get your hands on was being consumed by the yacht renters and owners. The race was just a background for some of these people. As McLaren won again, one had to feel sorry for Ferrari. Purely because McLaren executed their team orders but didnt get booed or caught, unlike Ferrari in Austria 2002. The race was fairly boring, you have to admit, even Michael Schumacher started texting his mates in the back of the Ferrari garage before some canny tv man picked it up with the camera. David Coulthard had claerly had enough at the end of the race, he stopped his car by his yacht, got out and walked off to have a drink, quite entertaining watching him parking “His Car” outside his place
Monday at Monaco has come and gone. The drivers boarded their jets, the celebrities went home and the pit crews are putting the cars away before making their journies back to base where they will analyse every single corner and piece of data before flying to Canada for the next race. Monaco gets its streets back, the barriers go, the adverts go. One wonders though, with so many adverts at Monaco all over the walls and even of course in the tunnel, how long it will be before they start putting adverts on the race track similar to how they do in Cycling.