Formula 1 News

Paddock Chronicles: Australian GP – Saturday

The Daily Journal of our Australian correspondents as they attend the Australian Grand Prix.
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Both Thursday’s and Friday’s events set a precedence for our Australian correspondent’s paddock experience. If the Saturday was going to be similar to the two proceeding days, it was likely to be engrossing, chaotic yet enjoyable. Arguably, Saturday stayed true to the precedent. Nonetheless, other themes such as tedium and un-fulfilment crept in, as events on and off the track suffered postponements. Regardless, the first day of the weekend remained educational to the F1 paddock’s debutants, as the postponements provided a new experience.

Considering Free Practice 3 was not scheduled to begin until 14:00 local time, Jacob and Gabriel seized the opportunity to recuperate and replenish energy throughout the morning. This was much required considering two consecutive nights had been spent burning the midnight oil.

After arriving at Albert Park in the early afternoon, Melbourne decided to showcase its nation-wide famous weather routine. The routine typically constitutes the sun providing warming rays of sunshine, forcing you to roll your jacket sleeves up in an attempt to cool down. Then, only once comfort has been restored, the Melbourne weather decides to cruelly betray you, serving up wind, coldness and of course, rain. The sleeves were rolled back down. The weather became of no importance upon arrival within the stable conditions of the media centre. The weather was, however, incredibly influential in terms of the day’s track and media events. Many were cancelled.

Considering the rain on track, critical analysis became an obsolete task for journalists. During the wet practice session, a number of teams had varying agendas. The majority of back-marker teams opted to make the most of the session, completing between 16-20 laps. Meanwhile, front-runners seemed relatively disinterested in the session, not willing to risk their vehicles under the testing conditions. Considering the lack of intriguing information obtained during the final practice session, it was time for the moment the whole media centre had been waiting for: Ferrari hospitality’s lunch.

While most team’s hospitality areas have signs such as ‘team members and invited guests only’ posted on their doors, Ferrari, in contrast is incredibly welcoming. Espresso on demand, full Italian style buffet lunch, all of which without a fee. Jacob and Gabriel chose a table adjacent to Felipe Massa’s father who also seemed to be enjoying the late lunch. After indulging in the variety of food that was on offer with fellow journalists, it was time to re-commence work.

Qualifying (or the little qualifying that was completed anyway) dished up some top-drawer entertainment. Choruses of cheers and jeers projected across the media centre, as one name after the other enjoyed the slip-and-slide circuit. Both Jacob and Gabriel operated effectively as a team upon the end of Q1. Gabriel darted down to the FIA ‘pen,’ seeking interviews from those eliminated after Q1, while Jacob relayed the on-track events, or lack of, rather. 10 minutes at a time, Charlie Whiting continuously postponed Q2. It became progressively more obvious that a rescheduling was inevitable. Eventually, the re-scheduling became a reality. Laptop closed, umbrella and recorder hastily collected, Jacob immediately joined Gabriel at the pen. Those who graced the pen, answering the open media, included Jenson Button, Sergio Perez, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Having initially only answered to Spanish media, Gabriel had the privilege of opening the interviewing of Perez. Button was also directly questioned by Gabriel, in a pen that was surprisingly lacking in presence of print journalists. As a result, it is arguable that f1plus.com was able to acquire a considerable amount of credibility at thisparticular media event.

The plan from there was for Jacob to interrogate Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Williams at their planned media arrangements. Considering qualifying had not been completed, paired with the fact that the rain and wind was brutally intensifying, it became clear that these events were not to take place.

Very little action occurred during the course of the Saturday, leaving Jacob and Gabriel struggling to piece a few articles together for the day. Sunday promises to be the busiest, yet most exciting day for the two Australian correspondents considering both qualifying and the race will be held.

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