We flew out of Singapore about eight hours after the race, having gone straight from the Press Office to the airport at Small O’Clock. Breakfast in the lounge consisted in some cases of cornflakes and in others a glass of Chardonnay, highlighting the bizarre nature of the time-keeping in Singapore . People were living on completely different clocks and for those on Singapore time it had been a VERY long day. The moment we were on the plane we were asleep. When we touched down in Dubai I was amused to see that a colleague was sitting two seats away and neither of us had even noticed because we were so bushwhacked.
Back in Paris, the first job was the Indian visa, always one of the most disagreeable tasks of the year because if that country’s fixation with make life difficult for itself. They have tried to modernise the system using online forms, although I still don’t see why they need to know where one’a parents were born. Anyway the online system did not work at all. I spent the entire morning filling in the over-complicated online form no fewer than three times having been told to do it with different browsers. None of them worked. I even did it on different computers. I rang the helpline about 10 times and was hung up on in three of the calls. What a brilliant advertisement for India…
It is this kind of thing that has led to the race being dropped from the calendar next year. Oddly enough, ask around the F1 paddock and it is hard to find anyone who really wants to go to India, least of all the teams. The race is probably dead. I don’t know why it has to be like this but a lot of my dealings with India seem to end up in similar messes… It is a great shame because demographically India is the future for the world economy. However if that is going to happen there needs to be some serious reform to get everything working without rubber-stampers wrapping it all up in needless bureaucracy.
The gossip in the Singapore paddock was plentiful but the reality was thin on the ground. I believe that Jenson Button re-signed for McLaren, but no announcement was made. I expect Nico Hulkenburg to sign for Lotus soon and I have a feeling that we could see Adrian Sutil at Sauber.
Felipe Massa is hoping to get a ride somewhere, but the opportunities are thin on the ground. The good news for Felipe is that Mr E needs a Brazilian and will be very supportive as there are no real alternatives, as it seems that GP2 driver Felipe Nasr (which bizarrely rhymes with Massa) does not yet seem to be ready. However if he has the cash – and rumours suggest he does – he could find a berth somewhere at the back end where drives are traded.