A weekend in Austria

You have to hand it to Dietrich Mateschitz. He wanted there to be an Austrian Grand Prix and he made it happen, with next-to-no obvious assistance from the local authorities. The facilities at the Red Bull Ring were terrific, and the only things that went wrong (apart, ironically for Mateschitz’s quartet of F1 cars) were matters beyond his control, notably the traffic management. It would be useful if the Austrian politicians could recognise what Mateschitz has done for the Styrian economy by looking into either creating better traffic planning or building a motorway interchange straight into the circuit. A few hundred metres of extra roadway would have made a huge difference. Perhaps the race could then have more spectators and thus more money would flow into the region, which suffers from a lack of skiing and little tourism. There is not much one can do about hotels rooms but more business at the circuit would mean more demand for facilities and less of a problem for the big events. Of course if Austria is allowed a Grand Prix, despite its lack of infrastructure, that argument cannot be used against other tracks such as Magny-Cours, so let’s hope we can soon get a French GP back. It still seems wrong that the World Championship does not include the world’s oldest Grand Prix. Magny-Cours, by the way, does now have a motorway intersection of its own!

Any way, all things considered the return of Austria to F1 was brilliant and I hope the race goes from strength to strength. The use of Mark Webber as the post-race interviewer was fine but will be confusing from those who think there are not kangaroos in Austria.

The next thing for Mateschitz will be to set up a cluster for the motorsport industry in Styria by building his own engines there… Don’t think I’m joking, by the way, Mateschitz is a free thinker, who puts his money where his mouth is. He also has a sense of humour as I don’t think many Austrians would have thought of creating an air show over Zeltweg, involving a shiny American B25 bomber… of the kind that used to fly out this way seventy years ago.

The Zeltweg air base proved useful for the executive jet gang and for lots of other F1 folk as there was a charter flight out to England on Sunday night, that reduced the hassle involved. While some others rushed to Vienna in the late evening and caught early flights home on Monday, I went back to the gasthof near Murau.

I had told them that I was going to check out early on Monday and even mentioned 06.00 as the time, but there was no one there on Sunday night (although they sweetly left the bill out for me). Nor was there anyone there on Monday morning and, as I had no cash, that was a bit of a pain. Driving to a cash machine and back would have involved about 20 miles of switchbacks down into the valley and back again and I did not have time for that. In the end I scouted about around the bar until I found the credit card machine, keyed in the necessary number and left the bill and the receipt sitting there with the room key. Self check-out! Great invention…

Then I was off, following the delightful River Mur until we parted ways at Sankt Michael im Lungau and I headed north towards Salzburg, through tunnels under the Bavarian Alps, with some great views of Berchtesgaden as we neared Salzburg. The rest of the morning was spent dealing with traffic jams and roadworks right across southern Germany. The traffic around Munich looked miserable so I decided to go through the middle, which was a pleasant experience. After Augsburg, Ulm and Stuttgart, the road works finally brought the entire system to a standstill at Pforzheim and I decided it was time to take to some real roads as the freeways up the Rhine Valley all looked slow. So I drove through to Karlsruhe and then headed into the Pfalz Forest up to Pirmasens, where a new road is being built to “cut the corner” between France and Southern Germany. It was nearly 5pm before I reached Metz where I wrong-slotted and wasted some time downtown and it was getting towards dinner time as I whizzed past Disneyland Paris and pondered what to do to cross the metropolis. All the way from Verdun, I had listened on the radio about the traffic jams in and around Paris and my choices all looked rather poor. I was keen to avoid hassle and decided that fortune favours the brave and so drove right through the middle! Sometimes it works…

I rejoiced at a view of green lights all along the Rue de Rivoli to the Place de la Concorde and much the same up the Champs Élysées, I went under the Arc in the sneaky little tunnel and was soon down to the Porte Maillot. After that the tunnels under La Defense flowed freely and I was home before the end of the eight o’clock news.

It seems that I never tire of driving and seeing the world at close hand rather than from an airplane. During the Austrian weekend Damon Hill told me that he was considering doing some road trips to races, because it sounded like fun, while Martin Brundle proved that he is already hard core, having ridden a motorcycle from Le Mans to Austria, staying off all the motorways! Nice work, if you don’t need to be in an office.

This week I will be off to England again, if the wheels haven’t fallen off the car…

78 thoughts on “A weekend in Austria

  1. Pardon my curiosity, Joe… what is your vehicle of choice for these wonderful sounding European voyages?

      1. Tempted by a nice newTesla model S now that the super-charger network is growing across Europe?

      2. My daughter recently moved from the east coast to California; she and her brother drove cross country on a road trip adventure; not in her Audi S4 convertible (it went by rail) but in a rented Prius.

        Owning an S4 I thought I’d taught her a thing or two about the experience of fine automobile ownership and road trips. When I asked her why she said it was obvious: The fuel mileage and the Prius swallowed a lot more luggage.

      3. “A Toyota Prius shit box that I love.”
        They are good cars. My late father loved his.
        I am going to guess ‘blue’, probably metallic. Close?

        1. They are great cars. But mine has been battered by Paris parking for years and is “a shitbox” but it still goes well. I am more confederate than union

  2. Did you see any signs that said Ausfahrt? Disneyland Paris – Still surprised they pulled that one off.

      1. LOL, Joe, a little dyslexia that causes me to always skip back whilst reading ahead, for proper names, almost caught me out there!

        A Town Called Exit

         Long drives and missed turnings, adventures in the satnav gap.

      2. I bought a Zippo lighter in a smoke shop in Stuttgart that had the saying, ‘Where the hell is Ausfahrt”? engraved on the side of the case. My spouse and I chuckled over that for many minutes having spent the day before on the Autobahn.

  3. As an F1 truckie for many, many years, this was the only way to go to races. Apart from the obvious of needing to get the cars and the equipment to the circuits, driving there was the best way of being involved in this game. There was a sense of cameraderie with all the guys on the teams that will never happen now. It’s just not the same being an Eddie Stobart contractor or whatever they do now!
    And the delights of Magny Cours will never leave me either, as my engine truck was detained in the French lorry drivers strike a few years back. I thought I would be stuck for a couple of hours, but my wagon was held there for a week! Bloody French know how to cause a problem when they want to!
    Too many good days outweighed these though, and it was a great time to be a part of it.

    1. I always thought it would be the coolest thing, to hitch a lift to a race with one of you guys. It wouldn’t happen, somehow I think some red tape or insurance or something would clobber the idea, but a team could get a lot of PR by letting someone ride with the crew. So glad to hear you had a proper time of it. Any stories?

      1. Perhaps not an isolated incident but some illegal immigrants “hitched” a lift underneath one team truck last year… found them when they got back to their UK base

        1. Monocoques spoiled the smuggling, too!

          Can I please repeat my beg, for Rocksteddie to roll us up some tales?

  4. Thanks Joe I really enjoy your road trip descriptions to and from Grand Prixs, they bring a real flavour of European topography and the openness of the continent, despite the traffic jams!
    I really enjoyed the Austrian GP, it was one of my favourites back the late 1990s and its good to see it back. Not only is the scenery beautiful but the layout promotes frenetic driving, almost like a go cart track.

    1. A long as there’s little stories of human trust and invention, I hold on hope for the world! I still would have liked to have that illustrated with a picture, though!

  5. I remember a family holiday in the late 1990’s, with 7 up in a Volvo 960turbo estate, and a top box, rear of the car sagging under the load, and rotating round the Arc de Triomphe trying to (a) find the right exit for our journey, and (b) trying to avoid all the kamikaze French people rocketing across the bows of the Volvo! It was a salutary experience, enhanced when we managed to escape at last, went down some narrow, twisty, side roads, and ended up surrounded by machinegun toting French semi military Police, carrying out a drugs raid or something……scary wasn’t the word….Mum & Dad were having kittens, the 5 kids thought it was awesome!!
    I really liked the trips to and from holiday destinations in Southern France, Austria, Germany and other places, when our kids were young, the driving was always a pleasure, although the kids tried hard to make it otherwise at times…lol.. The best thing was that the roads are great to drive, and in places like France, one really notices the lack of traffic compared to the overcrowded roads of the UK.

  6. Everyone has said it was a fantastic event, and the visitors seem to come from every local country around Austria. Looks like this one might stay on the calendar

  7. Nice post.
    Re the traffic problems for the Grand Prix. Maybe Bernie wil teach them a lesson by moving the date to April? It would be nice to be consistent.

    1. Even venerable dictionaries, written by craggy old farts, change with time to address the way the world is, I am sure that you can manage.

      1. True Tim, maybe Joe is moving from the ” Dark Side ” to join us fans in the Forests? LoL!!!

        1. I’d be happy with that if it helps to get rallying back to where it should be in terms of profile and popularity!

          I just don’t understand how it doesn’t have a better profile on TV etc. These are perhaps the greatest drivers in the world doing the most spectacular things with cars…

          But then this is an F1 blog, so I’ll stop 😉

          1. You are right Tim, those guys are real modern day Gladiators. Every time I go to a WRC, I pinch myself, as I can’t see how rallying at that level, is still allowed in our Elf ‘n Safety obsessed, politically correct world! I see the BRC has been canned for 2015 while the MSA work out what to do with it. The answers lie in turning the clock back, people are just not excited by 1600cc FWD Citroens….and the same applies to WRC, people want noise and spectacle, and the current WRC regs restrict both, as well as keeping it off terrestrial tv, has lost them shed loads of fans. Having Kubica there is the best thing that has happened to the WRC since McRae blasted onto the scene, and shows what is missing. When Kubica gets to be quick enough to finish while being slow enough to stay on the road, he could well get the title he should have had the chance of in F1.

  8.  You couldn’t ask Damon and Martin to guest travelogue, could you? It would be brilliant to get a crowd of F1 minds set to the roads of Europe … not quite a coalition of grumpy old men hitting the road, more the free thinkers of F1, all of whom can turn a phrase. I would say those are complimentary voices. If the three of you agreed to each do your next journeys, well, all I can say is it would be very cool to read.

     If only I ran the marketing, I would have a slush fund to cajole these things into happening. And to syndicate. Someone push this copy into the NYT weekend section, the IHT, WSJ’s sections, FT Weekend, right across the web outlets. Might have to hire a full time wine broker if these got popular, though! What am I saying? These are already very popular. Just needs a push out to the mainstream. Your travelogues are now my link to your website. If I send a link, I pick out one of these rather than the main page link. I always get a positive comment when I do that. Otherwise it’s, “oh, John reads a F1 blog”. Huge difference in reaction.

     Guys and gals, reading this, that may be a good trick to use, I stumbled on, there. If your correspondent is not much a race fan, send them straight to one of these articles. I got a friend’s wife reading, at least for a while, this way. She at least doesn’t turn the channel automatically now, if BBC have a relay. I think for some, F1 is a bit daunting. We go on about superlatives, then politics, then money, then we might get talking about some actual racing…. I exaggerate, but I think the Bernie Blair donation, and Silverstone bashing, still resonates in casual impressions of the sort. Send your friends a link to where they can read a human, intelligent, appreciation, that explains real life around a race, and, well, I suddenly get comments like “oh, I see why you think this is cool”. Promote GP+, Make F1 less alien to the rest of the world, Make self less strange to friends, oh Result!

    1. >> We go on about superlatives, then politics, then money, then we
      >> might get talking about some actual racing…. I exaggerate…

      Actually, you understate…

      Don’t forget the noise… and the noses… and whatever else might be not exactly the same as it was…

      When was the last time posters here talked much about Actual Racing? (Beats me…)

      1. But we don’t talk about the racing, ya know. It’s like wall street, pros don’t talk about money 🙂

        Okay, dammit, the problem is that about no one on the webs who talks about racing does not seem to do other than act as a fanbot. What we need to do, and it is strange here, almost everyone is a bit shy of saying who they are a fan of, and I think mainly we’ve all been around three or four gens of drivers, plenty more for a few, did the octogenarian lady fan ever comment again(not my mom, she just tells me what to say every now and then) so it’s a more equanimous affair here, well let’s try. You up for it? Or are we screwed because everyone here is either so pissed with Bernie they won’t pay for Sky TV, or too poor, or whatever…. I am starting to think the thing they have at arstechnica where they add a icon “et subscriptor” might be worth the reveal. Then i’d be shown up as never reading GP+ before half season. dunno how you’d reflect who actually watched.. but maybe we should wear our economic devotion on our wrists, so TPTB can see we’re not all just moaning we don’t get the show of our dreams for free?

        Hey I got a idea: we design a “captcha” of images of the current latest race and you have to identify the correct driver or something, before you can post…

  9. Great read Joe. As a youngster in the late 60s my father’s idea of a holiday was to drive the wheels off whatever car he had across Europe. By the time I was 14 I had navigated him to Yugoslavia (as was) twice, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Czechoslovakia, plus Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, a number of times. Your descriptions remind me a time that I had thought had passed with cheap air travel – maybe I ought to try it again.

      1. Second that. Totally second that. Not for chiming in’s sake. Just do it for you and who will be with you!

  10. Mateschitz is to be applauded for what he has done (in a similar fashion to what Paul Ricard and his eponymously named circuit tried to accomplish for the Var) but don’t count on government support.

  11. Lack of good road infrastructure around the circuit – shades of Silverstone not too many years ago? We were amazed at the Daytona 500 in 1982 (the only time we have been, but not because of lack of want), that the main exit was controlled by State Troopers who turned all traffic left on to the multi-lane highway, regardless of the direction it wanted and let it sort itself out at the next intersections. It worked and emptied the car parks in record time. Keep up the travelogues, great reading, shades of DSJ et al, as has been said by others.

  12.  Joe, when are you going to pick for yourself a camera for these stories?

     Olympus are now selling a standard range pro zoom for their OMD series, a 24-80 mm equivalent f/2.8. that with any of their models, but the OM–D E-M1 flagship is barely much more than the others, and really is better to handle, gives you a compact serious general kit. It’s almost impossible to stuff a shot with these cameras. The Fujifilm XT-1 delivers first rate pictures, has a edge I think in automatic flash balancing, but is a bit quirky. These cameras with the latest electronic viewfinders (reason to get the latest ones, as substantial improvement even over the excellent one I have) are a godsend to spectacle wearers, to less youthful eyes, to serious users for the information they present, or do not present as you can turn off distractions.

     If you have not looked at a camera for even just three years, you’re in for a revelation, I am sure of it. I hope there’s not some silly rule about needing different accreditation to wander the paddock slinging photo apparatus, but I’m sure you’d not be hindered, and team people know you too well to worry you might be spying!

     I’m going to nag you, until something gives, Joe!

     What gives might be if I salvage a deal that got clobbered by last year’s stupidity around my life, because if I make a save on that, I’m not gonna wait, i’ll FedEx you the darned thing, if you would only use it! Genuine threat, there; my being unable to close off a long long planned project left a tax deductions nightmare, I’ll be singing in the hills if I set that one straight. Many years of work got panned..

     Seriously, whoever reads this with even a passing interest, please at least have a look at the Olympus ones. I’m biased, but biased by the delight of being able to put as much or as little “professional input” into a shot, and be rewarded with fine images regardless. The Olympus OM–D models are to me the most seamless blend of simplicity and technical power. In many aspects that matter to me, they surpass Canon and Nikon flagships. You can, to a very reasonable degree, forget post processing and Photoshop and fiddling about. Especially if you have the time, in camera settings hand processing are astoundingly capable on the Olympus. You will not be needing to upgrade any of these current cameras, probably ever, save for eventually parts for repairs might be hard to get or uneconomic to fix, though that is a possible reason to not choose brilliant but more niche makes and models. Your love will never not thank you, though, if you take a look how some of those Fujifilm lenses render portraits. Equally the Panasonic–Leica 25mm f/1.4 though a “normal” lens, I see used with increasing frequency on fashion shoots. That was my only lens, for a while.

     Older spectacles wearers, if any of you out there have not tried out these electronic viewfinders — it is possible in this age of camera stores being almost extinct and big general stores not stocking the higher end — please do find a way to get a hands on. There is nothing better to have advanced the art in recent years, in my opinion. These ‘finders give you such a view, such ease, it’s a delight. Fujifilm, Sony, and there are others with these brilliant EVFs, most of which are made by Epson, I believe. When digital came in, viewfinders for physical and other reasons became on the whole plain off putting. As Ken Rockwell will never let you forget, you can see more clearly through thirty year old film cameras that you pick up for next to nothing on eBay, than you can even in eight kilobuck flagships.. Can always return through Amazon, in fact returns policy saves the day. You don’t always get perfectly aligned lenses first time, for example. I see so little reason to look for bargains when there are, at least in the US, constant rebate and other deals direct from the manufacturers. As controversial as he is, armed with a doctoral degree in engineering, he likes to tease the web ninnies of nitpicking*, a valuable read is http://www.kenrockwell.com , click through “What’s New”. Not the best navigation, but that’s the whole thing there for a read through. Most all of his tips are generic, sensible, will save you money and frustration. Money and frustration are such obstacles to enjoyment and art, if you once get tangled by their tendrils.

     Or if photography is not your thing, in fact especially if photographers in your friends and family irritate you, you will really enjoy The Seven Levels Of Photographers

     We all love the travelogues, there must be a few photographers in the audience… I’m not alone in thinking Joe should go better equipped, am I?!!!

    * I am trying to promote new collective nouns, e.g. a idiot of nincompoops, but a really big load of nincompoops is a nonsense of nincompoops. Two favorites of mine that could just be self coined. When in easy company, and we’re discussing rules we hate, it’s a ripsh## of regs, a ###up of FIAisms, a reprobation of regulators. Decisions after the race we don’t like are made by a stickup of stewards, based on a tossload of telemetry. A bad sales day leads to us lamenting how to corral a speculation of spacejockeys. But then my palpitations of prose can give rise to a johnother of druthers..

    1. My link to The Seven Levels Of Photographers didn’t work, here’s the direct:


      It’s certainly amusing to read. “Which one are you?” asked a girlfriend as I was toting what I thought was a minimal two camera kit around my neck on a beautiful but sweltering day… but my prints “sold” fast to her family, so maybe it doesn’t matter… Ah, film. I miss it sometimes. Angēnieux lens. If you ever are offered one of their zoom lenses for, well in fact for any not insane price, you will not be disappointed. That plus Kodak Portra film stock was too good at making me look good.

      Here’s a second try at the named link using just the standard way:

      The Seven Levels Of Photographers

      If that’s not working, could be just the wordpress template has deprecated naming links, to force showing the address. No bad thing, link hygiene can be important, so as to prevent spamming, but it worked the other day, and is nice it shorten some links..

      1. Hmm, must have been a typo on my part. I shall make sure, though, always to be clear where a link is sending you, as and when I ever name the links.

    2. Sony QX100… mis-positioned as good camera that attaches to your smartphone (as an upgrade to your phone’s so-so camera)… what it really is is a stealth RX100… your phone becomes a remote electronic viewfinder/camera-controller…

      Amazing what shots you can get when you don’t have to conspicuously aim the camera from near your eyeball…. people shots become much more candid… other shots from whatever perspective you can dream up… I think it’s much more important (photography-wise) than Sony’s marketing dept seems to realize… imperfections lie in the software, not the gizmo, are fixed by periodic updates to the free app…

      Wonderful outside-the-box thinking that moves the camera, well, outside the box… not cheap though… (a much better deal thru the sony card site)… android’s use of NFC makes it easier than apple’s stubborn NFC-lessness, but readily doable either way…

      1. sister QX10 is same idea… cheaper, smaller, lighter… more zoom, lesser lens quality… won’t impress photographers but likely fine for e-pix

  13. France GP yep all for that but not at Magny-Cours which I just remember as being dull. But Circuit Paul Ricard that I would go for.

  14. Did anyone notice the digitally superimposed “Thank you Mateschitz, Bernie” that they put on the F1 broadcast? I only saw it for a few seconds.

      1. The ‘digitally superimposed “Thank you Mateschitz, Bernie”’ was a dreadful moment.

        When has he ever thanked any other track owner?

        Makes you wonder what else they might decide to superimpose digitally. A winning Ferrari when the reality was a winning Williams? A nasty fore-shadowing of potential future manipulations.

    1. I ranked it the second most cringe-worthy and embarrassing thing I have seen in F1 since I started following the sport (first place going to the US GP 2005). Completely inappropriate for the pinnacle of motorsport to do that on the World TV feed in my view.

      Maybe at a future GP they could do: “By the way, we’ve cancelled your contract”, or something to that effect.

  15. Each year, the Missus and I drive from Calgary to Montreal for the GP; around 9000 km round trip. Wonderful detours to obscure (beer-related) towns in the US, a stop for some wine in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and presto, you’re in Montreal in time for Joe’s talk!

  16. Joe, another vote for a “travel blog”, particularly if you can get other blokes to pitch in stories.

    Avoiding the motorways, a friend and I drove my Jowett Javelin from Los Angeles to Alabama last Oct. Great way to experience the country.

    1. a jowett javelin in the USA ??? my father sold his in the early 60’s because ford had put them out of business…bought their body supplier and stopped supplies ; a car ahead of it’s time

  17. One thing that occasionally delights me since retiring and moving north to the flatlands, is the traffic report, of congestion in the south. I have always been one to exit a traffic jam and explore alternative routes, but there used to be unavoidable and almost terminal sloth in all routes southwards near the A34, they continue still! The old way through the lanes before the Newbury bypass was built was the scene of my worst (and hopefully last) crash, which wrote off a company Civic, a car I never liked, which ended a on it’s side in an Italian job style dangly over a disused railway cutting. Dont worry chaps your are safe now, I have arthritis and drive diesel Venga, mostly very much slower.

    So Joe good luck, I used to reckon a days driving in northern France equated to about an hour’s progress in the UK. I wish you you better.

  18. “All the way from Verdun, I had listened on the radio about the traffic jams in and around Paris and my choices all looked rather poor. I was keen to avoid hassle and decided that fortune favours the brave and so drove right through the middle!”

    Even though you’re driving a Prius, all I can think about is Claude Lelouch’s “Rendezvous”. For a while it was restricted to pay-for-view, but it’s now available (with your permission, Joe) to stream at http://vimeo.com/34039780.

    One of the best car movies ever.

  19. Enjoyed reading this Joe, thanks. One note though: while I share your wish of the French GP’s return, I hope it’s not at Magny Cours. Magny Cours is the first ever Tilkedrome, built before Tilke even started building his masterpieces. It has 2 good corners but the rest of it is as bland as Abu Dhabi. Always had boring races too, unless it rained(1992, 1999)

    1. The new Magny Cours was actually not very different to the original long circuit, used in the 1970s and 1980s. The pits were in a different place and there were a few changes but you cannot blame Tilke.

      1. Joe, I’m not blaming Tilke whatsoever. What I meant was that the Magny Cours circuit design is as bad and bland as any generic “Tilkedrome”. And that, in turn, is why I don’t want to see it back on the calendar despite wanting very much the return of the French GP. Just hope it’s at Paul Ricard, a new track, etc. Anywhere but there

  20. Joe
    Regardless of the pleasures of driving (at least on empty and side roads…) and the issues of air travel, mainly the short ones, how would you compare (roughly) the cost of air travel x road travel between Paris and Spielberg? Gas prices in Europe are high…..Thanks

  21. Great to see Austria back on the calendar and doing well. It was my first and second foreign GP. First time an organised trip featuring an audience with Jonathan Palmer the second me and a mate driving to it. We camped next to the circuit, spent a night with a group of Lotus mechanics and our wake up call on Sunday morning were the cars going past in free practice. Loved it and been very fond of Austria every since, approximately 28 years. Shame the original circuit is not still used though.

  22. Quick answer to the Hack, have always enjoyed Le Mans and F1 but thought this years 24 hours coverage was excellent, it even drew in my F1 (read Ferrari) enthusiastic 8 year old boy and my wife who normally would prefer going to the dentist than watching cars drive round in circles.
    Incidentally thought the Audi and Toyota adverts were far better than the cliched Renault F1 pitstop at a petrol station.

  23. I agree with Joe. I’d much rather drive than fly anywhere. I’ve just done 5,000kms in a WW2 Dodge Amubulance for the D-Day anniversary. By driving you see so much more of the world than the departure lounge at CDG.

  24. Forget an ‘Audience with Joe’, a ‘Road Trip with Joe’.
    I’m sure there would be more than a few takers and possibly a good fundraising event.

  25. Joe your travelogues are more interesting than the race. Apart from Hamilton’s overtaking efforts on the first lap and Daniel’s pass on Hulkenburg on the last lap were there any other passing moves other than those done through pitstop strategies? Compare this to the Moto GP’s this season – especially Catalunya, Jerez and Mugello – and you can see why people are switching off F1 this year. Looks like Austria had the record crowd this year for qualifying by the way

        1. I can confirm as a fan that would see MotoGP on the BBC, that moving to BT Sport App means I don’t watch it (despite having the app). The same can surely be said for casual F1 fans that don’t have Sky, unless they manage to catch the smaller highlights packages on BBC.

          Tony – there were a few, but most were not shown as usual, probably because they were not in the points scoring positions.

          1. Funnily enough, I’m actually finding the Beeb highlights shows to be better than when they showed every round in full. For one thing a lot of the spurious talking heads stuff has gone, and we only get the action parts of the races, without any boring laps, so the races seem better than they used to be….

            1. True, it is very slimmed down, and probably better value for money for the general audience. It’s stripped back to just the race and necessary intro/outro, with a focus on showing pretty much the whole race. I still think they could cut costs by replacing Suzi Perry with Lee McKenzie, but they always like to have a ‘big name presenter’.

              I noticed a little 10 minute news channel feature on iPlayer of an interview with Claire Williams after Q, so it looks like they are still trying to bring us some feature interviews where possible. But as a fan, I did like their comprehensive coverage.. while Sky looked promising in parts, they seem to now be moving away from analysis to including more ‘talking heads’ stuff.

  26. Joe, much as I love the travelogues, have you ever done a piece on how you spend your GP weekend. Who you bumped into, like Damon, who you managed to get some sense from and how you actually put GP+ together in double quick time?

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