news

SPY: A HIGHER LOVE

Good morning Y’all, Spy here, breathing all the lovely oxygen in the great state of Texas. Mexico City’s a fine, fine place but next year I’m bringing an aqualung. Formula One is hard work at the best of times; making us do it without air seems a little bit cruel.

It’s well worth it though. Mexico is a great grand prix and Spy – not often associated with praising race promoters – is full of admiration for the way it’s organised. Excellent paddock, great spectator access and no fear of trying new things. Seeing Seb on the podium giving every indicator of wanting to punch the race mascot for trying to take a selfie was funny too: Sebastian doesn't do social.

Our result at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez was a bit iffy. Fifth and sixth reaches the minimum standard but, frankly, we were hoping for a bit better than that. Alex maximised what he had underneath him and Max drove a pretty heroic solo race from half a lap off the back of the field but… opportunities missed.

It was a pretty tough weekend all around. The paddock is gripped with one of its periodic bouts of lurgee, and every garage had people down and out, shivering uncontrollably or just having the very fixed expression of one simply waiting for the meds to kick in. Obviously Spy – being a hard man of international motorsport – suffered no such affliction, though wandering around slowly with red-rimmed eyes as if at death’s door is pretty much Spy’s standard operating procedure, so it’s doubtful anyone noticed. What was satisfying is seeing the pit crew bang in a 1.93s stop for Alex after all of that. Top effort.

Less enjoyable was packdown. As happens disturbingly often, the clouds waited until just after the chequered flag to burst. The only thing worse than doing packdown when you’re ill is doing packdown when you’re ill and stood under an ice-cold deluge. When we finally piled into the minibus deep into the night everyone looked like a drowned (plague) rat. Never mind Día de Muertos, the bus sounded more like Night of the Living Dead.

But that’s behind – and above – us now. We’ve arrived in Austin, home of live music, unpacking a load of damp kit that smells like a particularly energetic Springer Spaniel. But it’s Austin, so that’s OK. Everything is better with barbecue. This weekend might be weird though: it’s currently freezing, the schedule is all over the place – even without the second daylight saving time change in two weekends – and seems to be geared more towards the evening concerts than the racing. Of course, ask the crew if they’re going to see Imagine Dragons they’ll think you’re talking about a bad reaction to the flu shots.