SPY: Holiday in the Sun

Well, that’s that. Another long F1 season consigned to the pages of Autocourse. Nothing left to do now but go home, reintroduce yourself to loved ones, and take a well-earned rest in the hope that the wonky shoulder, the dodgy knee, and the streaming cold all go away before winter testing begins in February.

Well, nothing to do except the two-day tyre test this week, take the garage apart, ship everything back to the factory, strip the cars, rebuild for a couple of demo runs, receive the sea-freight making its way home from Japan, Mexico, Austin, test, repair/scrap/redesign/test again all of that, pack and dispatch the kit for Australia and Vietnam, put the Christmas tree up on the mezzanine above the race bays, behave disgracefully at the Christmas Party, have a day off, come back, take the Christmas tree down, get the sea-freight from Brazil and Abu Dhabi, send more kit to Bahrain and China, start receiving bits for the new car, moan about the new bits, learn how to put the new car together, learn how to take the new car apart, learn how to put the new car together quickly, learn how to put the new car together quickly and with everything the right way up, put the engine in, fire it up, take it apart, ship it to Spain and then have a well-earned rest on the flight to Barcelona, hoping the wonky shoulder, the dodgy knee and the streaming cold are cured by a fortnight of crisp, frosty mornings at the Circuit de Catalunya. 

Formula One. It’s magic!

Hello everyone, Spy here. 21 races, a couple of tests, a lot of sandwiches and an industry-standard amount of drama, intrigue and consternation. Has it been a vintage year? Perhaps more of a table wine – but definitely one with plenty of body and good legs.

It wasn’t a mega race with which to end the year, though the FIA paying for their Christmas party with fifty large extracted from Ferrari gave everyone a good chuckle on the grid. Yas Marina’s a nice place to end the season, and while we’d have rather gone there with a title to win, with not very much at stake it’s a good venue at which to wind down. We had goals, of course: we wanted to ensure Max finished the season P3, and hoped to give Alex the big pot he definitely deserves. In many ways the result was the wrong way around: Alex is much keener to stand on the podium than Max is to delay his holiday a week and go to the FIA Gala, don the penguin suit and pick up the trophy for third. 

But we’ll take what we can get, and Max finishing second in the race, and adding another trophy to the cabinet is a good return for what was always going to be a transitional year. It’s a quirk that our season began with a trophy, with Max trying to catch Lewis, and it ended with a trophy, Max trying to catch Lewis. It makes you think that nothing really changed during the intervening nine months. Truth be told, I think we made a lot of progress. Over the last few years, three victories would be no more or no less than we’d have expected – but with a new engine partner in Honda, there was always going to be a bit of retrenchment. And with all things considered it was a positive first season.

We had a rather closer second place finish on Thursday evening in the Charlie Whiting Memorial Bike Ride, in support of the Grand Prix Trust, losing the 55.425km relay sprint by 0.820s to Sky TV, but we did pick up the 2019 pit stop award, and celebrated that by doing the fastest pit stop of the race for the fourth weekend in a row. Imagine what we could achieve if everything and everybody wasn’t absolutely knackered!