Bonjour à tous, Spy here, still sitting in the traffic jam that formed at the end of the last French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours and hasn’t shown any sign of dissipating in the ten years since. We like tradition in F1, but really we should occasionally try new things. Like roads and effective traffic management.
Actually, Spy shouldn’t be mean.* Everyone complained about the traffic but, really, what were people expecting? Paul Ricard is a beautiful place on top of a hill in Provence, approached up a winding country lane. We could move the race to an industrial estate with motorway access near Lille – but then it wouldn’t be a beautiful place on top of a hill in Provence, approached up a winding country lane, would it? The only real problem was that the organisers admitted they’d made a coq of it (which they had) and promised to fix it (which they didn’t).
This isn’t the F1 way. What they should have done is insist everything was fine and the traffic plan was working exactly as expected. Better, in fact. And then look everyone firmly in the eye and damn them to contradict you. And so what if you’re stuck in traffic? It lets you have a chance to look at the bucolic scenery, complete with ancient tractors and vineyards stretching down to the sparkling Mediterranean… what more do you want, a unicorn?
Fernando Alonso knows how to do it. He rocked up still on a high from winning Le Mans, and wasn’t about to let anyone burst his bubble, with questions about how perhaps the race was devalued by not having any other cars in it. On the contrary, said Fernando with a perfectly straight face**, it was the greatest Le Mans victory ever.
On the subject of sportscars, we had the weird sight of a race for vintage Le Mans cars at Ricard, and the even weirder sight of one A. Newey driving a Ferrari 430 GTC in it. Senior management always gets a bit twitchy when Adrian decides to go racing, that’s a lot of brain to allow out on its own to go flat-chat around Signes Corner.
Moving on to our race, well, not bad was it? Second and Fourth is OK – and we were on for a double podium were it not for Daniel’s front wing having other ideas. Truth told, there wasn’t much going on during the race. It was a nailed-on one-stopper and the track was a really tough one on which to attack. There’s not going to be a lot of movement once everyone’s where they should be. That’s not where F1 wants to be, and there’s plans afoot to change it next year. The drivers rather sweetly asked Charlie if they could please have the full Mistral Straight to race on, and Charlie gently explained that, no, he can’t go changing the track configuration on a whim after Friday practice. Though maybe next year we’ll see a massive straight and skinny wings on the cars like in days of yore.
– it’s just a shame Spy will still be stuck in this traffic jam.
**There may have been just the hint of a smile, but with Fernando, who knows what that means? He could have been thinking about his cat, or committing an act of violence upon his senior management, or a particularly amusing guest appearance on The Muppets.