Morning everyone, Spy here, having an existential crisis. I’ve forgotten how to go racing. It’s only been three months, but the wizened, throbbing walnut that is the Brain of Spy has obviously deemed the information surplus to requirements, replacing it with stuff like how to jiggle the thing that gets the central heating to work, and why people get angry if you field strip and oil a gearbox on the kitchen table. And this is why Spy is staring at a suitcase with absolutely no idea what goes in it.
Obviously the racing bits of going racing are still firmly embedded in the memory, it’s the human stuff that gets forgotten: the contact lenses and umbrellas and which passport has the Aussie visa in it and how many travel adapters does a person really need to keep in a box* and lanyards and running shoes and eleventy-billion chargers. No doubt many people have the same sort of quandary when packing for a holiday – but perhaps they don’t leave their packing until ten minutes before leaving for the airport. Spy, of course, does – because if Spy planned ahead and began to pack a week before leaving, he’d still be at the previous race. Packing for a six-day trip to another hemisphere is a job that should take three minutes. Unless it doesn’t.
Now it's time for a confession, spy likes motor racing. Admittedly, the thing Spy likes most about racing, is moaning about racing – but the other stuff’s OK too. What Spy doesn’t like is testing. Ostensibly, the job is much the same: same garage, same(ish) car, same people – but it doesn’t have the buzz, because there isn’t a race at the end of it. And, frankly, going to a race track, preparing the car and then not racing it, is a bit like going to a steakhouse and ordering a beetroot salad.
Testing was OK this year. The days were long and the nights longer, which is pretty much what you expect from pre-season testing but the car looks quick and didn't catch fire, which are two big ticks in the box. We all now know at least four words of Japanese that we didn’t know before, so we’re culturally enriched too – but it’s not the same as going racing.
That’s why this week is exciting. Received wisdom is that you can’t tell anything based on looking at everyone’s testing times. This is a myth: you can tell a great deal from testing times – but perhaps it’s the context that’s missing. We get that in Albert Park.