SPY: A (Wadi) Rum Affair

Hi everyone, Spy here. Been away from the factory for a few days. Did I miss anything? Why are people walking around the office studying a Dutch-English profanosaurus? Don’t understand what’s going on there. Somebody will fill me in eventually. Or not.

It's a busy place, our factory, and just down the corridor from Spy's nest in Building Two, there lurks the offices of the Live Demo team. It's fairly boisterous at the moment. They've just pulled off a big one.

While the rest of us were contemplating borscht and assorted suspicious vegetables in Sochi, the show car and crew were finishing off their Middle Eastern odyssey in Jordan. They had DC, Pierre Gasly (who isn't called PG simply because it would cause too much confusion on the tea run), an RB7 and basically a whole, beautiful country to play with.

They ran along the shores of the Dead Sea (the world's lowest road – we've already done the highest and we're nothing if not efficient box-tickers when it comes to that sort of thing), they raced against horse-drawn chariots in the ancient Greco-roman hippodrome at Jerash, through the canyons at Petra, and finally managed to drive in beautiful Wadi Rum on one of the rare weeks there wasn't a Hollywood studio production using it as a stunt double for Iraq and/or Mars.

Obviously, being a cerebral bunch of international sophisticates their approach to being faced with wonders of the natural world and marvels of antiquity, was to boggle at the scenery for five minutes and then say "ooh, that's pretty, right, let's get the car out and thrash the nuts off it." Or, in other words, what they do every week.

It's worth mentioning a bit about the Live Demo team. Contrary to the popular opinion in the race team that they simply sit around all day eating ice-cream while waving to the fans, it isn't easy running the show car. Jordan's a good example: you have to set the car up to run on uneven desert pavement (which isn't something the race team have to deal with, even in Singapore), there's engine and gearbox components to protect again sandstorms, there's extra cooling to install because the car is built to lap a race track at 200kph and gets a bit grumpy when idling in a roman coliseum with 35°C ambient and no airflow. Only when you've solved those problems can you get onto the serious stuff of rigging up power for the massive fridge full of ice-cream your Jordanian hosts have kindly provided after noticing you go through the Magnums like a pig with truffles.

Not that the job sheet calls it a 'massive fridge full of ice-cream'. It'll be hidden on the docket as 'cooling equipment', or its use will be rationalised as a valuable inspiration-creation tool. Certainly the boys were kicking back with the Cornettos when they came up with their surprising new filming techique. This one actually came courtesy of DC, who reckons you end up chucking more loose stuff out of the cockpit than many people realise during a grand prix. The boys, consequently are justifiably proud of inventing a whole new genre of cinematography, which they're calling 'TheseGoProsAreReallyToughWhatWouldHappenIfDCLobbedItOutOfTheCockpitAtHighSpeed?ovision. Suck it up Ridley Scott!

A word about DC's involvement in the trip. Originally he jumped at the chance to drive all over Jordan on the assumption it was a stunt involving Eddie being tied to a train track, but he does have quite the busy schedule, being something of a media darhling these days. He has all sorts of interesting clauses in his rider, one of which is that he reserves the right to suddenly get shorter and start affecting a ridiculous French accent.

People less special than us might speculate that sometimes the guy under the saltire helmet in the ensuing video was not, in fact, DC at all, but Pierre doing pickup shots. But that's just scurrilous nonsense. If you spotted David on TV in Sochi while also popping up on YouTube from Jordan, that's because he's both good at multi-tasking and really, really fast.

About that. F1 drivers try to do everything quickly because they're very competitive. That's why Daniel Ricciardo is never allowed to make the tea at testing: you get a cup of light brown hot water with milk; they walk into airports and go square-eyed trying to figure out which queue is going fastest and are consumed with spit-the-dummy rage if you beat them to passport control. Thus, when we'd finished filming in Wadi Rum, DC cheerily bid us farewell and jumped on a military transport helicopter (the Royal Jordanian Air Force had been filming with us) saying he'd see us back at the hotel. He did. In fact he rocked up about 15 minutes after we did, having completed our four-hour drive. 'Cos when you've won the Monaco Grand Prix twice, you get to shake everybody's hand at the airbase and inspect all the aeroplanes before being allowed out of the door.

Fortunately when he finally made it back, the boys – after a suitable amount of laughing – were able to put something in his hand as cool as ice-cream but slightly more refreshing.