Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

A few glasses of champagne combined with whiffs of hi-octane fuel // A weekend overlooking the Grand Prix from the best office in the world

Published by Edwin Collingridge

The month of May in Monaco is rather crazy and during the Grand Prix week it gets even more hectic. The building of the track is well under way in the early part of May and this year being a Historic GP year it had started earlier than other years. Working in an office right above the port chicane we hear all that is going on on the track.

This year it was a lot more noisy as they were reserfacing it. With lots of manholes and service hatches in this sector they had the jackhammers out to remove them before resurfacing. The "Armco" barriers are installed with a flurry of pneumatic drills hammering away at the nuts and bolts, so on several days we sat in the office with our red earmuffs on looking quite comical. Other than that it is very interesting to see the track being put together, maybe next time I will do a time lapse series of the build.

Delightful cacophony

The historical Grand Prix is something else - it is a much lower key event but a delightful treat, the wonderful eclectic group of proud owners racing their amazing machines around this tight track. Their true character and passion really show when there are breakdowns and accidents. I have even seen one get out of his car and clobber the other guy on the helmet. The exhaust noise is a delightful cacophony of sound from screeching banshees of the newer cars to silky smooth purring kittens of the older ones.

Le 8ème Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Credit: ESEA Photo
Le 8ème Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Credit: ESEA Photo
Le 8ème Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Credit: ESEA Photo
Le 8ème Grand Prix de Monaco Historique
Credit: ESEA Photo

Taking a walk

For the main event, the build up is quite something and a bit of a disruption in the office, from the boss's PA organising the hosting of the party through the Thursday/Friday practice and qualifying sessions, we still try and get some work done. I have been in the habit of taking a walk during lunch times and taking a few images of various subjects and goings on.

Williams truck gets a wash
Credit: ESEA Photo
Start lights in Monaco
Credit: ESEA Photo
Extinguisher at the ready
Credit: ESEA Photo
Caterham F1 keep busy
Credit: ESEA Photo

Boats and grandstands

On the Friday morning I managed to snap a few of the GP2 session, and on the Saturday I took a break and let my other colleagues, who could not make it for the Sunday, enjoy the F1 qualifying.

Sunday I went through fairly early to avoid the masses on the train and possible complications of the SNCF (French Rail company). This allowed me to see the Porsche Mobil 1 Cup and the Formula Renault 3.5 Races. Also coming early you can see the goings on on the boats and grandstands as the crowds move in. Then it's time for the F1 race!

Button in Monaco
Credit: ESEA Photo
Red Bull light up Monte Carlo
Credit: ESEA Photo
The drivers on parade in Monaco
Credit: ESEA Photo
Hülkenberg down below
Credit: ESEA Photo
Massa back on form in the principality
Credit: ESEA Photo
Romain gets a little running
Credit: ESEA Photo

As I am the office's official/unofficial photographer, I get busy taking photos of the guests and not forgetting the cars. It all goes by in a bit of a blur for me with the occasional peek at the television and lap tracker to find out what's happening in the race. As one has the ear muffs on it is a bit surreal, you are pummelled with noise and visual stimulation for two hours without any verbal communications bar a few shouts here and there. It is quite intoxicating with a few glasses of champagne combined with whiffs of hi-octane fuel.

Then, before you know it, it is all over and the more social part of the party starts. In the past races we have got the "Port Chicane" crane driver (now located down the street) to swing his hook over to our balcony to give him a bottle of champagne for the local marshals and medics for a job well done.