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Amy's Australian diary - Part 1, Wednesday // Six months on, a review of the F1 madness in Melbourne

Published by Amy Fulton

The 2010 Australian Grand Prix kicked off with the behind the scenes tour for GP Advantage members (those who bought their tickets early) on Wednesday 24th March. I went to this for the first time in 2009 and it really is a fantastic event. First is a wander through the V8 paddock, followed by a walk down pit lane and some driver interviews to finish the afternoon. It started at 3.30pm and I didn’t finish work until 3.30, so I was in a desperate hurry to get there on time! Of course this meant all the trams seemed to be running slower than usual and it was 4.30 by the time I arrived. Driver interviews were supposed to start at 4.45 so I raced through as quickly as possible, stopping only to photograph the most important garages.

The most important garage in the pitlane - Heikki Kovalainen and Lotus
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

There was no chance of getting any photos of McLaren, Ferrari or Mercedes as the crowd was 10 people deep. Did these people not know there were interviews about to start? I’d rather see a driver than a garage with a screen in front of it any day!

Unfortunately the crowd for the interviews remained standing the whole time and as I was late arriving I couldn’t see a thing for most of it. Last year the crowd sat down which meant that everyone had a view of the stage, and being rather short I had been hoping this year would be the same.

The interviews were being conducted by Louise Goodman (ex-ITV) and Peter Windsor (ex USF1). I heard lots of murmurs among the crowd among the obviously more knowledgeable F1 fans who were surprised to see Peter Windsor anywhere near an F1 track. We later discovered that although he was working for GPTV, who do all the video content for the super screens around the track, he wasn’t in possession of a paddock pass to actually get anywhere near the teams. Even we got our hands on a paddock pass! But that is a story for later...

The driver line up for the interviews had been announced beforehand and I was kind of sad to see no Heikki in the line up. As it turned out due to other commitments they just grabbed who was available at the time so the drivers were completely different to those who were supposed to be there. First up were Sutil and Liuzzi.

Sutil and Liuzzi smile their way through their media moment
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

Then Kobayashi and de la Rosa.

Kamui Kobayashi answers questions during the media interviews
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr
Pedro de la Rosa takes centre stage on Wednesday at Melbourne
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

Then UNEXPECTED HEIKKI.

Unexpected Heikki is the best kind. I was kind of sad that I had left my Finnish flag at home, since I didn’t expect to see him. I decided at that moment to take my flag everywhere for the rest of the weekend just in case.

The star of the day - Heikki Kovalainen - makes an unexpected appearance
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

After Heikki came Barrichello and Hülkenburg.

The Williams duo - Rubens and Nico - answer questions
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

Finally to wrap things up was Buemi.

Toro Rosso's Sébastien Buemi goes solo during the media interviews
Credit: Amy Fulton / Flickr

Because it’s taken me so long to write this I couldn’t really tell you what was said in the interviews but I’m sure it was the usual PR lines we’ve all heard before. Paul did comment at the time:

I am really liking heikkis interview he's really relaxed

- Paul

...and I posted:

He is so funny. My day has peaked

- Amy

...straight afterwards, so clearly Heikki’s interview was the best.

After the drivers had left I was trying to find Paul in the crowd when I got a tap on the shoulder and when I turned around, I was asked “Are you Amy Fulton?”

I said I was and Pamela introduced herself to me and said she would be at breakfast tomorrow. I had been pimping Sidepodbreakfast for ages, so I was very happy to hear someone would be coming, and a lurker at that! Whoever would have known that a tap on the shoulder would turn into a regular post-race dinner with her, but I for one am very happy she did it!

After Paul found me and introduced himself, we decided to walk to Fitzroy St and get some dinner with Jeremy. We decided to go to 2 Doors Down because it was the venue for the next day’s breakfast so I thought it would be good if people knew where it was. Plus Wednesday night was $12 steak night! Jeremy showed up a little bit later and we had a fantastic night getting to know each other and chatting about Formula 1 and how awesome the Sidepodcast community is. With the next day being the first official day of the Grand Prix weekend we called it a night earlyish.

To be continued...

All content in the series Amy's Australian Diary