Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Our first Autosport International - Visiting the Birmingham based event for the very first time

Published by Christine

This article was originally posted on a personal website and is published here for posterity.

I won't bore you with the details of the morning, which mostly consisted of me saying "Have you seen the time?" and "me" swearing as he missed his exit. All I need to say is tempers were frayed when we finally got there and he even managed to storm off, before remembering that I actually had the tickets. But as soon as we got through the door, the nightmare morning was completely forgotten.

And none of it matters anyway, what matters is that I saw David Coulthard! But I get ahead of myself.

The NEC is huge. Whilst I'm pretty confident that we managed to see everything in the four hours that we were there - we weren't exactly stopping for an extensive look at each booth, and if we'd have actually wanted to take in the details, we'd have needed to live there, day and night, for about a year. We managed to walk round in circles the whole time and still keep stumbling across bits we hadn't seen before. There were karts, and motorbikes, sports cars and F1 cars, t-shirts, helmets, overalls, pictures, teddy bears in team colours, and of course, that thing that no motorsport event is without: pretty ladies.

There were blonde ladies and brunette ladies and they were all caked in make-up and in either skimpy or tight (or both) outfits, and they were posing and pouting and writhing all over their particular piece of machinery. One particular lady was very busy signing things (she might have been famous) and there was a huge crowd of interested men. I tried to take a picture (in case she was famous) but I was jostled about a bit too much.

Justin Wilson

There were several stages where we saw Justin Wilson (who drove for Minardi and Jaguar last year), Louise Goodman (ITV F1 Reporter) and then Allan McNish (ex-Formula 1 driver). I had him lined up for a couple of great shots but had to zoom in too much - and then when he was in the perfect position, the autofocus on my camera played up again and the picture took too long to take. He turned around just at the wrong moment, and I ended up with a shot of Allan McNish's back!

We stumbled upon an enormous queue of people waiting to get pictures and things signed. We strained to see who it was and lo and behold - David Coulthard! I heard a couple complaining that they'd been waiting for two and a half hours to meet him - that seemed like an awful waste of time to me. It would have been much easier to do what we did - sharpen our elbows and push to the front of the onlookers, hoist the camera into "me"'s extremely tall arms and get snapping.

Jenson Button wasn't there (well, apparently he recorded a piece that was shown earlier - but we missed it and it didn't sound fun anyway). I didn't care about this at all, of course, given my "hatred" of the man. Eh-hem. In fact, I didn't care so much, that I didn't spot the BAR-Honda merchandise from the other side of the hall, I didn't drag him through crowds of people to look at the "I Love JB" T-shirts, and I didn't take a picture of a cardboard cutout of Jenson.

I think "me" is starting to get suspicious.

Anyway, to sum up: lots of F1 fun stuff, lots of F1 flirty people, and David Coulthard.