I've been to the Australian F1 Grand Prix for the last two years and always enjoyed it. A lot of horse-power, the smell of petrol and an awesome soundtrack that gives you goose bumps. This year I wasn't sure if I should go, primarily because the weather forecast was very bad and I didn't really want to run through the rain all day. It's exhausting enough to be on the track all day when the sun is shining. But my need for speed still persevered. So in the end I bought my ticket on Saturday night for general admission and went there on a sunny Sunday morning.
On TV I saw parts of the qualifying and how Vettel got screwed by Räikkönen, who stuffed his car into a wall shortly before Vettels fast lap in the deciding 2nd qualifying. That's bad luck, but I don't really care about that. I'm not what you would call a Formula 1 enthusiast, I actually prefer to see the V8 Supercar race, which is much closer racing and a lot shorter too. So now you might be asking, why I titled this blog "Bad luck for Germany" if I'm not interested in Vettels success / bad luck.
I'll get to that. The afternoon was pretty much exactly what I expected. After the awesome V8 race, which was won by a Volvo - in a country where usually Holden and Ford are battling each other for victory.
There was the Porsche Carrera race. For the last two years this was a pretty boring event with cars that actually looked more like road cars than racing cars. This was about as interesting as the Mazda challenge (Mazda - the word that comes to mind when I think about high performance ... not). This year though they had completely new cars from Germany with a lot more power, big rear spoilers and all the racing car goodies. It was actually very enjoyable, although the racing itself wasn't as close as in the V8 race.
Then you have the usual entertainment on the track, which includes car shows and of course the pit chicks. Mans day 3.0 for me. I was a little bit disappointed though, because I couldn't find an exhibition of the new McLaren P1 or the Porsche 918 Spider, the two next generation high performance cars, which will change the rules of the game (hopefully).
But it was still an enjoyable afternoon with fairly good weather. About an hour before the race started, we went to the spot I picked to watch the race. Over the last two years I learned a lot, found a couple of good spots, where you can see the cars close up, but still get some action in terms of overtaking manoeuvres. We also knew the spots, which seemed promising, but turned out to be not that good. On our way to the spot we crossed a field where there were a lot of merchandising shops and some random car exhibitions. Suddenly, while I was looking to my right my friends just shouted "WOOOH", I turned left and BAEM! there it was. I got hit by one of the big sun umbrellas from Red Bull that are usually socketed in the earth. One of them must got lose and because it was quite windy it accelerated and hit me in the face. I dropped my beer... that was my first concern. People asked me if I was okay and besides some minor pain in the arm because of the impact I was okay.
So we continued to move towards the spot and I was touching my upper arm, which began to hurt more and more. My first thought was a muscle contusion, which wouldn't have been surprising considering the impact. Then I realized that whenever I touched my arm it feels a little bit cold. After a couple of meters I decided to check. So I took off my jacket and shirt and saw the damage the umbrella caused. There was a very nasty cut on my upper arm, about two millimeters wide and it seemed quite deep. Luckily it wasn't bleeding that much, but I still decided to get to the nearest medic box to get some patch on it. There everybody who saw the cut was making a disgusted face and I realized that it's probably worse than I thought. Still they patched me up and we went on to the race.
The race itself was excellent. The spot was pretty decent: We had one sharp corner and two bends to watch, which is not bad compared with previous years. It was also the first year we stayed at the same spot for the entire race.
Quite surprisingly this was also the first time we didn't need earplugs, because weirdly the F1 cars were not that loud anymore. I might just get deaf or it's because of the changed exhaust system, where they now have one big exhaust, which produces a deeper note and therefore is not that loud. A colleague who lives right next to Albert Park actually told me that he had to open the window to actually hear the cars - contrary to previous years where he couldn't even have a phone call inside of his apartment with the windows closed. I found this very enjoyable, I prefer the deeper noise over the screaming and deafening F1 engines of the past.
We had a couple of beer and were watching Nico Rosberg win, which was encouraging for me and because the racers were not that loud we could actually understand the commentary and follow the race progress - of course this was supported by the fact that the two leading drivers were the only ones left of their team (after Vettel and Hamilton couldn't be bothered to race anymore). It is always confusing to see two cars that look the same and not knowing who it is.
After the race we went straight out. We didn't go to the winners celebration for two very good reasons. First of all we were way too far away from the pits to actually reach it in time, because the ceremony is directly after the race is over and the drivers come in to the pits. Secondly we had some bad experience last year, where we were actually very close to the podium, but it took us about an hour to get off the track, because everyone wanted to leave and the exits are more like choke points. Also I wasn't really in the mood to stay any longer. So on the way out, while singing the German national anthem for the first time after an Australian GP since I came here, we saw that the trams were already totally crowded and decided to walk back to the city (which is about two kilometers away). I went a little bit further, because I wanted to go to the hospital and see a doctor about my nasty cut. Read more on the next page..