Friday, Race Week
It felt as though my alarm had gone off only five minutes after I had set it this morning, but sure enough it was definitely time to get up. The visit yesterday evening to the PETRONAS Twin Towers ended a little later that anticipated with my hosts kindly taking me to dinner which rounded off a great evening. The view from the Towers is spectacular and luckily the rainstorm had just cleared into the distance so from the Sky Bridge we could see most of KL below. The bridge ‘floats’ between the two towers and can be felt to move in high winds, I am told!
The roads to the circuit were much busier this morning and a little hazardous, especially trying to cross the oncoming traffic into the paddock entrance… everyone around is excited to be coming to see the Formula One cars again. The paddock was fairly busy and buzzing by the time I arrived just before 8am with all the teams in full swing getting ready for practice.
My first job was to switch on the analysers and get them warmed up whilst the team carried out their pit stop practice. So many guys working in perfect unison is quite something to watch! After this, the cars are fired up for the first time of the day to be brought up to full working temperature and have all of the systems checked. This involves checking engine and gearshift operation, brake & steering systems, electronic control systems and a whole host of other things. Once this is complete, I can take my oil sample from the car, and once the results are checked, it’s a quick dash to the catering area for breakfast. Now we’re all set and waiting for the show to begin.
After the end of the first practice session, there’s comes another round of oil samples both from the engine and the gearbox, and the car crews get busy to ready the car for the next session. It’s a hectic couple of hours with lots of activity from the mechanics and engineers, and with the added challenge of accommodating our guests who all want to see what goes on. This weekend is especially busy with a great many visitors from PETRONAS so I am busy meeting and talking to them to explain the importance of the oil and fuel in contributing to the performance of the car.
Friday is probably the toughest day because it’s the last opportunity to change an engine or gearbox before the really serious business starts so this evening will be very late, well it’s more like early tomorrow that we go back to the hotel after the car is completed, everything is checked and double checked and the fire up and oil samples are done. At least tomorrow is not such an early start with Qualifying at 5pm so it’s straight to bed and take advantage of a bit of extra sleep in the morning.