I have shared pictures of Formula One Winter Testing from Saturday and Sunday of last week, as the last two sessions, which have mainly concentrated on pictures of cars going around the track, not particularly unusual given the nature of the sport. I thought, though, that I should also share some pictures of parts of the weekend other than the cars. Rather than pictures of us in bars or dancing, I am referring to parts of the testing event that extend beyond the cars, such as the pit lane and the paddock.
There was, as always, plenty of action in the pits, and from the main grandstand, you could see cars coming in and out of pit garages, and information boards for drivers out on track.
A closer inspection of the pit garages, though, show the amazing calm that seems to descend over what is a highly skilled and technical environment in the top level of competitive environments.
Although Winter Testing does not have anything like the attendance that a Grand Prix will have, there are still the support activities that go on as part of the Formula One circus, such as the various television crews that make their way to Formula One Winter Testing not just to broadcast at the time, but to build up for the start of the season next week. The Sky crew were active in the paddock, as we could see behind the pit garages.
The Sky coverage included their new 3D cameras, which could be seen on Sunday around the circuit, presumably the shape of things to come.
As well as the various teams and media, the other support activities that are vital to the sport were also in attendance, such as Pirelli, the tyre suppliers, who had a large centre in the paddock.
There was constant action in the paddock as engineers and other team members worked hard to keep the test going, and there were groups of people walking around with a purpose throughout the event.
Of course, the drivers are also there, and we bumped into Felipe Massa heading for the Ferrari motorhome at one stage, being followed through the paddock by an entourage looking for photos or autographs.
There were also plenty of technical people on hand, including those reviewing the telemetry from testing, such as these chaps at Sauber.
At the end of the event, the act of taking down the various temporary constructions that made up the paddock was remarkably quick. Within half an hour of the final klaxon, there was already significant progress in things being packed away ready for Melbourne.
Among those things being packed away were Jenson Button’s tyres, showing some wear from his laps.
Seeing the team trucks on track to load up equipment looked at least a little odd, and I suspect these vehicles would be somewhat slower than their cars.
Looking down the pit lane, there was plenty of activity to load up all of the equipment.
As you can probably see, among those items are the cars themselves, that now need to find their way to Australia.
We packed up too, and headed off to the airport, only to find that the F1 circus was following us. Our flights were packed with team members, and it felt almost like being on a Formula One charter, seeing the various teams wearing the same uniforms – Mercedes and Caterham with particularly fetching outfits – waiting for the flight, and then sitting on board. When we arrived at our various destinations, the same teams were still in their groups, waiting for their equally matching luggage to come from the baggage belts. As our fellow passengers almost all worked in Formula One, much of the conversation on the way back was also about the sport.
I thought that it was only polite to not take pictures of the teams as they were travelling home, as even Formula One teams need some time off.
My next planned Formula One trip is back to Barcelona In May for the Spanish Grand Prix. I am already excited.