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GP Week : Issue 16
THIS time last year I never wanted to come back to Magny Cours. The 2007 event held bad memories for me as one of the longest and most difficult weekends I had ever worked in motorsport. Pit-lane incidents, startline crashes and a huge accident for Ernesto Viso in the Saturday GP2 race had sucked everything out of me as the series’ press officer. For the first time that weekend, I was faced with the realities of the darker side of motorsport. Ernesto was, and is, someone I consider a dear friend. His accident and the resultant fear over his well- being, was gut-wrenching. Then, on Sunday, the paddock was hit with news of a helicopter crash in the region. A number of paddock folk were affected by this news as we were told that one of the friendliest and happiest people in the crazed confines of the F1 world had been lost to us, and another good friend had been seriously injured. I, like many of my colleagues, felt sick. All I could think about was turning my back on Magny Cours and never coming back. After all, I wouldn’t have to. The race was due to end in 2007. But here we are, and against all my previous judgements, I’m really rather glad we came back. I was happy to see that, at the scene of Ernesto’s accident, high fences had been fitted to avoid a similar scenario occurring again. As the weekend went on, the negative thoughts of last year were gradually replaced by a liking for the individuality and quirkiness of the track and its surrounding area. Perhaps the best thing about this year, for me at least, was my accommodation. I stayed with the Suttons photographers at a lovely little farm house just 2 minute’s drive from the track. Each evening was spent drinking wine, eating cheese and cooking vast slabs of meat on the barbeque. As the sun set over the fields, we played football, listened to music and laughed until we ached. We all agreed that this was the way to go racing. We spend our lives travelling the world together, but at so many events find ourselves in similar looking restaurants, eating similar sorts of food. And yet here we were, in the French countryside, chilled, rested, and looking forward to what each day had in store for us. As I reflect on this weekend and this race, I have come to realise that despite the hugely contrasting nature of the events of the last two years in Magny-Cours, both events have taught me the same thing. What makes this sport so wonderful is not just the places we visit and the races we see. Pos # Driver Team Laps Time Grid 1 2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 70 1:31:50.245 2 2 1 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 70 +17.9s 1 3 11 Jarno Trulli Toyota 70 +28.2s 4 4 23 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 70 +28.9s 10 5 4 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 70 +30.5s 5 6 10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 70 +40.3s 6 7 6 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 70 +41.0s 9 8 5 Fernando Alonso Renault 70 +43.3s 3 9 9 David Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 70 +51.0s 7 10 22 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 70 +54.5s 13 11 12 Timo Glock Toyota 70 +57.7s 8 12 15 Sebastian Vettel STR-Ferrari 70 +58.0s 12 13 3 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 70 +62.0s 11 14 17 Rubens Barrichello Honda 69 +1 Lap 20 15 8 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 69 +1 Lap 15 16 7 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 69 +1 Lap 19 17 14 Sebastien Bourdais STR-Ferrari 69 +1 Lap 14 18 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 69 +1 Lap 17 19 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Ferrari 69 +1 Lap 18 Ret 16 Jenson Button Honda 16 Accident 16 FORMULA 1 | Round 8 MAGNY COURS Points – Drivers: Massa 48, Kubica 46, Raikkonen 43, Hamilton 38, Heidfeld 28, Kovalainen 20, Webber 18, Trulli 18, Alonso 10, Rosberg 8. Manufacturers: Ferrari 91, BMW 74, McLaren-Mercedes 58, Red Bull 24, Toyota 23, Williams-Toyota 15, Renault 12, Honda 8. o p in io n WiLL BUxtON GPWeek Editor F1 france >> This cloud had a silver lining 29