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GP Week : Issue 79
GPWEEK OPINION >> Late Calais, squeezing on as foot passengers. A lot of the broadcaster's massive crew are still stuck in Shanghai as I write this (Saturday), though, desperate to find a way out. Shanghai isn't the most popular place on the calendar so others crept into other parts of Asia -- and in certainly one case regretted it: Two media members were caught in Vietnam without a visa between them and were thrown in a cell for 13 hours. Another befell bad luck when he went to Shanghai's Hongqiao airport rather than Hangzhou. You can see how that happened. Meanwhile even Bernie Ecclestone was unable to alleviate the red tape encountered when FOM tried to get a charter into Shanghai and take their crew back. Christian Horner and Mark Webber made what they called "a five-stop strategy" where, on the penultimate Nice-Glasgow leg on Tuesday, a friend of mine gave them a lift in his private jet. They got back to Oxfordshire at 4pm, and narrowly missed out on the team boss/driver race. I gather that was won by Ross Brawn and Michael Schumacher, respectively. But they didn't beat Bernie. He was at his desk in Knightsbridge on Monday, business as usual. How did he do it? Teleportation? A pipeline to the west, like in The Living Daylights? Houdini never revealed his tricks and nor does The Bolt. The 79 year-old becomes the first winner of the Volcanic Grand Prix -- which I'm guessing (for I'm no expert on geology) will be a sporadic thing. Like the United States Grand Prix. As for the media race, heartfelt support to my homies in Vietnamise prisons and waiting lounges the world over, but -- jammysodthatIam--Iwasabletomakeit home to Paris on Tuesday evening and -- get this -- without having to make any changes to my itinerary at all. Thanks Zeus, god of the skies. Oh, and Emirates. I don't propose it's a race we should run every fortnight, but it was a memorable adventure for most and, I think, should count as Round 5 of the championship. canic GP rule changes seem to be bearing fruit (at least in Moto2), and with the help of Rossi the status of bike GP racing has risen vastly under Dorna's care. The calendar, and most especially this year's calendar, is all the more significant a shortcoming. Short being the operative word, at least in terms of getting things going. Perhaps it is something Spanish. In the pace of the day, they are as a nation slow starters, still much given to a mid-day siesta, getting going thereafter to work on into the cool of the night. Hence the tendency towards dinners that start at 10pm, and go on long after midnight. Or maybe it's just circumstances. Dorna's Ezpeleta doesn't officially pay any mind to the World Superbike calendar, but he has to wriggle and squeeze to avoid clashes with F-1, which he sees as the main TV rival. Maybe in the process he is failing to accord due respect to Superbikes. Okay, MotoGP reject James Toseland was twice on the rostrum at Assen, which gives a measure of the relative strength of the competition in both series. But the bloke on the sofa doesn't care about that. Dorna need a major shake-up here. There are currently too many races in Spain (four, plus another over the hills in Portugal), not enough in developing countries, the flyaway schedule is too punishing, we should go back to Istanbul, and at least one race needs to be moved -- the Australian GP should be late in the Australian summer near the start of the year, rather than six months later, as the bad weather of winter is setting in. Above all, the season needs to get going. Soon. Please. Before Superbikes have taken all the And the winner is ... Bernie! F1's boss got home fastest of all -- apparently using a propeller-driven plane, at low altitude, for the last leg ... Despite sucking up big-time, there wasn't room for Fernando on Bernie's jet .... Dorna's Carmelo Ezpeleta 19