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GP Week : Issue 120
n WRC and YouTube star Ken Block attended the Canadian Grand Prix as a guest of Pirelli. It was the American driver’s first experience of an F1 paddock, and asked to comment on the atmosphere Block said “Formula 1 is its own animal – it’s quite unique.” Block was in town to announce that he will be spending a few days running the Pirelli test car around the Monza track in early August. Given that Block is known for his showboating skills, it is hardly surprising he was asked about his plans for F1 stunts. “I am going to see what I can talk them into,” he joked. “Obviously it is a very expensive car, but I have asked a few questions and they have given me some funny looks. I will see what is possible.” n To celebrate their 10,000th race lap led, McLaren held a champagne and cake celebration in their hospi- tality suite on Friday evening. Cake- cutting honours went to Jenson Button, who led the team’s 10,000th lap during the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago. Late arrivals were amused to discover that, thanks to poor cake-cutting strategy, the team were celebrating 10 laps led. n If rumours in Montreal prove to be correct, the French Grand Prix might return to the F1 calendar in the not- too-distant future. Organisers of the financially-strained Belgian Grand Prix have proposed alternating their race with a French event, saving money on both sides of the border. In related news, Renault F1 boss Eric Boullier has been asked to meet with the French prime minister to discuss how best to support the country’s declining motorsport industry. While the lack of a French driver – or team, following Renault’s defec- tion to England – is one explana- tion for the lack of public interest in Formula One, France is not blind to motorsport. The country is a leading light in the World Rally Champion- ship, and the series is popular with the French public. Short Straights WHILE his critics have questioned the wisdom of Michael Schumacher continuing in F1, the seven-time world champion has given his strongest indication yet that he is in the sport for the long haul. The German driver holds more records than any other driver in the history of Formula 1, but his post-comeback performances have left something to be desired. Schumacher has yet to see a podium finish, and is regularly out- performed – and out-qualified – by teammate Nico Rosberg. But while pundits and past opponents have been vocal about the damage Schumacher’s current run of form will do to his legacy, the Mercedes driver has a more holistic perspective on the time needed to bring a new team up to race-winning form. “It took me five years at Ferrari before I won my first title and Red Bull has taken five years to get success, so why should we manage it in just over a year and a half?” Schumacher asked reporters in the Montreal paddock. “ We are not magicians.” While there have been reports that the German driver is seeking a contract exten- sion to 2014, he in fact said nothing of the sort. Instead, he asked for patience for Mercedes as the team sought to establish themselves as championship contenders. “ We are in the process of creating something great,” Schumacher insisted. “And that’s just not going to happen overnight. It will take a while until we will get to the front. But we will do it.” Michael hints at extended return 10