by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 182
8 GPWEEK.com // 8 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: The European leg of the season means more than just an end to long haul flights for the bulk of the F1 circus. The summer months bring endless rounds of factory-fresh upgrades, expensive hotels, and the return of the paddock motor homes. This year, Ferrari have a refitted e-motorhome for the media, replete with tablets and touchscreens filled with race data, press clippings, and information for the F1 press corps to use as needed. It’s an interesting innovation, but at the champagne-fuelled launch it was hard to work out exactly who the information was for. Print journalists tend to do their work in the press room, where we have access to the internet – and, as a result, far more data than is supplied in the Ferrari motorhome – while the broadcasters come equipped with stat-packed iPads of their own, using data roaming plans paid for by their employers. So why all the fancy tech? The death of FanVision (formerly known as Kangaroo TV) has made life difficult for F1’s pit lane reporters, who now have to rely on the official live timing app to keep abreast of what’s happening out on track as they feed information back to their studios. As fans around the world know all too well, this year’s app isn’t always in sync with the racing. Ferrari’s 2013-spec motorhome might well prove to be the saviour of that niche market, giving pit lane reporters the chance to run back into the paddock to check their facts and figures between bits to camera, rather than legging it up multiple flights of stairs, logging into a locked computer, and finding the info they need before racing back to the pit lane. But the most interesting part of the e-motorhome wasn’t the kit it contained, but more what it seems to represent. F1 obsessives may have noticed a change to the Ferrari PR faces this season, with a new head of motor sport communications representing the Scuderia. As tends to be the case when a new boss rolls into town, the new man is making his mark on the team, incorporating changes and introducing innovations that distinguish him from his predecessor. While Ferrari have never shied from their media commitments – watching Fernando Alonso spend 20 minutes after a session giving media briefings in a minimum of three languages never fails to impress – getting access to the team is another matter entirely. Last year, Alonso gave two exclusive one-on-one interviews in 20 races, with a press corps of 350 journalists most of whom would quite like some face time with a consistent title contender. Experienced paddock hands knew better than to go through official channels to request an interview with the likes of Stefano Domenicali or Pat Fry, as such requests would be refused. ‘He does not want to give interviews this weekend.’ But if you door-stepped your victim in the paddock, he was almost always happy to talk, or to arrange a more convenient time for an interview. But with the change of staff has come a change in attitude. Requests might not be granted, but they will at least be considered. It appears to be the beginning of an era of relative openness for the Scuderia, a change that would bring the team’s media relations in line with Domenicali’s own approachable demeanour. Whoever it might be for, Ferrari’s e-motorhome looks to be a symbol of this new sense of openness. At the launch, members of the press were encouraged to spend more time in Ferrari, not less. Why dash back to the press room to watch a session on small screens when the Scuderia offer coffee, biscotti, a giant screen, and all the stats and timing information you could ever hope to have? Those who work for Ferrari have long spoken highly of the sense of community that permeates Maranello, of the way in which the prancing horse has become the symbol of a different kind of Italian family, one made up of talented and dedicated individuals from all around the world. With this new motorhome, it looks as though Ferrari are inviting the press to join in the fun, even if we are third cousins several times removed. HOME FROM HOME OPINION OPINION KATE WALKER Editor