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GP Week : Issue 191
F1 >>> FEATUrE Joe Birkett is always one of the first to arrive at every circuit, as he has to set-up the computer system before the rest of the team arrives. They are always long, busy days, so in order to do some exercise, he decided to start running laps of the tracks. “It all started in 2008 when I was at Red Bull,” he explains. “A few of us decided to start running for fun and because you always eat too much and at the wrong times during racF1e weekends!” And that’s how it all kicked off: “A small group of us would run a lap for fun. It wasn’t like now, where hundreds of people run nearly every evening!” Total competitiveness “Everything changed when a McLaren engineer created a website (www.runthattrack.info) where we all started to register our lap times... that made everyone become much more competitive!” And Joe was no exception, that’s for sure – take what he did last year as an example: he decided to complete a total of 100 laps during the 2012 season. “I completed 50 laps in Singapore, race number 14 of the year. There were only 6 races left, but that’s when I set myself the target of completing the magic number of 100 laps” ,he says with a big smile on his face. He didn’t give up and he achieved it: “When I arrived in Brazil for the last race of the year, I still needed 17 laps to get to 100. It was hard, very hard. We landed on the Tuesday before the race and I went straight to work at the track. In the afternoon the team went back to the hotel to get some rest, but I stayed and ran for nearly three hours. On Saturday after qualifying, I finally completed my 100th lap! It was a great feeling! I celebrated with a well-deserved beer that night and I also celebrated the fact that I didn’t have to run any more... I couldn’t feel my legs!” Home from that track So, this year, Joe needed a bigger challenge: “I got tired of running around tracks, so I decided to find something different, something with more obstacles along the way... That’s why now I run back home from the tracks! It’s much harder, as the distances are bigger. Some think I’m crazy, others think it’s too much to run after a whole day working at the track, but when they read my blog (www.runhome.co.uk) and see my photos – yes, I even have time to take pictures along the way! – They enjoy it.” Some of his runs this season have taken place in Shanghai (15kms), Barcelona (24.2kms), Monaco (including a climb to the top of Mount Angel, 25.5kms), Montreal (33kms), Budapest (20.4kms), Germany (27.2kms), Silverstone (20.3kms)... plus his traditional laps at every track. His favorite run is the one he did in Monaco. “The views from the top of Mount Angel are amazing, it was well worth it!” he said, while his run back to the hotel in Barcelona (Mataró) was one of the most difficult. “I had to run the final seven kilometers in complete darkness, as it had got too late. I was also very hungry and I didn’t enjoy it. But I make sure I never stop running. “The most satisfying moment is the moment I get back to my hotel. The first thing I do is drink loads of water and a Coke. I get back so tired! Normally the day after is the worst, as my legs still ache, but I’m so busy that I just forget about it!” Run that track, motorway and street Monaco and singapore are F1’s best-known street circuits. But for Joe Birkett, IT guru to the Caterham F1 team, every track on the calendar offers street-racing opportunities. Meet F1’s real roadrunner. Think of any race day at a track this year. As the teams start to arrive, Roscoe Turner, Caterham's chef, will have already spent a few hours at the circuit getting everything ready for the day ahead. “We are always the first in every morning and the last to leave the track in the evenings,” he says. Breakfast preparations start at 6am on grand prix weekends, meaning Roscoe is “constantly cooking” – something he has been doing now for the last seven years. But let's go back eighteen months, to the Chinese Grand Prix in April 2012. The then-McLaren chef’s name was going to mark a new chapter in Hamilton's life... Martin and Debbie Whitmarsh were in the McLaren hospitality unit speaking to Lewis. “All of a sudden” , Roscoe explains, “Debbie called me over to go through the menu together. She said ‘Oh Roscoe, would you be able to...’, but Lewis interrupted her. “‘Roscoe? I like that name. I will call my dog Roscoe!’” Hamilton said. At first, chef Turner thought it was only a joke, but he was wrong. “Lewis would constantly repeat it every time he saw me, that he was going to call his dog Roscoe ... and in the end he really did!” So Hamilton's dog Roscoe is named after a chef. “I have to say it’s strange,” admits Roscoe (the cook), “but it’s fun to be able to say to friends and family that Lewis has named his bulldog after me.” Roscoe, meet Roscoe One of the first to meet Roscoe the dog had to be Roscoe the chef, of course. “I met him when he was still a puppy, and loads of jokes weremade.IhavetosayIwasa bit embarrassed, but it was a funny moment!” Roscoe worked with Lewis from the moment he started in Formula One to the end of 2012, when both men left McLaren. “I'm a massive Hamilton fan, I always have been. He's a lovely guy. Obviously he's always under pressure, but he will always make sure he says hello and shake your hand – even now when I see him in the paddock.” He also remembers a few of Hamilton's favourite dishes: “He went through a stage where he was only eating poached eggs. So he would have 3 poached eggs for breakfast, 3 for lunch... His favourite was chicken and egg fried rice. But he was very easy, obviously because of the diet. He wasn't too fussy, only on some occasions but only because he is allergic to onions so he can't eat any. I enjoyed cooking for him.” If he had to cook for Roscoe the bulldog, he knows what he would offer him: “A really good steak!” He really enjoys his cooking: “I'm passionate about cooking. And to beabletodoitinF1isevenbetter.I do the menus, cook the food and at the end of the day it’s my name on the door. I get a lot of pride cooking nice food for very important people. That part of it is glamorous. But it’s hard work, very hard, and you have to enjoy it.” What he also loves about his job is being able to “travel around the world and get to know other cultures.” This also means living unforgettable experiences like in Singapore, for example, where he bought black chicken. “We cooked it and tried it and it was good, the only thing was that it was completely black and looked weird. In Japan you walk around the markets and you see strange things like live frogs and fish that people pick. And in Korea we came across this bar called The Dog and Bug Burger Bar. Obviously we tried it, it was quite funny!” Getting up so early every morning is the most difficult part of the day for him, but it doesn't take long before he's smiling again. “I love my job,” the original Roscoe enthuses. “The atmosphere here at Caterham is really good and once I'm out of bed I know it’s going to be a good day!” Of course, canine Roscoe now has a companion, the puppy Coco. Who is she named after? We’re sure to find out in time. "I think I'll call my dog Roscoe! ..." He has known Lewis Hamilton since he first started to race in Formula One in 2007, but you don’t know him at all. Who is he? Meet Ross Turner, or Roscoe as his friends call him... friends like Lewis. 26 GPWEEK.com // 26 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: