So I have started, and not finished, posts at least twice since the last one. Sorry, there is much going on. So continued from the last start, here I go for real…
Well an update is probably over due. Life has gotten busy here, which means I should have things to write about, and also means it’s tough to find the time to do it. But here we go…
We are now officially into testing season. This past week I was staying in Cascais, Portugal, for a GP3 test at Estoril. The week before, I was just north of Barcelona for a GP2 test at Barcelona/Catalunya (depending on who you ask).
Scratch that, it’s now race season. Pre-season testing composed of a 3 day test in Barcelona for Formula 2 (GP2 has been renamed for 2017), the following week a 2 day test in Estoril (Portugal) for GP3, and then a 3 day F2 test in Bahrain. Of the three, Estoril was my favourite. We stayed in a little town called Cascais, which was right on the coast, so great view, great to wander around, some really good restaurants and the old small town square and shopping streets feel. Sadly we don’t go back there.
Bahrain wasn’t exactly on my to see list, but that’s part of the appeal of this job, going to places I wouldn’t go on my own (and getting paid to do it!). It’s hot, not surprising considering it’s a desert… Why don’t I just group both Bahrain visits together, so bear with me.
After the last pre season test, I had a week back ‘home’ in Reading. It was odd to be back in the office, though good as there were some admin things I needed to take care of. And my off weekend was quite nice, I went to Bournemouth for the Saturday, which is a cool little city on the ‘English Riviera’ (not actually a thing). But they had a good beach, a restaurant at the end of a pier, aquarium, ferris wheel, the whole nine yards. It really reminded me of New Jersey (yes I know, I want everything to remind me of New Jersey, but this actually did). I met up with my Aunt Julia and her family there, and it was great to see some familiar faces and be able to bounce ideas off of them.
Sunday I had a nice day at home, made myself my new favourite epic breakfast, and played frisbee. And then, for the first time in years (thanks NASCAR), I was able to watch the final round of the Masters! Well some of it, I couldn’t stay up for the end, which was after midnight in England.
Then last week, I returned to Bahrain for the first race weekend of the year. It was F2 only for me, which was a good way to get rolling, gain some experience, and learn a lot. We stay at a nice place in Manama, the diplomatic district of Bahrain. My favourite part is one of the best hotel gyms I’ve ever seen, but I won’t bore you with that here. It’s also got a really nice pool and bar/seating area close by, I ate most of my dinners there, and it’s very peaceful. The race weekend went find, a couple of really good races, the high temps did a number on the tyres, which always makes a more exciting race.
After the second race yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, we packed up, and went back to the hotel to enjoy one last evening by the pool, with the F1 race on the big screen. Then headed to the airport for a 1 am flight from Bahrain to Istanbul, where we got a connecting flight to Barcelona, which is where I find myself now. We found a nice little restaurant on the beach to have lunch (and cafe con leche!) and then headed to the hotel, where I have been lying by the pool for the last few hours. Today is a travel day, which means no actually ‘work’, just the 9 hours of travel. The test doesn’t start until Wednesday but tomorrow (Tuesday) we will go to the track for not quite a full day to make sure everything is ready to go.
I hope this makes sense, it all feels a little scattered to me right now. No doubt, the 2 hours of sleep I am on contributes to that. The take away, is that the season is off and running, and I haven’t done anything (too) wrong yet, fingers crossed!
On Friday after the test, we are driving to Valencia for another GP3 test next Tuesday and Wednesday. I am looking forward to the drive, it should be about 3 hours southwest along the coast. Then I have the weekend more or less off in Valencia, which I am quite excited for. I’ve heard there’s a good beach, museums, aquarium, food and general places to explore. We shall see…