Two weekends ago I was able to travel to Monterey with a group from Western Automotive Journalists as a new prospect for the weekend, and went in support the group, tweeting from the track, Pebble Beach, and Concorso Italiano. With such an expansive set of events featuring so many different types of cars, the tweets help cross pollenate the interests with the people and presentations, so it helps to keep an eye on your friends to get to whom and what you’d like to see quickly at each venue.
One person who was in demand during the weekend was the legend Dan Gurney. I had a few words with him at Pebble Beach, and it was great to talk about his days in New York before heading out West (we grew up in the same home town). He is doing well and still very sharp, recalling a lot from the North Shore of Long Island where he spent his early years. At the track, many of the cars he built and raced were on hand, as well as many of his fans. A well organized autograph session was held in front of a capacity crowd, and he was more than happy to sign passes, programs and models. Many smiles from the fans who waited over an hour to see him.
Yesterday, Tavo Hellmund took a few questions on SPEEDTV’s Wind Tunnel program, putting a little more information out there on the nature of the track and the thinking behind the new course at Austin. It seems there’s more event orchestration happening behind the scenes right now in the lead up to the official track layout announcement. I have been seeing lots of tweets from F1 fans who’ve been upset with Tilke’s designs in the past and are holding their breath on this front. Tavo’s comment about how the nature of such development deals are done revealed some of the complexity of putting together a new F1 venue and event, and his comment about Bahrain’s circuit design shows how he will also be moving forward with FOM, FIA and the bottom line in mind. The fans are waiting to see what’s next, but Tavo’s put a few morsels out there – 20 turns, 130′ elevation change (about an 9 story building, or not quite twice the drop of the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca), and 3.2 miles in length.
It’s been a while since Peter Windsor has made it back onto the media stage, and a few weeks ago, Latin American media had published some news on Peter’s story, his relationship with Bernie, and with Ken Anderson and the rest of the team. I met both Ken and Peter in 2008, relatively early in their roadshow period for the team when they visited the San Francisco Bay Area, and while many have come down hard on the two of them, it has to be said that Peter’s reputation and place in the hearts and minds of American F1 fans took the largest hit as a result of the team’s failure to race this season.
Lessons learned? It sounds like he’s certainly given the entire ordeal he’s been through some thought in this interview, and it’s clear from the Twitterverse that while he’s let some fans down, he’s also been missed in his pitlane coverage on SPEED. Peter’s recently emerged with his own account on Twitter as well, and you can find him here @PeterDWindsor.
I’m looking forward to the next race from Spa, and our group here in San Francisco has been hitting the NFL pre-season with plenty of momentum. Unfortunately for F1 fans in the US who want to watch their race before noon, much of the sports bar culture is ramping up for months of pent up demand for the NFL season start. It’s tough when you’ve got 100 F1 fans watching 10 screens who have to compete with a dozen or more people who want to watch their home team play, but more on that fight in a future post . . . meanwhile, everyone here’s looking forward to seeing what develops this weekend in Belgium.