The weather is perfect for Sunday’s 5 pm local time 2009 Formula 1 ING Australia Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. The skies are blue and clear, the sun is out and there is a strong breeze. It’s 70 degrees F/21 C and the track is 84 F/29 C. The wind is 5.2 mph.
There are several heavily subscribed Pit Lane Walks completely choking access in one direction. These are for rich fans and wannabees.
The CFA – Country Fire Authority – were first responders in the horrific Aussie bush fires last month. Twenty two big red fire trucks, decked out with bush fire fighters and a F1 driver whose name was emblazoned across the front, drove two laps around the track so they could be thanked by all the grateful fans for the hard work in fighting Australia’s worst natural disaster.
The Brawn GP car has Virgin logos, not Virgin Airlines, on the cars. Virgin encompasses a wide variety of companies, including an airline. Back in the garage RICHARD BRANSON is holding court, with several TV broadcasters awaiting their turn for an interview. Among them is DAVID COULTHARD for BBC and EDDIE JORDAN. Branson and Brawn GP have a press conference scheduled in three weeks, for announcements about working closer with each other.
ANTHONY DAVIDSON, who had been the test/reserve driver for Honda, is carrying on with Brawn in the same capacity. He was interviewed on track TV and said he was glad to be part of Brawn GP.
STEFAN JOHANSSON is also doing TV – as he jokingly put it… where all the rejects go – broadcasting.
Former F1 driver, JAQUES LAFFITE, was in pit lane, having a lengthy discussion in French with FRANK DERNIE, advisor to the Toyota team. From the gestures it appeared the conversation concerned the upper rear wings which FIA deemed too flexible. The two Toyotas were allowed to fix/stiffen the wings, in Parc Ferme after qualifying – under the watchful FIA eye. Others cars were also similarly allowed to fix things.
The official grid came out at 4 PM, one hour before the start of the race. The Toyotas will start the 58-lap race from the Pit Lane. Starting last will be LEWIS HAMILTON/No.1 McLaren. He broke fourth gear Saturday afternoon. The gear boxes are sealed and mandated to last four races. The seal has to be broken to repair the gears, so the team elected to just replace the gearbox and have it sealed, while the broken one sent back to the factory for rebuilding. Hamilton would have otherwise been in fifteenth place on the grid.