Exclusive: How to run a Grand Prix
TG gains unprecedented access for a behind-the-scenes look at the FIA at work at the Brazil 2012 finale
Posted: 19 Feb 2013
It's a mammoth operation, but done with impressively little fuss. Right now, we can see technical delegate Jo Bauer standing behind a small suite of screens at the far end of the garage, flicking between a seemingly endless choice of camera and data feeds. The most striking one collates the images from the ceiling-mounted fish-eye lenses in every team garage, creating an oddly psychedelic effect. FIA media delegate Matteo Bonciani, the guy who has to keep F1's slavering global media pack happy, laughs as we fixate on it.
Fifteen minutes. The sea of red in the grandstand opposite swells and heaves. An unrepentantly partisan bunch, it's all about Felipe Massa and Ferrari. Interlagos is an old-school circuit snuggled into a hill in a run-down but hugely atmospheric part of the São Paulo megalopolis, and, even as the rain closes in, the place still has the sun-bleached feel of F1's long-gone ‘swirly-sideburns-and-sunglasses' Seventies heyday. The pressure-cooker resolution of a 20-race championship dynamic between Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Red Bull's Sebastien Vettel naturally dominates, and Brazil's lust for life gives this GP an extra fiery kick. To quote one of Murray Walker's priceless aphorisms, you could cut the atmosphere with a cricket bat.