BLOG: Fans, Flowers, and F1… Welcome to Shanghai!

BLOG: Fans, Flowers, and F1… Welcome to Shanghai!

After a brief pit stop back home in Brackley, we set off halfway around the world again – this time to Shanghai! After an 11-hour flight from Heathrow it’s straight to work, heading directly to the circuit from the airport first thing in the morning. No rest for the wicked, as they say…

We can’t wait!

Chinese Grand Prix week means a visit to the biggest Formula One paddock you’ve ever seen. A mix of historic Chinese gardens and concrete jungle, the cosy hospitality suites are tucked away under trees in full blossom and surrounded by a peaceful lake. A peace that will be shattered by the sound of the world’s greatest racing cars on Friday… but we can’t wait!

For those of you who might be new to the sport, Thursday is Media Day in Formula One. So, after a short transfer to the track (shout-out to our translators and friends from Mercedes-Benz China for sorting us out, by the way!) we knuckle down in the Marketing Office at the back of the spacious Shanghai garages. Morning tweets made and first Instagram snaps captured, we hit the circuit armed with just a phone and our wits. It’s track walk time!

Haas, Sauber and Renault have got the drop on us. But while they pause for pictures, we’re going flat chat with a time-lapse video – sweeping past the blue and yellow clad teams in Sector 1 before hunting down and passing Romain Grosjean and his grey army down the long back straight. Take it from us… it’s really, really long! Track walk = Done.

It’s track walk time!

Valtteri and Lewis weren’t up for the FIA Press Conference today

The drivers are ready to go

Valtteri and Lewis weren’t up for the FIA Press Conference today, meaning we would handle their media sessions in the team hospitality suite. Fresh out of engineering and all clued up on suspension geometry (and other such clever things marketing folk don’t fully understand…) the drivers are ready to go.

But, in true Shanghai style, the weather isn’t playing ball. The heavens open, giving everyone a thoroughly good soaking – none more so than the drivers selected for today’s FIA Press Conference, who had to trek the length of the immense Shanghai paddock to make it to the TV pen on time. For once, we’re sort of glad not to have been called up for the big media event of the day…

So, with Lewis and Valtteri having made a lucky escape and been tucked up in our toasty hospitality suite, a full house of F1 – and some non-F1 related – journalists gather to speak with the boys. Several (hundred) questions later, we’re making our way back through the garage and out onto the grid.

The fun continues way after the cameras stop rolling

The fan autograph session is always one of our favourite moments of a race weekend and this year was no exception. The passionate Chinese fans were out in force, waiting for their heroes. And, of course, Lewis and Valtteri didn’t disappoint – signing their swish new 2017 autograph cards and posing for pictures. One fan had even brought a retro Lewis era McLaren-Mercedes suit for the triple World Champion to sign – to which he willingly obliged. All out of things to sign, the drivers headed back to engineering for more setup talk, just as the boys in the garage rolled Valtteri’s W08 back from scrutineering.

Obligatory picture of the beast posted on Instagram, it was back to the office for some last minute tweeting before jumping into a swanky Mercedes V-Class to heading off to Shanghai for a partner event with our friends from Epson. The fun continues way after the cameras stop rolling, trust us!

So there you have it – Thursday in the crazy world of Formula One. That’s us signing off from China for tonight. Tomorrow we unleash Valtteri, Lewis and the W08s on the Shanghai International Circuit. Bring it on…

The fan autograph session is always one of our favourite moments of a race weekend

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