March 16, 2013

If you can't race, eat

Boating in the pitlane at Sukuka in 2010 © Getty Images

In Formula One terms, I’m still a newbie. Sure, my F1 career has outlasted that of HRT, but that’s like saying I can run faster than a slug. And I can, if given a head start. And a lift.

But in my three-and-a-bit years in the sport, I have become au fait with the rules of a rain delay: like much else in Formula One, it’s all about the food.

Qualifying for the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix was pushed back till Sunday morning after insane amounts of rain that somehow failed to count as a typhoon. Legions of Japanese fans sat quietly in the Suzuka grandstands, watching as Q1 was pushed back by ten minutes, then twenty, then an hour, before the FIA decided to call it quits for the day.

It is a sign of the famed Japanese passion that the stands were still packed hours after the delay was confirmed, hordes of people sitting in the rain long past nightfall as they watched the F1 paddock race paper boats along the pitlane.

As a rookie journalist, I didn’t have pitlane access that year. And I’m rather glad I didn’t, as it was in Suzuka that I learned the most important rule of rain delays: it’s all about the food. Virgin (for that is what they were back then) had acquired the services of a top Tokyo sushi chef for the weekend, and their hospitality suite was packed to the rafters with journos and hangers-on stuffing their faces with the local delicacy as we watched the paddock being swept away on the TV screens.

My next major rain delay was at That Race, also known as the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. Four hours from lights out to chequered flag, including two hours spent watching grid girls flirt with Mounties in the media catering tent. Why were we in the catering tent, you ask? Well, it was full of cake. And if we can’t race, let us eat cake!

And if not that, let us ogle scantily-clad women shoving cake into the faces of the Royal Mounted Police Force. Is there a better way to pass the time?

Australia 2013 has now entered my list of memorable rain delays, although that was thanks to the hours of amusement provided by bored fans on Twitter. Well, that and the timely provision of some delicious miniature pies.

Formula One. If you can’t race, you may as well eat!


Posted by Tjizzle on 16/03/2013 i'm hungy, for both racing AND food. :)

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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'. Kate Walker