9 May 2018
Thought for the F1 day...
It's a sunny day here in France and tomorrow I will set off before dawn to drive to Barcelona. It is about 650 miles, but I should get there in the middle of the afternoon in time for a wander around the F1 Paddock and a few chats to find out what's going on. That's the plan.
It is one of the most enjoyable days of my year, heading to the first European F1 race - a sign that the spring has truly arrived (although it has been known to snow on the way). France is a spectacularly beautiful country, endlessly varied, and filled with surprises. I should probably take two days to do the journey and explore a little more, but time is always pressing. The weather forecast is good and I will go straight down the middle of France: by way of the Beauce plains, the forests of the Sologne, the Bourbonnais bocage in the Allier and then on to the volcanoes of the Puy de Dome, close to Clermont-Ferrand.
By mid-morning I will be climbing up the road they call la Méridienne into the Cantal and the Lozere, passing such things as Eiffel's spectacular railway viaduct across the Truyere river, near Saint-Flour, and then the astonishing viaduct at Millau (one of the modern wonders of the world), in the Aveyron, just before lunch. The road is a spectacular piece of construction, running at over 2,500 ft most of the time, with large sections above 3,200 ft.
After the high plateau of Larzac, one dives down the Pas de l'Escalette, a pass that drops 1500 ft to the coastal plains of the Languedoc and a sunny drive along the coast to Perpignan before climbing again over the Pyrenees until I get to the gentle wooded hills of Catalonia.
So don't expect much blogging tomorrow. Yes, I know, I'm living the dream, and I do appreciate the life I have. Everyone involved in Formula 1 is living a great life, even if we work and travel hard. The trouble with living the dream is that someone has to pay for it. Readers always assume that there is some omnipotent media mogul in the sky who pays the bills for me and everyone else. It does not work like that. A lot of the F1 media pay our own bills, which is quite eye-watering when added to the costs of normal life. A few folk have mentioned that my new books (the two volumes of Fascinating F1 Facts) are a little expensive. I accept that they are, but I look at it slightly differently. Every day thousands of F1 fans read this blog or listen to me podcasting (there is a new one by the way). It costs them nothing. Paying a little extra for a pair of books (which any F1 fan will enjoy) is a much better way to generate revenues rather than putting everything behind paywalls.
So, if you want to buy the books but think it is a little too expensive, think of it as a way of saying "thanks" for the content you get for nothing. If everyone who reads the blog and listens to the podcast bought the two books today (in my dreams), I would never need to worry about funding again. Ever. It is really is that dramatic... So, think about it, if nothing else. And if you think: "Yes, that's a reasonable argument" then clink the link and guarantee that the blog, the green notebook, the podcast, the audiences and so on will go on until the day I drop off the perch.