This is an odd message to receive from your mother. I have never known her quote Oscar Wilde before but nevertheless, this was her last-ditch attempt at motivation before I travelled to Hungary for my first Formula 1 Grand Prix in the paddock.
This age old quote seems to perfectly summarise what has been a positive and eventful year. From my first full World Series by Renault season with Crash.net to the collection of my media pass in Budapest, 2014 has served up more than a few memorable moments.
As we welcome 2015 – accompanied by our own hopes and dreams for the future – it is perhaps appropriate to take a look back at the last 12 months through my eyes. What else would a blogger and journalist do?
The year began in Birmingham in a flood stricken journey aptly named ‘Flood, Sweat and Tears.’ I made my way to the AUTOSPORT International Show for my first media outing of the new season as an Official Blogger, joining some colleagues and friends at the event for two days of interviews, work and excellent company.
Later that month, I travelled to Park Lane for the Zoom F1 auction. Formula 1 drivers, team principals and Bernie Ecclestone were all asked to take photographs relating to the season – a ‘behind the scenes view’ type quota. It was somewhat surreal to say the least but an honour to be a small part of the evening. All the money raised was gifted to Great Ormond Street and I will be back again in 2015. You can see a preview of the event here.
In March, ‘RumbleStripNews’ was unleashed on the racing world, allowing for further junior driver ramblings on my part and dedicated Formula E coverage. I joined the site for its launch, helping our head honco, NBC’s Luke Smith and photographers Craig and Leanne Boon with their latest project.
Speaking of RSN, Strakka Racing invited me down to their headquarters in Silverstone to test run their cutting-edge simulator facility. Although there on behalf of Crash.net, the day was documented on the new website and allowed an insight into the life of a WSR driver away from the race track. In my case, it was Matias Laine who explained the goings on and its usefulness before the Monaco support race in May. As mentioned in the piece itself, this proved to be an insightful and intuitive day out, increasing my already high levels of respect for the drivers.
As a side note, simulators really do test the strength in your arms, something I am seriously lacking, apparently.
A trip to London for #NotAFotaForum was also on the cards in May. It was a chance to meet some of you, catch up with my friends (who are, by this point, well into planning trips to races) and raising yet more money in the process. Thanks to Olly Weingarten for organising the event and many congratulations on the return of the FOTA Forum at Austin.
In between all my FR3.5 coverage for Crash.net, I have been knee deep in Criminology essays and case law. The founding of the criminal justice system, its principles and the reasons for why criminals become deviant have all been topics of research outside of my motorsport work. However, with exams over shortly before the Monaco Grand Prix, my attention focused to my upcoming trips to the paddock.
Hungary was first on my hit list. Budapest, a city I was fortunate enough to explore many years ago, will remain a life-affirming moment. There is no greater feeling than walking down a Formula 1 paddock, media pass around your neck and with Dictaphone in hand, ready to join the furore of the media circus. It was the moment I realised that a life in motorsport journalism is, and always will be, the goal. Alternatively, to use Oscar Wilde’s analogy, I hope to remain a lemon for an awful long time to come.
I landed back to earth with a thud at London Gatwick airport and greeted the summer break with plenty of WSR work still ahead of me. My first full season with Crash.net was incredible. The chance to write about a top tier junior series for one of the most prominent websites is undoubtedly an honour and a privilege. Paul Ricard and Jerez added two more media passes to my ever-growing collection.
I am also indebted to Renault Sport, RSM Racing and the teams and drivers of the Formula Renault 3.5 paddock for their assistance with the coverage in 2014. Congratulations to Carlos, the champion this year, I hope to see you in the F1 paddock soon!
As another side note (sorry), you will be seeing plenty more F1 work from me in 2015 as I am joining Richland F1,a great team of enthusiastic and talented journalists.
Amongst all these great moments, it would be foolish to simply acknowledge the positives. I am thinking of Jules and his loved ones as, for many fans, 2014 will remain a prominent reminder of F1’s dangers. My thoughts also remain with Michael, our most successful racer and greatest ambassador, who begins his long road to recovery. Let us hope that 2015 acts as the year that injuries can be overcome and our prayers answered.
Thank you for following my journey in 2014, an audience gives a writer a voice so to you I send my greatest appreciation.
Until next time, I leave you with this:
“Straight roads do not make skilful drivers”
– Paulo Coelho