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Grand Prix of Brazil 2005
Friday (Day 4) head for the track and Practice sessions.

Well as planned I got up at 6:00 am (with the aid of the Hotel "wake up call"). Did the three S's....packed the back pack, made sure I had some Cold medicine with me and pulled the Friday ticket out of the safe and hung it around my neck. Decided to wear my USGP jacket from 2001 and headed out.

As I walk passed the front desk everyone says "BonGea!" (I don't know how to spell it, but that's how it sounds), "Good Morning!"

Out through the spinning doors of the Hotel passed the Doorman, "BonGea!" I say and carry on to the Taxi stand. I think the driver already knew where I wanted to go as he opened the door for me and I said "Interlagos Por Favor." Damn I'm doing good with Portuguese! :) He says BonGea, closes the cab door and gets in the drivers seat.

The traffic is not bad at this time of day, but this cab needed some new dampers and springs! "MotoBoys" are flying down the roads as usual, ignoring all traffic rules. I am just staring out the windows looking at everything going by. Oh Wow! there is the tunnel dedicated to Aryton Senna, uniquely named "Ayrton Senna Tunnel". I was unable to take a picture because my cameras were safely packed away in my backpack. :(

There is this beautiful piece of artwork (statue) I believe, representing a Formula 1 car, that could be mistaken for a Dolphin. We didn't go through the tunnel though. Wish I had a picture of it.

Traffic is beginning to build up as we get to the outskirts of the City and the "Beep" "Beep" change lane tactics come into play. Three lanes of "Bumper cars" not actually bumping into each other, mixed with MotoBoys.

We cross over a river which does not look too clean, I think it carries all the sewage going by the smell. Across the bridge is the wooden sheds all stacked on top and next to each other, all next to the river. Then a strip of shops, well businesses of some kind all the way up the hill, with a couple of high rise apartment buildings along the way.

I suddenly realize I don't know where I'm actually going, my ticket doesn't tell me, and how to get the driver to understand. Luckily there was quite a bit of traffic as we got closer to Interlagos and I just said Aque! Aque! Obrigado! The driver pulled up on the sidewalk! Only to be told by the Police to move and drive around this little street. I look at the meter $42.00 Reais, I'm happy so I give the driver 50.00. He starts to give me change and I say No! No! Obrigado! He is over the moon! No one tips in Brasil. He handed me a business card with his name on it and his cell phone so I could call him for a ride home. Very nice, but how would I tell him where to find me at the end of the day!?!

I walked across the street to the track to find an entrance. It was obvious I was early as no gates I found were open. There was also a lack of information as to where to go with certain tickets. Finally one of the first gates I had seen looked like it was about to open, so I figured I would ask there. As I walked up to the gate the Police stopped me. He says something in Portuguese and I just answer "You speak Englese", "No".

I pull out my ticket and show him and shrug my shoulders (the international language for "Where do I go?" or "What did I do?" Thankfully he understood the first one. :) Took my ticket and went over to the gate and asked the workers where to go. Methinks this is going to be interesting............the cop trying to tell me where to go. :) He comes over, hands me my ticket, holds up seven fingers and says "Setch! Setch! Setch!" then points down the road. So OK I know the direction I have to go, so I'll just follow the wall until I reach gate 7 or 777.

Sure enough it was gate 7. Still no one speaking English. There were three parts to this gate and don't you know it...it was the third one I was supposed to go in. It was still not set up but they let me into the track anyway. The gates have a magnetic reader in them so you have to swipe your ticket to gain entry. But as I said they just let me in.

I walk about 100 yards down this road under a bridge, (which I discovered later was the front straight and Pits above.) to my stand :Orange Tree Club". They were still trying to set up their electronic gate as well. There was no sign to say that this was the stand so I ask and show my ticket. Once they realized I was a foreigner they knew they could not explain anything to me. So they let me in. I ask the security guys if they know where I can get something to eat and some coffee. Nothing! Well of course they don't speak English, so I gestured drinking and said "Cafe" in my best Spanish. They just pointed me around the corner, where the food and drinks area was still being set up. I'm dying for some coffee at this point.

There are these two girls at one end of the counter trying to set up. They look up at me and say "BonGea" I return the greeting followed by "Can I have some "Cafe"? Crys for help from "Fabio". Fabio turns up and says "Morning, what would you like?" "Coffee please I'm dying for some". He told me they were not open but he could make me some espresso for now. 2 cups later and a little conversation with Fabio, I tried to pay. He said come back later. This was only about 7:30 am. I left the Orange Tree Club and went wondering to see where I could get to for photographs (the entry gate was still not working yet).

I almost got up to the Pit Lane, but had to show my ticket and was turned away. I stopped at souvenir booths to see what was available and found that at least one girl could speak some English. So I bought the mandatory T-Shirt and a couple of hats and went back to the Orange Tree.

The gate was operational now. Security motioned for me to swipe my ticket and come in. Unfortunately the gate did not unlock! We tried three times. Then Security said "you leave" along with motioning swiping the ticket. I'm positive he meant "Did I swipe the ticket when I left" so I said No. He walks me around the gate to the inside and motions for me to swipe the ticket as if to leave. The machine beeps and the gate opens and OUT I go. :) Turn around and swipe the ticket to go in.....Nothing! Everyone scratching their heads and chattering in native tongue. Finally they ask for my ticket and send me into the stand. So I get more Coffee. I am still the first person at the Stand. And now a few of the workers want to hear me speak whatever language it was I spoke and had a good laugh when I tried some of the Portuguese Fabio had tried to teach me.

So while no one was around I decided to figure out where I was going to sit and the best vantage points for Photo's. The first pictures of the track where the cars first come into view and then follow round in front of the Stand and trough "Larange" with a panoramic view from where I sit.

I climbed up to the top of the stands to see what kind of view I could get of the last turn coming onto the front straight. and a picture down to the food counterNow it's time to get ready for the first practice and see who else turns up.Well I'm begining to find out there are no Ugly or Fat women in Brasil. :) But lets see who's on track.

(My friend Alex said he was enjoying the story until all the photographs on Day 3 and the story stopped here!) It is still a work in progress Alex. :) Love to all the girls; Karen, Tayla and Jasmine.

TakoJuanKlienFriday Drivers

I had bought a new digital camera (Nikon D70) after the MotoGP in Monterey, CA. thinking it would solve my problems from there. WRONG! I still have to learn how to use it properly, so these are the only pictures I deemed good enough. (Yes I deleted an extreme amount!) I have since adjusted the eyepiece for my eyesight and learned a few other things with it.

First practice was GREAT! To see all the cars come out on there installation lap, no big deal, but after that everyone seemed to drive for different reasons, which they were, for obvious reasons.

The Toyota's were very twitchy on the front end when they came into the corner right where the "Friday Drivers" are as it had a few bumps as it shows in the Photo of Juan Pablo. :) All other cars had the front suspension adjusted to absorb the bumps enough. Toyota still had the front end pretty stiff all weekend.

As the session moved on it was evident everyone was trying to find setup for speed. Each time past the drivers were taking slightly different lines and braking at different points.


Michael was trying really hard very early. I could see he was pushing to the limits. My guess he was working on Aerodynamics and suspension setup. He entered the corner faster and faster each lap and I could see it happen as he came around on the limit, hit the white line at Larange and spun, Cheers could be heard from all around at his misfortune. (pictures which did not turn out) But in true Schumacher fashion, never hit anything and carried on without stopping, silencing the crowd.

    Jaques     Michael     Rubens

I was surprised to say the least, that the only things on track for Friday were the morning and afternoon free practice. So here is the lunch break. I go for another walk for as far as I can, which takes me to the "Formula 1 Village". Not what I had expected, it was a BIG tent behind these stands that were more expensive than mine. These ones were in the region of $2,500.00 US.

The Village was a sales tent with "Official GP of Brazil" stand, a Ferrari stand, a Petronas booth and another stand for Williams. Not very exciting, except for the girls working them. There was this one person dressed in a Ferrari drivers suit standing next to the Ferrari stand having his picture taken with all these people that thought he was one of the drivers....(Michael!) wrong!

I am still trying to get an official Program, hoping that these 6" x 4" programs are not the official ones. There was not even a schedule in them.

The sun had come out for a while and it was very pleasant. I had to roll up my USGP jacket and strap it on my back-pack as I was too hot in it.

I strolled back up the hill to the Orange Tree Club and tried to have a chat (in PorSpanGlish) with the staff at the food counter, indulging in more espresso and a sandwich (which I thought I knew what I was ordering). It was not what I wanted, but I could not loose face as I had ordered it right off the menu "in Portuguese!". It was still very good.

I figured I still had enough time to stretch out in the stand and have a little nap before second practice.

People milling about woke me up. Perfect timing for the second free practice.

It seems that Alex in the McLaren MP4/20 is the man running the most laps and FAST! consistently, you can see the effect of the bumps in the corner. :) The others missed most of them Minardi, Alex taking a slightly different line avoiding the bumps, Massa hitting them all (or is that me making them!?!) and Luzzi, Michael with a different setup, Alex blurring speed again, Kimi trying to catch him, Alonso doing well, but did not seem to do much running.

I think it's pretty amazing seeing how the cars load up the left side tires around this curve. You can see how much the left side tire are getting depressed and the right side are barely touching the track. Tako getting in plenty of laps, Rubens trying to find the break away point on the rear with the Bridgestone's, Jenson playing catch-up. Ms. Friday not happy with the proceeds, but then her sister has a different idea. They were both very friendly and spoke some English.

It's now getting close to the Pit walk as the practice session is over. I keep asking the security guys when the Pit walk is, but I'm always asking the ones that cannot speak English (all of them!) :) I finally get one guy that tells me in broken English that we would all gather by the gate and they would call us when ready.

A large group exit and I ask "Is this it?" No not yet. So I hang out with the food/drinks serving staff (My new adopted Family). Again another large group leave. "Now?" I question. Not yet. Finally the security guy comes over to me and grabs me and says "now". I was surprised there were not very many people going on the pit walk.

That was a long slow walk all the way over to the Pit exit, where after a little hassle we were all let in. Unsupervised! There were no drivers on hand of course, but here was this guy again strolling down pit lane stopping to have his picture taken with anyone that asked. Maybe Ferrari bring him in as a guest to take the heat off Michael. I could see the resemblance if I closed my eyes. The mechanics had some things to say when they saw him walk buy, not very praising, but put big grins on their faces.

What I found really interesting was that although the bodywork on the cars is all very similar, Minardi, McLaren, Williams, Renault, BAR, Ferrari, it's what the teams do to save weight at the wheels with the unsprung weight. Axles are quite different in diameter after the threads, and the different construction of the disc brakes for cooling. Renault, Williams, Sauber, BAR, Ferrari, Red Bull.

I had been in the Pits for almost 2 hours and decided I should probably get back to the hotel when this Brazilian guy came up to me exclaiming "Filme!" Filme!" I thought, Who would go to pit lane and not have any Film in their camera? He starts pointing at my camera, I say "Digital", he exclaims "Filme!" again. I tell him "Momentito" "Un Moment" while I take my back-pack off as I know I have some 35mm film in there. He opens his camera and says "Filme!" again. "I know! I know what you want! "Calme!" I have no idea if he understood. But at least he stopped speaking.

I pulled out one roll of film, Black and White, no good. In another pocket there was two rolls of Kodak 400Max. I gave him one and he stopped dribbling enough to say "Quanto?" "How much?". I think I could have got his first born for it, but as the back-pack had been through the airport screening I just "Nada". He was so happy! I hope the film processed OK.

At the end of the Pits was the Bridgestone tire area and they were working on Jordan wheels. I stopped to have a look and a chat with the guys, if they would. I'm looking at one of the wheels when I noticed a second valve 180 degrees from the other and more on the inside of the rim.

I interrupted the Jordan mechanics saying, "this is probably a really stupid question for you, but what is the second valve for?" One of them explained that there is another part to the second valve so that on pit stops they can adjust the pressure up or down in micro pounds, helping with the handling. Another laughs and says "Yeah! it's great when it works!". Just then the Bridgestone guy comes over to the Jordan Mechanics and asks "Is this the set for Helium?" they all take a quick look around at the different wheels and reply "Yep! that's them."

I took a couple of pictures and left, still with the question in my head that I did not want to ask..."Are you serious, Helium?"

As I left the Pits Formula Renault racing series cars were taking to the track right opposite the Pit exit and one immediately ran over the front wing of one of his competitors. And that was just pulling onto the track!

I did not stick around for that as I had to get back to the Hotel and then go out to dinner.

I made my way up to the street and managed to "hail" a Taxi very easily. I was quite tired at this point and just showed the driver the address of the Hotel. He said OK! and off we went.

At the main street there was a major traffic jam. The driver turned to me obviously speaking in Portuguese, but also using the international sign language, pointing at the traffic ahead and motioning turning right at the light...I just said "Sie" and away we went to the right. I got to see some different parts of the suburbs of Sao Paulo and went through what must have been a fairly wealthy area. There was no graffiti for about a mile and all the high rises were pristine. Before I knew it we were at the Hotel. $47.00 Reais. I felt Great! I had just done the round trip to Interlagos for $100.00 Reais instead of the $400.00 Reais the Hotel Taxi would charge.

  Oh well! More tomorrow..............