(Continued from Part 1)
When he’s not travelling the universe looking for new planets to conquer and mine for precious minerals, His Excellency Michael Schumacher lands the Mercedes mothership in the paddock and goes for a spin. The decor, of course, has an intergalactic feel and is kept utterly spotless on pain of death. He is also quite particular about his Glade Plug-ins. No-one should be surprised to learn that Schumi is equally competitive off-track but it’s starting to wear a little thin with Nico Rosberg. The Schu is constantly racing Rosberg to the bathroom, the espresso bar, the teleporter and is not above hair pulling to secure victory. If the Schu loses, it’s best of three. Nico is plotting to get his own back by replacing Michael’s hand sanitizer with estrogen gel.
The Lotus comeback has been one long false start but while pundits look towards the garage for explanations, the answer lies with the motorhome. It’s just too darn cosy. Believe it or not, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovaleinen often force retirements just so they can speed back to their porta-chalet. And why wouldn’t they? The cellar wine bar is a popular F1 hangout and dispenses a superlative Barolo while Heikki is right at home with some birch twigs and hot coals in the sauna. Lotus cheese and wine nights are very well subscribed but a bit short on silverware. Team bosses are advised to go for a more austere set-up so drivers will stay out as long as possible. Hispania and Virgin may provide some ideas.
Hispania was plagued with problems long before Bruno Senna zipped up his racing suit and sadly things have not improved since. Earlier this year, faltering fortunes prompted management to convert the motorhome to a backpacker hostel in the hope of boosting team coffers. While Casa Hispania has been popular with the 18-30s, it hasn’t been especially profitable. It’s also been quite distracting for the drivers who have struggled to get a decent night’s sleep since opening for business. Sakon Yamamoto was forced to fill in for Senna after a particularly boozy stag party in the men’s dorm. Yamamoto later had to do the same for Karun Chandok who met a winsome pair of Belgians one Sunday and decided to go sightseeing instead.
You don’t get to be a private-island loving bajillionaire by ejaculating cash all over the place and Richard Branson certainly runs a cost-efficient operation. Always innovative and entrepreneurial, he’s managed to take some decommissioned carriages and make the team a motorhome. Though affordable, it’s not exactly luxurious or swarming with Virgin Atlantic flight attendants and catering is limited to soggy tomato sandwiches. We can only imagine the impact on driver morale. Moreover, Timo Glock and Lucas Di Grassi have to contend with the possibility that the motorhome may be derailed or cancelled. F1 commentators believe that this accounts for Virgin’s lacklustre results thus far.