27 November 2012

What a race!

How does it feel to fall back into last place right after the start? When Sebastian spun around on the tarmac that was slippery from the drizzle, my heart dropped a few beats. He had to drive into the wrong direction to be able to go back in line and kind of start all over again. It reminded me of my wise friend Bertrand Piccard who said that sometimes you have to embrace a detour to reach your goal in an unorthodox way (he had to avoid China when he drove around the world in a balloon because the Chinese didn´t allow him the passage, even though the prevailing winds had always suggested that route - in the end he succeeded with a totally different crossing of asia than initially expected).
Sebastian kept fighting his way back up, but when also Mark Webber spun a donut, I was shocked. Luckily it happened early in the race so the guys had time. Together they climbed up the rankings again, never giving up, even when Sebastian´s radio broke down and he had that very unusual and unexpected stop in the box. Mere horror stood in the faces of the guys in the box around me when they saw how long it took to change Sebastian´s tyres.
It kept raining. Dr Marko had asked me before the race about my expectations for the weather. Rain at half past two, I said (and knew he wouldnt like it). After the race he smiled at me and said, "Your prediction was late!" Well maybe next time I may have a look at the satellite image and have a chat with the meteorologists. Hey, I would love to do that job! But, just like in hang gliding, the poor meteo guy is always the bad one when he comes up with what we don´t want to hear...
I had an interface at hand with which I could watch Sebastians on board camera, which I kept on all the time during the race. Lots and lots of rain. A miracle to me how he could safely overtake soooo many other cars again. When Mark finished 4th and Sebastian 6th in the end, they prooved their class to everybody. What a performance, impressively demonstrating their driving skills and mental strength!
When I met Owen Wilson on the track, I asked him for a photo with me. I kind of found it rude to ask a favour and not offer anything in return, so I translated Massa´s emotional speach for him, as there were no English subtitles (well the audience was mainly Brasilian, and I think Massa made a few of his fans cry too ;))
Flying back home today, I was very pleased to find almost the complete Scuderia Torro Rosso in the compartment I worked in. Probably the only time they ever enjoyed a Red Bull athlete serving them dinner and drinks!

26 November 2012

Interlagos: Sebastian World Champion!

 Today I nearly died a few heart attacks at Interlagos - what a crazy race! Just after the start, Sebastian did a 360 on the slippery road - drizzle on the track turned it into soap! It happened just in front of me and I was so shocked that I dropped my phone and nearly killed it... luckily I got the photos out at least.
Then it was Mark with another 360, but also other drivers had trouble with the rain today.
With Button, Alonso and Massa on the podium, Sebastian still had enough points in the lead to become World Champion for the 3rd time! Felipe Massa held a very emotional speach in front of his home audience, it was a great finish of the season for many drivers.

I was very touched when Sebastian found the time to sign my helmet. Now I have the best lucky charm possible for my worlds in January in Australia - both Mark Webber´s and Sebastian Vettel´s autographs! 

Very, very impressive performance of Team Red Bull Racing today, congratulations to the whole team for their new success, you are legends! And thank you for letting us be a part of it!

25 November 2012

Sao Paulo, Timezone GMT - 2

After a long full work flight to Sao Paulo, I went to Interlagos for the F1 Qualifying. Exciting to watch the racing, the tactics, to hear the team communication, but most of all the noise of the engines.Meeting the team of Red Bull Brazil was a great "prazer".
It all looks really good for Sebastian tomorrow, even though it started raining tonight, a cold front will move in and there might be really heavy rain on the course tomorrow. The qualifying went well. After Hamilton and Button it was Mark Webber on 3rd and Sebastian in 4th position for the big finish tomorrow.
After the race, Mark came over to talk about the performance of the day in Sao Paulo. I used the chance to ask him for signing my helmet as a "lucky charm" for my worlds in January in Australia. He smiled when I said "Forbes", sure he knows that area, and of course I invited Mark over to come and fly with us ;)
I didn´t see Sebastian, he will just have a really good rest and I keep my fingers crossed big time for him tomorrow!

22 November 2012

Dubai, Timezone GMT +4

Has Felix really retired? Looking at the Burj Khalifa, the highest building of the world, more than 800m high, I immediately thought of him ;) This tower is high enoug to take off with my glider and fly over to the coast and land on the "world island", once it will be built.
Dubai is like a world of superlatives, very modern and shiny. I enjoyed the beautiful 28 C and sun - it is nice to escape winter, even if only for 24 hours!

13 November 2012

Bogota, Barranquilla, Boston, Bremen

It was great going on a work trip to Bogota and being accompanied by my friend Rebi. She had spent two months with a family in Barranquilla, so we went to see them and they showed me as much as possible within barely two days - the beach, the city, Cartagena, agua de coco, arroz de coco, croquetas de lentejas... it was like two weeks condensed into a few hours and a really good language training for me as well. Rebi was lucky that she could stay with Susa´s family who even created fantastic home made food for us vegetarians!
After the exciting adventure tour to Colombia, my next work trip took me to Boston. Just very lucky that hurricane Sandy had already passed and the snow storm had not yet arrived. It was chilly, but going with my ex flatmate Mark for a run through the park down to the river and then exploring Cambridge with him by bike warmed me up.
These days you find rental bike stations every few km in Boston, and you can rent a bike for 5$ a day. A great value if you want to see as much as possible in a limited time! And there are so many new bike trails marked everywhere on the roads, I think Boston is the cyclist-friendliest and -safest city in the US! Not quite up to my home town Bremen yet, but definitely much better than Munich for example!
Mark is working at the MIT at the moment, and it was great to have the chance to see some of the many labs in the huge main building, with Mark explaining some wall decorations to me. So many famous scientists had been or are teaching at the MIT, I like the sparkling creativity of that place! Also we made a tour through Harvard - who else has a canteen that looks like a large, old church?
Even after all these great trips, it is nice to come back home and see the grand town hall of Bremen again. And sometimes, on very rare occasions, you can be lucky and even experience a ray of sun or two in northern Germany!

06 November 2012

Thank you for having voted...

... for Barack Obama as the old and new President of the United States! I am glad he won the elections. I wish we had a candidate like him to vote for in Germany as well.