Formula E and BTCC all in one week!

So, I probably should have written this up a while ago, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks in the world of motorsport. I’ll try and remember everything, but a lot has happened.

Things started off with Formula E.

I headed over to Nottingham last Monday in preparation of the Formula E public testing, which would be going on from Tuesday to Thursday. Not accredited for the meeting, I’d only be attending on Wednesday and Thursday. It meant getting interviews was going to be harder, but there’s nothing like a good challenge.

It’s not Formula E if I don’t show up an hour and a half early. I arrived at Donington Park at half seven in the morning, which isn’t actually as early as I thought I was going to arrive. I had an idea of what I wanted to achieve from the two days but calling it a “plan” was probably stretching the truth a little.

Actually, I got a fair bit out of the event, talking to a number of drivers and – the interview of the week – Alejandro Agag. I’d gotten the impression Agag probably wasn’t as fond of me as possible. Whilst other journalists asked about how awesome it was to have Formula E in Paris, I asked about the negative press brought with the Battersea Park protests. Whilst others were asking about the fantastic new venues we have next season, I was asking… er, about the Battersea Park protests.

I asked journalist questions, rather than PR questions.

When I saw Agag wandering down to the paddock at Donington Park, I jumped off of the bench to go and grab him. I didn’t really have any questions planned because I didn’t expect this to happen, but I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.

I fully expected Agag to just say no when I asked if I could ask a couple of questions. After all, I was pretty sure he didn’t like me. But he said yes and answered my questions about London and gave me enough to get a good article out of.

There wasn’t much time to rest after testing. Friday, I left Nottingham to head to Corby for the BTCC. It was my last BTCC weekend this season, as I go back to university at the end of this month. I’ll be sad, watching the last two race weekends from my student house, but some things can’t be helped.

Rockingham hosted the Clio Cup media day back in March and I was looking forward to going back. I love going to BTCC events as it is but I was really excited about going to Rockingham.

The weather was a little crazy, though. Saturday, we expected a little rain later on in the day. What we got was something out of a disaster film. There was thunder and lightning, tornados, about half an ocean’s worth of water falling from the sky.

The rain started to get really heavy as I was interviewing Formula 4 driver James Pull. I’m stood there with my slightly cracked phone, trying to ask James about his Formula 3 adventures (just after asking about how he liked the weather) when it started hammering it down. Wonderful.

Luckily, there doesn’t seem to have been any damage done to the phone, and it made for a lot of interesting interviews later on that day.

One of my favourite interviews from the weekend came from Devlin DeFrancesco. I’m very proud that I helped a young racing driver learn the all important lesson of being careful when you talk to the press.

I wanted to talk to all the championship contenders really and ask how things were in the last few rounds. Devlin had had a pretty difficult weekend, though. You could tell after the final race that the Canadian wasn’t very happy and I very much wanted to know why.

Devlin left parc ferme in his car, which meant I had to run back under the track to meet him at the Formula 4 paddock. Devlin spoke very honestly, but carefully. He was clearly happy about something that needed to be sorted “internally”, but his cautiousness over what had caused what he was unhappy about – or even what he was unhappy about – left his answers ambiguous.

When I got home, I wrote up the article quite nicely, I thought, and published it. Devlin then realised his mistake and corrected some of the ambiguousness. The new article can be found here.

I’m very almost finished writing up the articles for this week. There are still some interviews left to transcribe, and I still need to write the GT4 article for Totally BTCC. I should probably get on with doing that now.

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