Thursday, 28 July 2011

Beautiful Budapest...

There is beauty all around this old troubled city...the beauty I see is in the decoration..the intricate attention to detail on the street lanterns..floral patterning on the buildings..can't wait to incorporate these in the painting.
Just finished walking the entire city...can't remember how many bridges I crossed!..very impressive parliament building and the museum of modern art high on the top level looking down on the city below..also across the river my hotel , the view from my room overlooking the river...and the big new statue of liberty.
Unfortunately the weather again is poor!...wet but thankfully warmer than Germany!...great Goulash Lunch. found a little side street restaurant..always think the best restaurants are located in the smallest streets.
Lots of coach parties...saw some Koreans being conned and tricked out of the money by a magician with 3 small vessels and a ball..yes that old trick!'s a good income for these con merchants..
Walking down the Jewish quarter and ghettos, one can in a tiny way sense the pain and suffering the Jews must have felt...(not sure why..but there is a definite feeling)... during the war as they were rounded up and taken to the camps..this pain seems graphically etched on the dirty tired buildings.
Bought some great local fabric for the work...lots of lace and colourful stitched flowers..table clothes...not sure I'd like that on my table ...but then I'm cutting up the fabric...sacrilege perhaps!
I could spend a week taking pics here. To the track tomorrow..forecast is better..I hope!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Sunday..great race around the Ring...

Well..what a great race..warmed the hearts of hardened race goers....if not their hands!
Very cold ..something like 10, 11 degrees..teams and drivers had to work overtime to keep the tyres warm.
The day started with German muesli and tea..very early to the circuit to avoid the heavy traffic...wasn't too bad. I think most people were camping.
I took a wonder deep into a campsite...quite an experience...flags and blowup dolls flying in the wind!
There were other parts I could have ventured down..but heavens knows what I would have found!.
Back to the paddock to find a famous boxer having his picture taken with lots of support staff...didn't catch his name. A German TV company were interviewing the Golfer Martin Kaymer with Niki Lauda..they had laid out a strip of astro turf with a platform and a hole for Niki to putt a ball....second attempt he holed the ball!
Photographers like these them something different to shoot.
I kept trying to contact the CEO's assistant to meet the Local region minister for his piece...but didn't happen.
The Grid was packed...because there was rain in the air..the teams go to great lenghs keeping everything dry..especially the drivers gloves and helmet...I took some good pics of these under team umbrellas
It's quite a walk the length of the Grid, I get to the grid early in order to do's so funny the Red Bull mechanics masking all parts of their cars with their legs....I did take some pics of the rear ..then they motion their legs to's grid ballet!!...would make an interesting stage dance!
I said in an earlier posting that I saw Adrian Newey taking a rather close look at other's all good fun.
The big crowds went away fairly disappointed I'm sure...none of their guys on the podium..but managed to see Heidfeld spin off....seems to happen a lot that!
The photographers weren't really given any raised platform the take pics of the they were climbing the fence...not good Germany!...I'm surprised this wasn't addressed.
Hamilton was so happy....all the team personal put on their winners..peach coloured t shirt...looks very colourful. against the grey skies.
Had a short time after before heading to Frankfurt airport...nearly missed the flight!...
Hungary next...back to back...
2 days in London leaving Wednesday, looking forward to seeing Budapest too..

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Race weekend at the Ring....

This part of Germany has it's own take on the Tale of the Ancient Mariner.....Trees Trees everywhere......and plenty of water too..!  The old castle looks over the Nurburgring, the locals say if you can't see the the castle then it's raining....if you can see the castle then rain is on it's way!...
Arrived to the track early to walk around the Fans Zone...this enormous shopping centre dedicated to all forms of Motor racing....DTM the German touring cars is also popular here..but F1 is the daddy!...The German fans I noticed like to show off their sartorial creative team outfits...with images of the German drivers all over..silly hats too...all very colourful..took some pics of them I'll post a pic.
One does feel as sense of history and heritage attached to this race track..there are many reminders of this in the form of old photos and piped's great..It really adds to the event
The night before Mercedes put on a BBQ for all the teams...nice food and wine...many teams and there drivers were there relaxing despite of a dubious singer blasting out Robbie Williams classics!!
The two practice sessions gave me an opportunity to walk the circuits inner track ..wearing my Photographers tabard..great shots of the many tight turns  slowing the cars down thus enabling me to get some great pics with the mighty grandstands as a backdrop..all full for the first practice.  There is a shuttle bus that takes the photographers to different parts of the circuit..very civilised!
As there are 6 German drivers..the home support is extremely vocal..great to see and hear..although the majority of support is for Schuey and Vettel.
Had a call from the Circuits CEO's office to meet him Jorg Lindner at 11 for him to write his piece..nice guy..he had spoken previously to Mr Ecclestone about the art project, a great thoughtful piece...he has transformed the look and layout around the circuit ..2 new hotels...this shopping complex...a huge roller coster that passes through the inside village...doesnt work at present due to technical problems with un-German!!
Great meeting with Pirelli..about the art event inking tyres at either Monza or Interlagos, Brazil.
 Pirelli have a nicely laid out Motor walls with there bright yellow name-logo..very striking.
The quali was very exciting..managed to find a good spot half way around the circuit to take many big screens so was able to follow the positions.
Back to the resort village..cows all around..but lovely Argentinian steak on the menu!

Should be a good day's racing with Webber on pole and Hamilton just behind..rain is forecast all day...the stands do look more colourful in the rain ..although the paddock tends to empty..all these VIPS develop this allergy to rain..wouldn't want it to dilute their Bubbly!
Off the the fans zone now....

Thursday, 21 July 2011


Just arrived at the circuit after spending the day with Julia..local guide and great company..good German egg!..first impressions..
A mighty circuit...huge ...enormous I've seen so far, the fan zone is all inside in what looks like an enormous shopping mall...packed out! and it's only Thursday.
Apparently there has been a lot of new development creating a very impressive much for the fans to spend their euros..
I arrived to the accommodation around midnight. last night..delayed flight.
We are staying in this Lindner hotel and resort village..masses of swedish style shalets..all different's where teletubbies meet butlins!..if one can imagine that!
Great...very comfortable, self contained houses...all the teams are staying there too.
I was driven around the villages in the vacinity of Nurburgring..a.little like silverstone...lovely little hamlets with there particular architectual style.
Trees everywhere...we are deep in German forest here...apparently the locals call the track ..Grune holle.....Green hell!.so many trees!..coined by Jackie Stewart long time ago.
The Old circuit has a strong presence ..something like 23k in's still in use.
7pm ..meeting the CEO now in the new Lindner Hotel..then mercedes have a party...
Talking with Pirelli tomorrow morning about the Monza project...

Monday, 11 July 2011

Siverstone approaching.......

Great anticipation as I approached the Wittlebury Hall Hotel close to the circuit, the Copse corner grandstands were visible. So many campsites dotted all around...300 thousand are expected this weekend!
Dropped off my luggage, then headed for the circuit to walk around the's such a treat to do that, I found myself walking alongside the teams and drivers..some walk others cycle and run the track..the first thing that one notices is the new Pit complex called the wave, apparently looking at it side on it resembles the shape of a F1 car...not so sure myself ..but very impressive certainly has an imposing presence.
Also one sees the newly painted red and white apexes, actually they are sprayed..some colour gets onto the grass, something so natural alongside something so artificial....then some  sponsors logos are sprayed onto the grass too..great to see that close up.
The Formula 1 management offices are all new of course,smell of.fresh paint in the air..I think some parts of the complex are still in furbishment.
Back to the hotel where security is very intense indeed..big burly security guards with ear pieces!..always with one finger on the earpiece too!..prerequisite of the job that!...  Not known so much security at a race, perhaps because campsites are adjacent to the hotel.
Weather not good!...driving rain and wind....forecast not good until Sunday.
I guess this is all quintessentially British....rain..long traffic jams...tents..and plenty of mud!.....oh and a plethora of beer tents!
I sense such a great buzz..very different from other races...a combination of knowledgeable crowds, and supporters that love the occasion.
Because the new pits and paddock are further away from the main gate..there were plenty of shuttle buses and buggies to ferry everyone around..the whole place resembles a mighty airport!
I even drove one of these golf buggies...great fun!...Went over to Jenson Button's hospitality tents...all for his charity, met Louise Goodman there who is the guest speaker..she remembers me from Australia..very nice!
I made contact with Richard Phillips CEO of the circuit..getting him to write on  Friday.
Apparently it's rumoured that some royals and celebs will attend the race...a place to be seen!..
Also they may be a chance I take to a helicopter for a few mins to take some Aerial pics...that would be great..a new perspective.
I had a driver for 3 hours to take me around the little villages skirting Silverstone..including Silversone village...beautiful cottages with lush gardens and very colourful floral hanging baskets.
Went to Stowe school were I occasionally go and teach as a visiting artist. Great pictures of the Neo-classical buildings and the beautiful Capability Brown landscaping with its lakes and follies.
In the big field to the right of the school. Team Marussia Virgin have taken it over..with masses of Military tents erected for their team hotels or guest houses for them...boot camp!!
I understand some the the BBC radio  are there too...from F1 correspondents to camping and mud correspondents....carry on camping!.
Took some great pics around these villages..looking forward to incorporating these in my work.
Went into the art dept at the school...found some old printing blocks I had left there some time ago..
Back to the hotel where crowds were gathering to get a glimpse of the drivers.
I walked to the circuit through the fields, pass the campsites...8 -30 in morning ..drunk revellers!...I wouldn't expect anything less!  such a short 15 min walk to the circuit.
Big wide Paddock all shiny and clean...had booked in a meeting with Red Bull team principle Christian Horner, wrote a nice piece about the success being down to the whole team..and that this success just challenges them to work even harder to stay there.
Met the CEO, he wrote about the unique atmosphere the British GP has. The rain was very heavy, first and second practice not a true indication of what will happen over weekend, as the weather is expected to improve.  The circuit is massive!...I went through 2 hotel umbrellas!...not good quality for such a posh hotel!
No helicopter ride for me...hopefully another time.
Funny thing..went to the toilet twice today in the FOM offices..on both occasions Nigel Mansell was next to picture I probably couldn't use in my artwork!
Been seeing a lot of Jackie Stewart in the Paddock..these guys can't walk more than 2 paces without stopping to greet someone
As I was waiting for Christian Horner in the Red Bull Motor home..or as they now call it...'Energy Station'..
Sebastian Vettel's father came in and sat on table next to me..overheard him talking about the Great British weather...even the Germans are fascinated!
What a great start to the weekend, Met my sister and and her partner Dick Bennetts who knows a thing or two about Motor Sport!..Managed to see them briefly in the new Paddock Club...very impressive indeed
Isabelle from Allsport asked me to check out the Chill-out lounge with a view to showing some of my work next year..happy about that!
Met a few of the CEO's from previous races in the paddock, Razlan from Malaysia and Ron Walker from Australia, both asking how the paintings were progressing.
Sunday..Race day..
Tens of thousands of people...amazing..arrived at the circuit around 9am and the grandstands were practically full!...lovely sunshine too...I must say the atmosphere was incredible..not experience anything like that...flags and air-horns ..and great support for Button and seemed every other person was wearing a mclaren t-shirt.
A huge scrum of photographers one end of the many!  I thought it was the team principles going into the FIA Offices which was happening on a regular basis...Realised it was Prince Harry entering the Paddock with Damon Hill..absolutely increadible..he was mobbed not just by the Photographers and security  but also by the teams wanting to take a pic...all dashing out of the motor homes...I got some good pics of Harry's right ear!....but knowing I would get better pics of him on the Grid later..
.And I did manage that....the grid was amazing many people...just as the girls were led to their blocks rain started to fall...then an amazing fly past from the red arrows...marching guards...More celebs than last weeks Hello magazine!...Prince Michael of Kent.....Patrick Stewart...3 England Cricketers..Swann, Cook and the tall Bowler who's name escapes me...another footballer from Man Utd, Wes Brown I was reliably informed....but the best was being introduced to Fatima Whitbread!!! the Formula 1 Artist
She said she had just moved so would like some some art work on her wall...wants my details....I can throw the odd Javelin into my paintings!!
Then it just got better, Billy from FOM, was invited by Martin Brundle to join himself and DC in the Commentary box for the start of the race, I went with him....fantastic to be there in the Tiny box listening and watching  them start the race commentary...standing and very animated in true Murray Walker fashion.
Didn't think I could top meeting Fatima!!!!
Also great to see and photograph a new winner..not one the crowds wanted to see though!
A truly great day and race meeting...I will look forward to working on the Silverstone Panel
Germany next........

Monday, 4 July 2011

Valencia race weekend

My computer died after Valencia...drowned on sangria!.. or maybe something to do with the fact it has to process upto 1000 pictures I take at each race,,,,.very late European GP Blog...
The weekend was memorable in so many ways..perhaps not the race..bit of a procession, but one cant blame red bull for that..they just power on.  The attention they receive is amazing..where ever Vettel is ..whatever he's doing there are a mass of camera's and reporters.
I've been taking pictures of the drivers feet..footwear, fascinating!...My camera was the only one trained on their feet in the Paddock....took a great pic of Schumacher's feet astride a crack in the that says something......I'll post that pic.
The build up to the quali is a great time, . I walked down to the circuit from the hotel, it's great to join the crowds gets a true sense of the event..and Ferrari flags...and Alonso t-shirts!....Barcelona revisited! Also wanted to walk off some dodgy local white wine from night before!...
I collected my photographers Tabard from FOM office, and walked the path around the's an odd thing ..even though I have the correct photographer passes etc...some security see the size of my lens and don't take me seriously!...they see these huge long lens, that weigh half a ton ....I couldn't say in Spanish.. ...'It's not the length that's important'!
Got some great pictures of the cars with big boats in I walked around the inner fence which is quite high 7 ft or so..the tiny marbles from the tyres manage to make there way to the path...they are tossed over the fence..amazing ...looks like flattened insects..
Had to rush back to see Natalia, assistant to the CEO.She was lining up all the relevant people to write in my book during the race on Sunday.  Her little office is just under the Podium next to the Pits..there was a GP2 race going on...not a great place for Management office....couldn't hear a thing she was saying!...I'm learning a form of GP sign language this year!
The heat and sun was so intense...beautiful dark blue sky.  I was able to find a local shopping mall for some typical Valencian fabric to place in my work..although the store assistant believed it was for me to wear...this very feminine floral fabric!..difficult to explain it was for an art project...
beautiful material..very happy about that.
Had dinner in lovely old town of Valencia..caught Mr E coming out of our hotel. I do keep seeing Vettel in hotel lifts I happened again..he must think I'm the phantom lift stalker!...
Sunday follows a regular patten for me, the grid was so busy... When the teams push the cars into place that a great time to look into the helmet of the drivers minutes before the off.  Mr E was with Placido Domingo and the Lady Mayor of Valencia showing them around the grid..the mayor was to write a nice piece up in the VIP suite. These people are so happy to write their thoughts and feelings about F1.
, ..another dash the the airport ...great everybody on the F1 JET arrived the plane left early! refreshing ...
Next race ..British..can't wait...wont need my passport this time...