On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending the Sauber company open day where excited Sauber employees got to show their friends and family around the factory for the day.
F1™ buff like myself, it was an absolute blast. We got to see plenty of exciting stuff like the designers workspace and the testing and simulation area. We also saw the carbon fibre manufacturing area where they make virtually every component of the car. There was also access to the mechanical construction areas where they assemble the gearboxes, engines, suspension and even the race bays where they actually put the cars together for the coming events.
However, there were virtually no pictures allowed to be taken. If you were McLaren, Ferrari or Renault I could understand - people might want some of your technology. But Sauber???? They wouldn't even let us take pictures in the wind tunnel area which they had set up as a kind of museum with one of every car that Sauber has ever raced in various forms of motorsport.
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to flaunt the rules and took a couple of pics. The proximity to the cars and the lack of people running around them was unprecendented for a pleb like me so I had to take my chances.
This was a C24 (2005 model) in the reception of the factory and there was no one about. You can see that security was assured by the red and white tape so I knew my chances were limited. However I started by making a study of the front wheel.
Then, thinking I would do a sort of arty piece focussing on components, I boldly breached security and stepped over the barrier and approached the car. I felt like the flashing lights and guard towers would pop up at any minute so I stealthily covered the 8 feet to the cockpit. In spite of the clearly written Bitten nicht beruhren, I leant against the car to take this awesome shot of the steering wheel
Then one of the wags I was with said "Hey, can't you read. Please don't touch." I freaked for some reason (obviously nowhere near as hardcore as I project), stood up too quick, bashed into the side pod of the car with commensurate amount of noise and then quickly turned and shouldercharged the potted tree you see to the left of the car. All in my haste to get out of the No Man's Land around the car.
I just about knocked the tree out of the pot and scattered those little red hydroponic stones all over the white tiles. What a bloody palaver!!! I was so embarrassed, I look as if I'd been painted Maranello red. It can be so hard to look cool at times.
It was another fine mess I'd gotten myself into. Imagine the embarrassment if my new best friend Peter* had caught me.
Luckily, he didn't see me and as you can plainly see, we are the very best of friends.
Stay tuned for my story about my stupidity with the coffee maker this morning - I wasn't just a knob-end, I was the whole bloody thing!
*For those of you who don't know, that is Peter Sauber, owner and team principal of SauberF1