Race Ready – was 2nd place winner!

This weekend, I had the good fortune of joining a colleague at Sao Paulo’s premier annual global sporting event, the Grand Prix Formula 1. Through crafty and resourceful ways – and with the help of another plugged-in colleague – Miguel scored two VIP passes, including seats in a posh “camarote” (souped up sky box bleachers with catering and plenty of swagger) and pre-race pit tours for both the Saturday qualifiers and Sunday’s Big Race. A networking mecca, I was prepared to pass out biz cards like party favors, but realized it’s hard to connect while wearing earplugs!

Our magical wristbands and lanyards gained us access to the pits, pre-race. It’s here where you see up close all the meticulous and ingenious systems that make the cars go round, and the unsung crew who run precision drills to perfect 3-second pit stops, and make champions. A Nox-fueled Ballet.

Where the Pit Stops happen: Room for 12 teams, 24 cars, 24 “pilotos”.
Setting up pneumatic jacks: the magic behind 3-second pit stops.
A Place for Everything…
The Crew: Synchronicity!
Tires for wet and dry tracks. Needed both!
“Sinistra”… Yes, the Italian team!

How Big was Sunday’s finish? The clouds burst at about lap 50 of 71, making for perilous and crowd-pleasing spinouts. This race’s final seconds determined not only the race winner — the dashing Jenson Button — but the Formula 1 2012 season’s champion driver, 25-year-old Sebastian Vettel, who repeats from 2010 and 2011. Wow. The youngest triple-champion in history.

The spare parts look weightless, and are in great supply!
Some goombah, in front of a team box.

Red Bull’s sponsorship budget for extreme sports seems limitless. In just seven short seasons, the UK-based syndicate runs juiced-up promotions, flashy cars, and two top-ranked drivers: Vettel and the Aussie Mark Webber. Red Bull’s “hip factor” is palpable, and they seem to have the Midas Touch. Gets your pulse racing, not surprisingly.

Red Bull’s got The It Factor. “So hot right now…”
Winning Car, Winning Season for Vettel.

Mercedes Benz has (pays for) the honor of providing a fleet of flashy safety and medic cars. Gullwings! and you should hear them roar around the track.

Sorry, little fella in black shirt! Got carried away…

Having joined Ann earlier in the year at Sao Paulo’s Indy300 races out at the Sambodromo, I got the bug.  Now, at this final race of this Big Time, Grand Prix season, I am hooked!