18 September 2019

Green notebook from La France Profonde

Well folks, what can I say? It was flat out after Spa and then straight to Monza, and then flat out ever since. The reason I haven't managed a green notebook from either race is that I have either been travelling to earn money, or doing paying work.

You may recall that this is when a writer produces articles for someone who actually pays money, rather than delivering endless words for free, in the hope that these will attract readers to pay for subscriptions or mesmirise advertisers and get them to open their wallets. This may sound like a pretty poor excuse, but I should perhaps add that the job has been made a great deal more difficult because of a complete internet service provider failure where I live in France, or rather specifically at my house. I won't bang on about it, but suffice to say I am not recommending the Orange company to anyone other than professional assassins. One can understand that technical things can and do go wrong. It happens, but good customer service and efficient maintenance is always a good idea for such a communications company and the aforementioned firm has thus far provided neither. As 3G is not a concept that has yet reached the upper end of the valley (forget 4G!), this has meant that the only means of communication with the world has been to go to the end of the garden and hope for 3G, or get in the car and drive to a 4G zone and then link the computer to the phone etc etc etc. I've heard of mobile offices, but it is not easy when the steering wheel gets in the way.

The biggest problem was that I had a big commission that involved much research and I have learned that in this day and age, we are all completely dependent on the internet. I thought I had a good archive in my computer. It is not bad, but it seems to have petered out about 10 years ago as information was always there on the Internet and instantly accessible and so one stopped storing things. Books filled with data stopped being produced at around the same time and while I have a vast paper archive, stored in a barn, it all needs to be properly organised and it too stops when people stopped putting information on paper. There are no longer such things as press packs, unless you download them... and, of course, we don't do that because we have the blessed internet.

Anyway, this meant that my every waking hour was spent trying to get this job done in time, except when I was zipping to England and back on other necessary business.

Spa and Monza are now so long ago that I honestly cannot remember what the gossip was in the paddock at the time. I've been completely out of F1 since I left the Autodromo Nazionale late on Sunday night, it seems like an age ago but it seems it is only 10 days. If there has been any big news in F1 circles, it has probably passed me by. I did note the new Williams-Mercedes deal, and I saw that Chase Carey was painting a very green story about the sport at the Frankfurt Motor Show. I have seen some less than rosy financial results from Williams and Renault F1 (while down near the pond) and noted that Fernando Alonso had a difficult time on his first rally raid, and that Nyck de Vries has been signed by Mercedes for Formula E. Elsewhere, there was a very poor attempt by the Daily Telegraph to link F1 with Syria, because the FIA (commendably) has awarded a grant to the Syrian Automobile Club to help fund a karting circuit which, it is hoped, will help to provide distraction and perhaps create ambitions in that poor war-torn country. Trying to suggest from this that F1 is supporting the regime was a disgraceful piece of media tosh.

I was also interested to see that Ferrari dominated the new esports F1 championship, with the previously dominant Mercedes barely rating a mention, although in the circumstances I did not dig very deeply to find out where the virtual Mercs finished.

In the meantime, I am in the departure lounge in Paris, bound for Singapore, where I intend to get back up to F1 speed. I hope that in my absence the people at Orange will solve the problem, or at the very least, address it. In the interim, does anyone know the phone numbers of any professional assassins? (I know, one cannot joke on the internet...)

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