Indycar, Nascar, MotoGP, DTM, BTCC, it’s all over. Before their return will be months of drip-fed news, speculation, endless re-runs of The F1 Show, and the seemingly endless wait for the unveiling of the 2015 F1 grid. For any motorsport fan then, it is a time of struggle, after all we had been spoilt this year with action from all over the world in every discipline imaginable. Even a dominant car in F1 couldn’t stop the show. So understandably, it takes some getting used to when everything stops and all we’re left with is Formula E and replays of every F1 race ever.
But take a moment to think of us drivers during this time. Being so utterly hooked on petrol fumes and burning rubber, I always experience withdrawal symptoms. It’s not like football, or sprinting, or tennis, we cannot simply go and practice our one true love. Once that testing ban sets in (which for me was halfway through December) we have nothing. No driving. Instead, we are forced into the exhaustive process commonly known as ‘Winter Training’. This usually means getting ready for the next season, training and recovering so you’re ready to do it all again. Most of it is actually what keeps us drivers going in these tough times. After all, for us, the best thing to do when you’re not actually racing is either to dream about racing (all day every day) or start getting ready for the next time you are racing. That means Simulator work, visiting the team, reviewing the season just gone, discussing issues and strategies for the coming season, refreshing your kit, chasing sponsors, and of course, going to the gym. I mean, I know some people who like going to the gym, but I am not one of them. I’m pretty sure they’re not normal. It requires effort. And eats into my daily Top Gear binges on Dave. Which then brings up the same question I ask every year, which is why the heck is the Top Gear Christmas Special so long after Christmas!? Although to be fair, this year was much better than usual, so maybe we’re seeing a turnaround here? You see, I’m rambling now, I’m actually slowly descending into madness. It’s happening sooner this winter…
But for me, thankfully I’m well on my way to a good 2015, and that is helping ease the pain of withdrawal. Having finished with a neat double podium at the final round of Renault 2.0 Eurocup in Jerez, I ended the year 7th overall, and the 2nd highest points scorer in the second half of the year. Not bad, and it means I head into the winter as one of the favourites for next years title. To make sure of this, we got underway with our winter testing A.S.A.P. after the final round. After the testing ban we then got stuck into finding the team best suited to us and best placed to give us a shot at the title. Negotiations are always fun, although my demands this year where shut down fairly early for some reason. I think I went wrong when I asked if the team could ensure stocks of Cup-a-Soup remained at an acceptable level for each race. They probably think I’m weird. Back to that again… Or maybe it was after asking for the private jet. Who knows.
But anyway, that’s all done and dusted now, so it’s back to the joys of winter training. So, my point is, if you’re a fan in suffering at the moment, take solace in the fact that, a) Us drivers are probably suffering a lot more and b) Your pain now will make the return of the sport we love all the better. And of course, who doesn’t love spending all that time you usually spend watching motorsport with your family?? Ahem.