It’s always a pleasure to sit down and talk motor racing with Patrick “Paddy” Lowe. We first met at Williams in about 1990 and I’ve been a fan ever since….ever since the day he pointed to the much-moaned-about cooling towers hard by the Williams Didcot factory and said, “I have a lot of respect for those towers. Did you know that they are a part of the most efficient coal-to-electricity station in England? I find them very inspiring…” Anyone who is that grounded deserves to win F1 races, let alone run a major engineering team – and so it proved with Paddy. First that brilliant FW14B-Renault at Williams, then wins and championships at McLaren. Now, if you please, he starts 2014 as the new Executive Director (Technical) of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team. We chatted recently between test days at Jerez.
That was the verdict of Valtteri Bottas as he looked back at Suzuka, venue of last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. Williams didn’t have a great weekend (again) but that did nothing to dim Valtteri’s enthusiasm for the circuit and for the F1 disciplines in general. We tasted a flavour of that at another great circuit last week when Valtteri chauffeured friends and Williams team partners around the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in a hot little Renault Clio. Mundane the car may be (by F1 standards); perfunctory his lap was not – and I hope we captured a little of its flavour in a short clip within this week’s edition of The Racer’s Edge. In the Teddington TRE studio I was very pleased to welcome back our friend and regular technical expert, Craig Scarborough. There have been plenty of rumours recently about Red Bull possibly running some form of KERS-related traction control; Scarbs tackles this theory head-on as well as providing his own, inimitable, detailed analyses all of the teams’ latest developments. And I’ve always wanted to chat to Alex Lynn, the very fast young Englishman who won prolifically in Formula Renault before graduating to F3. Alex has now won three rounds of the ultra-competitive 2013 Euro F3 Championship and I think you’ll find him refreshing in his approach: he chose to drive for the front-running Italian team, Prema Powersport, (a) because it would leave him with no excuses and (b) because it would take him out of his British comfort zone. He’s risen to the challenge. On top of all that, Alex also finds time to race his father’s ex-Bob Jane 1965 Lotus-Cortina, so there’s no doubt that his heart’s in the right place. It’s been a sad week but I hope you enjoy Episode 33. It’s about people who love our sport and the passion that they engender.