Thursday, 15 September 2011
Bella Italia!. Monza Grand Prix
Arrived Wednesday eve, picked up by a driver in a grand Mercedes..getting very blaze about this!
Still after 13 races seeing a driver holding my typed named on a card amuses me a little...
Straight to the hotel, curiously named Cosmo Torri..It does have a cosmos theme but in a very small way..shapes from a distant galaxy are dotted around the walls and carpets!
Back to earth...the drive to the Monza circuit around 15 minutes was so beautiful through the Royal
Monza Park, with the very grand palace. Very big park quite UN-Italian in a way ..informal quite British like. The early morning dew glistened before the warm sun would burn through the clouds.
I didn't realise that Monza was quite a large town..I was expecting a tiny village like Spa.
Another great sight of the big crowds walking and cycling through the park towards the circuit...knowing that the crowds would grow and grow throughout the weekend.
Greeting us at the tiny main entrance were many devoted tifosi-fans waiting to grab an autograph...I can say it was chaos!..this was just Thursday morning!....the levels of chaos would ratchet up with each morning..but somehow being in Italy one expects that sort of contrast..all good humored madness...its amazing how the crowds just block all entrances and exits and not move!...
I was a little nervous about the Inking of the Tyres that day at 6pm in the paddock.
I was carrying the big roll of cartridge paper 10 metre. and all the inks weighing my down..the first two cups of coffee settled the nerves..
Had a meeting with Mr E's No. 2, about the press releases that Pirelli were due to send out..all approved.
Went the the Monza Autodrome office to introduce myself to the Director of the circuit, aptly named Mr Ferrari..saw him briefly and explained the project, said he needed time to compose his words and also at some point over the weekend he would find others...and he did..another full set!
He took me up to his suite overlooking the Pits on the Saturday to get the Mayor of Monza to write a piece, then the president of the Italian Motor sport. On the Sunday Mr Ferrari called me to introduce me to the Minister of Sport..he wrote his piece in the middle of the Paddock..think it looked like I was an autograph hunter!
Very happy with the responses from these executives..nice people these Italians!
Not such a positive response from Santander who again declined to write something, I believe they may have misunderstood the brief. I will speak to Mr E about that.
Around 4-30 (Thursday) I arrived at the Pirelli Motor home in the paddock situated halfway down.
Brought the big roll and inks, and proceeded to layout the roll with the help of Alexandra from Pirelli whom I had worked on this collaboration with and Christian .the chief of Security in the Paddock.
I laid a bigger sheet of Plastic under first ..knowing that the paddock is hallowed ground!
Alexandra was a little nervous about the printing ink not taking to the tyres and therefore not printing...'Trust me ..I'm an Artist!' ...I said...
Think that made her even more nervous!
As the time turned to five thirty I started rolling the ink on the 5 tyres...3 colours blue , orange and black..it was a very hot day day..I knew that the ink was slow drying with a vegetable oil base but water washable..clever,,smart ink!
Rubens Barrichello was the first driver to arrive 5-35 precisely for 10 minutes, by this time lots of press had circled the paper and TV crews..butterflies were flying around inside my belly..hundreds of them..though they were a disappearing species!
Rubens was given some latex gloves and I explained to him I wanted him to make marks and patterns with the inked tyres and to regress....go back to your childhood!
He used the entire length of paper to spell out his name with the tyres.....fascinating..I was expecting him to just make abstract marks.just after he signed Jarno Trulli came with Kobayashi..I sort of wanted all the drivers to come together but actually it created a different dynamic...
So I explained the brief to them both..Trulli proceeded to bounce the tyres down the paper..fantastic!..as he was doing this kobayashi instinctively helped me roll ink onto the tyres....he then started snaking the tyres creating nice marks...by this time Myself and 2 other Pirelli staff were frantically inking the tyres..then Timo Glock arrived ..had fun too..although wouldn't shake my hand...perhaps due to the fact they were completely covered in ink!..so shook my arm instead!
Mark Webber came after a few minutes ..I noticed more snappers when he arrived...He was great fun..
Although he did say to me....'I been asked to do some crazy things and this is up there!...
well .....flipping a car at 200 miles an hour ...flying into the air..then getting back into the car...that's pretty crazy !!
Mark made some great snaking patterns and even did a doughnut with the tyre spinning it...lovely markings!
So the result was a great 10 metre piece of Decorative Abstract printmaking..very happy with it!
Pirelli will make a special presentation in Brazil and donate to a Charity for Auction.
Suffice to say I was covered in Ink...clearing up took a while
Lots of people came to watch ..so pleased because it's always good to have something different in the paddock and I was told it did create a buzz.
Looked forward to a big cold glass of wine after that!
Friday I went into Monza and around the royal park..lovely pictures..just outside Milan. then drove into Milan with a driver who had what what I can only describe as a nervous twitch..head and hands were constantly dancing around..arrived in Milan. Spent 2 hours taking pictures around the Duomo and La Scala...masses of people...amazing encountering two huge Temples in one day...
Monza circuit and the Milan Cathedral.
Friday evening I was invited with Formula one management to eat in the Mclaren Motor Home..very nice indeed.chicken the size of a small country!
Sat evening we were invited to eat in the Ferrari Motor Home..spoiled rotten..is the phrase!
Lovely tiger prawns and wine.
Walking around the Monza circuit was such a delight..there were traces of the original track too..Monza celebrates 90 years next year. The sense of history and legend is definitely palpable.
The weekend I have never seen so many fans ....all wearing red!...singing ..dancing..a real sporting party..they love their motor racing and also know how to enjoy themselves.
After Vettel's victory on Sunday the crowds all fled the grandstands and took to the track..this is unique here because the podium is on a platform across the pits , above the starting grid..so the fans ware so close to the drivers on the podium...millions of them..such an amazing sight!..completely mad!
What an a great week...lots of good memories already...