F1 journalist and ghastly knob weasel TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race
There’s a warmth and a charm to Austin that seduces you in the time it takes to say ‘howdy’ and which can only be understood if you’re actually here, which of course I am.
The whole city stands tall in its cowboy boots and makes those of us in the F1 circus feel like old friends. Speaking of which, one of the first people I saw at the airport was my dear old mate Christian Horner and we were able to chat about that unique Texan hospitality in the passport queue for a few seconds before he quipped that he was ‘off to join that longer, less convenient line’. Always such a marvellous sense of humour, even in the face of his current engine woes!
Last night, I donned the customary Stetson and moseyed on downtown to dine alone in a little Italian place much beloved of Formula 1 stars and which discretion prevents me from naming. Even here in the good ol’ US of A, ordering in fluent Italian always goes a long way with the charming staff, if one is capable, and of course I am. As I dined on my plate of water, socks and school textbooks I reflected on how America has taken F1 to its heart with this race and how that love will only grow next season when the Haas team bring a real slice of the States to our sport from their base in Banbury.
After my delightful meal I was preparing to saddle up and head on back to my ranch (by which I mean, ‘hotel’) when I spotted a certain 1996 world champion passing by with some colleagues and called out to say hello. ‘How many times must I tell you, leave me alone!’ he jested before adding, ‘My God, what the hell are you wearing?’ Such a wonderful wit, and I’m sure he was actually rather impressed by my boots and spurs!
As to who will take the infamous chequered flag here in the Lone Star state, I think we’re well past trying to pussy foot around the issue at this stage in a fascinating season; it will be a Mercedes, or maybe a Ferrari, or perhaps a Williams or a surprise from Force India or Red Bull. Whatever happens, y’all should know I’ll have a mighty fine seat for watching all the action.
Because remember, I’m here and you’re not, cowboy.