The Return Of The Spa Master - Belgium GP 2009

The Return Of The Spa Master - Belgium GP 2009 One thing you can always be guaranteed of in Spa is a weather pattern that epitomises the notion of 'unpredicatability' and that Kimi Raikkonen will go well here.

This year, we only got the one. Apart from rain on Friday morning, we basked in the late summer sun as Kimi indeed went very well...

What we were not expecting to see was a beaming Giancarlo Fisichella standing aloft his mount in parc ferme arms raised, celebrating a brilliant pole. Over the last few races the Force India Team has been steadily progressing from the back of the grid to a genuine midfield force, with only rash driving errors halting their progress.

It was not only Force India who seemed to be having a blast around the superb Spa circuit. BMW and Toyota were also showing the title challengers a thing or two. The Red Bulls and Brawns nowhere near, Rubens apart. It's great to see teams who have struggled for so long, making it up to the top of the time sheets at a time when their future in the sport is in doubt. I kinda like the odd conspiracy theory too, so the notion of the boys upstairs in mother-ship having a bit of fun is fine by me, if a trifle annoying for the true die hard fan who can see the bigger picture, if you know what I mean.

It all made for a great show. Unless you were Toyota of course. As a fellow photographer said: 'You would have to walk the drivers to the podium and place them on the top step', only for them fall off once you'd left. The disappointing 10th place will have made the bead-counters in Tokyo and Cologne sweat for sure.

On Thursday evening, BMW invited us into their spacious hospitality suite for the annual photographers dinner. It is here where the ever-friendly and courteous Mario Thiessen & Heike Hientzsch allow us snappers to catch up with what's happening with the team and life away from F1. This year was slightly different as only two weeks ago BMW announced that they will be withdrawing from F1 at the end of the season. I always like to chat with Mario about F1 and what's happening with the sport as I find him engaging and honest in his appraisal of current events. This year was no exception, even though I know he is deeply upset by BMW's withdrawal he was still able to enjoy the evening and share some time with the photographers. His guarded approach to the future was understandable, his main priority being the welfare of his employees. Lets hope a buyer can be found for this friendly team. Thank you again to Mario and Heike for a lovely evening.

As we all prepared to pack up and leave for home on Sunday night, the news filtered through that Nelson Piquet had intentionally crashed his car last year in Singapore to enable his team mate Fernando Alonso to take the team's first win of the season. The source is unknown, but you don't need to be Sherlock to work out where the story may have come from. If the FIA find any wrongdoing, you can may well find that there will be more than BMW or even Toyota up for sale by the end of the year.

F1 could be looking very different next year...

To enjoy my pictures from the Belgium Grand Prix, please visit the formula 1 section of my website and select Belgium.

posted on 1st September 2009 12:00amview comments (1)leave a comment