McNish Diary 9 June 2003 - Business and Pleasure Following on from my last diary item where I had been testing at Paul Ricard I returned to Monaco for some serious fitness training with the other Renault drivers. My team boss Flavio Briatore ...
McNish Diary 9 June 2003 - Business and Pleasure
Following on from my last diary item where I had been testing at Paul Ricard I returned to Monaco for some serious fitness training with the other Renault drivers. My team boss Flavio Briatore usually hosts an intensive fitness training camp at his base in Kenya at the end of each year but I wasn't there last December as I had yet to sign with the team. I made up for it this time though!
We started off with a 55km cycle run. The problem with living in Monaco is that to get out of the place you have to head uphill and believe me we did! We cycled to Nice and back with the first leg of our journey comprising of 5km straight uphill! From there we played some tennis and concentrated on neck exercises as well as the usual training routine over the course of the next few days.
Our trainers Fabrizio and Eduardo pushed us all pretty hard before going on to sample some white water rafting last Sunday. The theory is that it's good exercise; my theory is that it's terrifying! There was quite a lot of paddling to be done and you have to listen really hard to your guide for directions in order to follow the line on the water. It was all very technical and you have to keep your wits about you but it was good fun and we enjoyed a bit of a race.
On Tuesday in Monaco the annual football match between current and old drivers took place at the Monte Carlo stadium. I wasn't participating this time round but I've been told I'll be taking part in the next one. There was a good mix of people there including Michael Schumacher and Prince Albert of Monaco. I have to say that Giancarlo Fisichella scored a fantastic goal. Might be me next year!
The next night I had dinner on Flavio's boat, but I think the real reason we were there was to watch the Champions League Final between AC Milan and Juventus. There was quite a crowd of us there including Jarno and Fernando, Giancarlo Fisichella and bike star Max Biaggi as well as a certain Mr Ecclestone! Flavio is an ardent Juventus fan and unfortunately they lost the final on penalties and at that point I felt it was time to leave. Needless to say Flavio wasn't particularly happy the next day but I had a great night and it was all very relaxing.
On Thursday I had my usual two hours in the R23. The layout of the street circuit had changed slightly since I raced there last season. Ste. Devote is a little more open with a false kerb now in place. The second part of the swimming pool complex has changed and Rascasse is more open as well. I preferred the old configuration though; it was a little more challenging.
During my two-hour run I worked on a major tyre comparison with a 20 lap run at the end once we had worked out the necessary information on the tyres. I enjoyed being back on the circuit and the car was fairly well balanced. We had to calm it down a little when the track was still green but I was at the top of the time sheets before I started my long run.
I seem to go well at Monaco for whatever reason and on the Thursday I completed 56 laps before going on to my other duties with the team, mainly on the PR and marketing side as well as keeping up to date on the other sessions with Jarno and Fernando.
On Thursday night I attended the WHSF Art Vernissage, which you can read more about in the latest news section of this site and in the Monaco gallery. I went directly from there to a function with JP Tours. They bring guests from the U.S. to races and I gave them the low-down on racing and living in Monaco. From there it was back to my apartment and a takeaway pizza!
Not a great deal happens on the Friday at the Grand Prix. I popped in to see the team and from there caught up with some friends who were in town for the race. Stanley, one of my old sponsors from Sco-Fro was visiting and we had dinner together in the evening, which was good fun. On Saturday I did my bit for TV and again with ITV on the Sunday.
The race was a bit disappointing for Renault, as we had hoped to be closer to the front. I guess it was the usual variances of Monaco but we picked up more points with both cars finishing in the top eight. Once the track action was over the party action started! The majority of drivers and sponsors all headed to The Amber Lounge, which was organized by Eddie Irvine's sister, Sonia.
It's a big club that's only open during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend and it was like a who's who of the racing business. Not to mention a party refuge for a large portion of the Brazilian community with Barrichello, Zonta and da Matta partying alongside footballer Ronaldo. It was a great way to relax and everyone let their hair down. It was a very late night, or should I say it was a very early morning? Either way we all had a great time.
I took it fairly easy on Monday and Tuesday before starting preparations for heading to Canada this week. I was hoping to go to the Silverstone test, I wasn't due to run but wanted to be there anyway but an air traffic strike in France put paid to that plan. I'm actually heading to Canada on Monday to avoid another strike on Tuesday!
All in all the past week and a bit has been pretty busy with a real mixture of business and pleasure. I was pleased with my performance in the car on Thursday in Monaco and can't wait to be back behind the wheel in Canada.