Flying start for Firman

Ralph Firman's Grand Prix career got off to a flying start in Melbourne when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force 'Roulettes' formation aerobatic team on a high speed display over the Albert Park Circuit. Joining Squadron Leader Peter Robinson...

Ralph Firman's Grand Prix career got off to a flying start in Melbourne when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force 'Roulettes' formation aerobatic team on a high speed display over the Albert Park Circuit. Joining Squadron Leader Peter Robinson in one of the two-seater Pilatus PC9 training aircraft, Firman was treated to the ride of a life time including a 500km/h aerobratic tour of the circuit where he will make his Grand Prix debut for Jordan Ford on Sunday.

Ralph Firman.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
Firman's aircraft was one of three which flew in formation from Essendon Airport and, fully kitted out in his G-suit, he experienced numerous aerobatic manoevres before returning to terra ferma.

"It was absolutely terrific, a wonderful experience," said Firman afterwards. "We experience up to 4G in a Formula One car, but nothing like this and certainly not the negative G that you get in one of these aircraft. They certainly know how to handle these planes and the circuit looked great - although I seemed to spend most of the flight upside down!"

Wisely having avoided taking any breakfast before the flight, Firman suffered none of the embarrassing sickness which has befallen other guests and was clearly delighted with the experience.

Afterwards Firman joined team mate Giancarlo Fisichella, himself a former passenger of the Roulettes some four years ago, in attending the Melbourne Motor Show as a guest of Ford Australia. They were presented on the main Ford stand along with a line up of Ford drivers competing in Australia's premiere V8 championship including Craig Lowndes, Paul Radisich and Marcus Ambrose.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Ralph Firman , Craig Lowndes
Teams Jordan