Technical Draft: In memory of Sunday morning warm-up

After three consecutive weeks of Formula 1 racing keeping me preoccupied, I found myself this morning outside in the shed organising some boxes in storage, at the behest of my beloved.

I opened a box of my own belongings labelled Mark 1990-1995, and there it was sitting right on top, my 1993 work diary.

Completely side-tracked from the briefing that Her Indoors gave me, I pulled up a chair and found myself overcome with memories of that year.

Now, I could very easily just sit here lamenting on the year that was 1993, for it truly was a wonderful year for me and for Formula 1 and was full of many wonderful memories, but I do not want to be someone caught in the past, not living in the day.

I found an entry at the start of November that I found oddly curious, and one that had me thinking about F1 today.

It was the run program for the 1993 Australian Grand Prix at that often forgotten, under-rated and wonderful venue, the Adelaide street circuit.

  • Fri 5/11: FP1 at 10:00-11:30 and Q1 13:00-14:00
  • Sat 6/11: FP2 1000-1130 and Q2 1300-1400
  • Sun 7/11: Morning Warm-up 0930-1000 and Race 14:00

I started wondering why the race weekend program has diverged from what it was.

Back then, there were 5 ½ hours of track time before the race, the biggest teams travelled with a staff of no more than 50, and even though there was no work curfew, the team members were always busy, but not to such a degree that they were overloaded.

There would be the odd night that had you arriving back at the hotel from the circuit at 5 am, but it was always the exception.

Fans attending the circuit on Friday and Saturday were entertained and engaged with qualifying on both days being just as important as each other because if it rained on Saturday, you needed to make sure you had banked a good position in Q1 on Friday.

But to me, the jewel in the crown was the Sunday morning warm-up.

The whole weekend was an engineering strategic game, FP1 and FP2 were both about chasing a qualy setup that worked well, but also the car would be sent out on fuller tanks, higher ride heights and trimmed wings to maximise race performance as well.

The exciting part was that there was no post qualy parc ferme, and on Sunday morning fans would swarm to the circuits early to catch the morning warm-up and catch that intriguing glimpse of who might have the race pace to win.

And yet in those days not only did F1 give more of the spectacle to the fans at the circuit on a race weekend, but it was also so much more accessible to them as well.

An F1 fan back then could buy a pass that allowed them access to the F1 paddock for a set period of time, whereas today the paddock is essentially the entitlement of team members and high-profile celebrities only.

As we enjoy our weekend of no F1 we also anticipate the very first sprint qualifying race at next weekends British Grand Prix, an innovation being implemented because the powers that be suppose that the show needs spicing up.

The show was once great, it did not need spicing up, and then they fiddled…

As I closed my diary and placed it back in that box, I sighed and smiled, until I remembered what I was supposed to be out there doing.