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Vote for the Climber of the Year in F1 2019! Started 16.3.2018/Finish 31.1.2020
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Titulní obrázek

Story - 15th jubilee award for Nico Hülkenberg, Renault F1 team .



This year's negotiations about the presenting ceremony of the cups for the Climber of the Year in F1 was very dramatic at first, pretty successful and cordial in the end though. We would like to express our thanks to the team, its Junior Press Officer James Lloyd and his colleagues.

As we have no FIA accreditation for F1, it is always important for us whether we can obtain it from the winning driver's team. We seem to have been lucky in this respect in recent years. This year, however, was quite difficult. Having contacted the team in July, nothing much happened for a long time. After about a month we got an email, saying basically they were ok with accepting the cups and asking about our accreditation. The reaction to our negative reply was a subsequent polite refusal. 

The personal handing over of the trophy is very important for the survival of the poll, especially the photos for our 'sponsors', supporters and media partners. Without this, the poll, which has been running for sixteen years and reached popularity worldwide, would have to end. The email was a shock to me, the cups from Podebrady's Glassworks were ready, certificates signed and I was sitting home in my study, not giving up just yet. I sent another email, explaining the situation in detail, even if email may not be my preferred way of communication, there was no other way. I prayed to God, that the team might find at least one hour for us and award us VIP passes. Other people might have given up at that point, not me however, I don't give up easily and motorsport journalists know this and offen cross their fingers for me and the presenting ceremony to be successful. We received another email, asking if Thursday before the Hungarian GP would suit us. I replied it would and refused to believe before I got a reliable confirmation.

On Wednesday 31 July we got a email inviting us to come on Thursday 1 August to be picked up by someone from Renault F1 at the main gate of Hungarian circuit at 3.30pm. We got some phone numbers and my wife and me started to pack. Having done these trips to Hungarian GP before, we have developed a routine. The highway stamps for Slovakia and Hungary always put the costs up a bit, Germany would be cheaper. I had bought the stamps at UAMK. We always carry some extra photo books on Prague, always in the winning driver's native language and also in English for the team. Every year I buy the books in Akademia bookstore at Wenceslas Square. 

We start at 4.45am in our Honda Civic 5D bought at Auto Jarov. We set off from Unhost, our destination Magyorod - Hungaroring, the parking field on side of the main gate. The temperature in Unhost in the morning was 24 degrees Celsius, 28 in Slovakia, 30 in Budapest and it reached 31 degrees at Hungaroring.

We stop on the way to refuel at Shell in Breclav. The price for 98 fuel climbs to 39.90,- CZK. It should take us there and back to the Czech Republic. The consumption on the way there is 5.6 l / 100 km, average speed about 110/120 kph, no rush.

The mess at Hungarian petrol stations is unbelievable, we move on with only one break.

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We leave our car about 5 min from the main gate at the upper field exectly at 1.15 pm, get a little snack from our cooling bag and take a walk around the stalls to take in some Grand Prix atmosphere. We spend some Euro on small gifts for our grand daughters, there's no local food around, I was looking forward to some Hungarian sausage. The queue at the ticket office stands in six lines and stretches about 300 m.

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We return to our parking lot and wait about 3/4 of an hour under a huge sun umbrella, there's no shade anywhere. Even though I lost 8 kilograms compared with the last year, still two T-shirts are not enough. The way here was ok though, thanks to the air conditioning.

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As usually, we're spot on time, clothes changed, the Bohemia Crystal, a.s. cups ready, we are standing at the main gate at 3.20. Nobody can speak any English around, until some younger bloke explains in English that the main gate has been moved and he is not letting us through without a pass.

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 We call James at 3.25 and text him our location. At 15.30 a grey Renault Espace appears which we wave at. He stops and a bearded type welcomes us with a cordial "Dobry den" in Czech language. We get two VIP passes. We load the heavy cups into the car and head for the circuit.

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We leave the car at the parking lot under the circuit and walk about 200 m to the main entrance, where we get in thanks to the VIP pass. James Lloyd, a Junior Press Officer, welcomes us warmly in the Renault F1 motorhome. He is wondering what's in our bags, we unpack both cups and show them around, the surprise is overwhelming. A group of people forms around us, some photographer, we're offered coffee and water. Everything is set for the handing over, we get some outline of the schedule, which is met precisly, starting at 4pm when Nico Hülkenberg appears. We introduce ourselves, shake hands, explain our background to him. We present one of the cups to him, the other, for the team, is accepted by James Lloyd, his colleagues Laura Giant and Lionel Richay (the one who picked us up at the gate). The people around smile pleasantly and applaud. James lifts the heavy cup over his head, photos are taken. Daniel Ricciardo is also present, with whom I greet too.

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When everything's finished, my good friend Jiri Krenek appears, it's a pleasant surprise, we come back with him, he greets the photographer, his name's Geoffrey Moist, they know each other well. He takes our photos too, they all ask about our home, we talk about Unhost, we give aways the books on Prague and Czech cooking books.

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James informs us that the paddock is open till 5 pm for us, which is super. My wife takes a break in the park, I stroll the paddock up and down, shake hands with literally running Kimi, meet other F1 managers who know me. There's a press conference at Mercedes AMG Petronas F1, photographers come out of the door, TV and others stay behind. As quiet as a mouse I sneak in to the press conference of Lewis Hamilton. I am the only one in  suit, so I stick out, not only because of my bulk, but also because of my Muscle&Fitness T-shirt. Bradley Lord notices me at one point and gives me a friendly nod. It's really pleasant. Lewis notices it and looks at me. I come back to Renault F1 after some time. I believe I will be able to get a FIA accreditation next year and stay for the whole weekend.

At 5pm we meet James again, he takes us to the garage, where taking photos isn't allowed. We see the F1 cars at various stages of disassembly, he shows us everything, control panels, all the background. Saying good bye, James takes us back to the turniquets, where we return the VIP passes. We head to Budapest at 5.35 pm, it takes about one hour to get through the city.

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Then we continue non-stop through Hungary, Slovakia and back to the Czech Republic, where we are in about 3 hours. Our Honda Civic revving between 4,500 - 4,800, the gauge often licking 5,000 rpm. We stop in Breclav, refuel and reach our home in Unhost 00.07 on Friday.

The drive on D1 was the worst part, 6 road works on the way there, but pretty long. Nobody was working at 6am, once we saw 6 workers just standing, probably having a meeting. On the way back we saw 8 road works, whereas  in two cases, there was a limitation within another limitation. The road signs at the begining of the parts under construction were a puzzle. To whoever prepared them, I would recommend to give it a try and negotiate the highway when it gets dark. It wasn't only me, but also the cars in front of me seemed to have trouble to find the right way. Obviously, changing the Minister of Transport didn't help, the gist of the matter - the worker's attitude didn't change at all. To put it simply, nobody does anything there!

In conclusion, I would like to thank Renault F1 team, especially James Lloyd, who kept the precisely organized schedule to the minute. I believe his manager's career in Formula 1 will soar soon. Many thanks to all in Renault F1 team, both for their hearty welcome and fantastic experience.



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