Formula 1 Insight

Garcia in Monaco

Yesterday I received a slim package in the mail from Garcia, my man in Barcelona. This turned out to be a few photographs with notes included to explain them. It seems that Garcia did indeed attend the race weekend in Monaco and he thought I might like to see some of the pictures he took with his cell phone. Now, my Spanish friend is not exactly the world's greatest photographer and it was just as well he included notes to each of them; you will see why as you read further. He also seems at pains to convince me that he really was in Monaco, which makes me a little suspicious; probably, the truth is that he was holed up in some dive in Marseilles, sampling the local vintage. But I will let you decide for yourselves - on with the exhibition!

La Rascasse

Hey Boss, I made it to Monaco and took a load of photos for you. I know you always have doubts about me and I thought this would be a great way to prove that I really was there. Take a look at this one - see where it says La Rascasse? Can't argue with that, can you? Think about it - I was at La Rascasse! Oh, and sorry about the stain, it got some wine spilled on it somehow, don't ask, it's a long story.

Monaco yachts

I went down to the harbor then and got a great shot of all the yachts. You probably won't spot her but there's a hot senorita sunbathing topless on that one just to left of center. Yeah, you'll probably not find her - I dropped the photo in some paella and it doesn't seem to have taken too kindly to such treatment. Oh well.

Monaco grandstand

And what's this I hear about the crowd numbers being down? I took this shot of a grandstand and it was pretty full, if you ask me. I know, I know, it's a bit blurred but Alfonso jogged my arm just as I was taking it. What can I say? Hardly my fault...

Monaco Alonso

You'll never guess what happened then. I was wandering around, feeling a bit lost and this guy suddenly calls out to me. "Ay, Garcia," he yells and I turn round to find it's my old compadre, Fernando. I knew you wouldn't believe me so I got him to pose for a few shots and one of them came out. I think I had the thing on Zoom because all I got was his elbow - but that really is Alonso's elbow leaning on the guardrail, honest. Trust me, Boss, I tell no lie.

Flavio Briatore

Anyway, Fernando takes me down to the pits and introduces me to all the Renault guys. I met Flavio too and he let me take a pic. Seems I was standing too close but that's the Briatore ear and a bunch of hair. Now that one you can't deny. Garcia gets the scoop again! I had to tear the corner off when I needed some paper to write a senorita's phone number on. Sorry about that but everyone has their priorities, right?

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot - I took some photos of the race but none of them came out, just blurry things or bits of road. Those darn things move fast, don't they? Anyway, I did manage to salvage one but it was just a wheel:

Renault wheel

That's on Fernando's car, that is. One thing I don't understand - why do Renault buy wheels from Australia? Or maybe it's just the hub caps they get there. Still seems a bit odd to me, unless they bought a whole batch of them while they were in Melbourne.

Anyway, that's about it. Sorry about no race report but I got waylaid after the first few laps by some old friends and they dragged me off to some bar down a back street. I tried to tell 'em but they wouldn't listen. Could still hear the cars though. You'd have loved it, Boss.

Your faithful agent and Man in Barcelona, Garcia.


Pink Peril
I have my doubts too Clive, but never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

And that was a good one - if I am ever in Barcelona I'll look up this Garcia bloke for a beer. Sounds like it'd be one hell of a night !
Date Added: 28/05/2009

You're a brave lady, Peril. Not many would dare to spend a night with Garcia!
Date Added: 28/05/2009

As a photographer, I am a little suspisious of garcias story. Why did he send you the pictures via mail instead of simply emailing them to you? Also you have to get quite close with one of those camera phones to zoom in that much! Shame you don't have the digital files as you could at least verify the date taken and the exif data would reveal what camera model took the images...

However lets not be too harsh on him as he is funny and clearly lightens up your day. I would love to see more stories from Garcia whether they are made up or real does not really matter, after all the FIA make up the rules as they go along so why not have made up stories.
Date Added: 28/05/2009

Ah, there you have it, Lee; it is the very unpredictability of Garcia that leads us inevitably to doubt his veracity and even, sometimes, his actual existence. It would be so much less trouble in this day and age to email the pics, just as you say, and yet Garcia's sudden departure from his usual pattern of electronic communications is actually quite typical of him.

Mostly, he emails his reports to me but I have also known him to message them through Yahoo or Facebook, to appear without warning in Gmail chat and rattle off a brief summary of a race (or, more often, his excuses for being in a bar at the time) and even, once, a battered envelope delivered by an alleged friend of his (Julio Something, if I recall correctly) who appeared at my door, claiming that he was going to Boston anyway and so had offered to transmit Garcia's latest. These being the first photos I have ever received from him, I wait to see whether more will be sent after future races and by what communication method they will be sent. Life is nothing if not interesting with Garcia around.

As to the exact make and model of camera phone used by Garcia in capturing these magic moments, I am fairly sure that they were not taken by such a low resolution device at all. Knowing Garcia, I reckon that he has bought himself a high end SLR with all the latest gadgets and is so embarrassed by his poor results that he has chosen to blame them on some imaginary equipment. This might also be the reason for him sending prints rather than converting them into digital form; he is not very computer savvy and would have no idea how to accomplish such a feat.

In the end, I can only hope that Garcia's reports lighten your day too, as I confess to a feeling of excited anticipation whenever one of his missives arrives. They are sporadic, it is true, but that somehow adds to the delightful experience of receiving one at last.
Date Added: 28/05/2009

Think of them as highly stylized, Garcia's distinct photographic signature. Funny though,the quality of that yacht /harbour photo looks suspiciously akin to one I shot of Alonso's victory lap in Shanghai last year...I wasn't actually in Shanghai, so I took a picture of Speed's picture from Alonso's onboard. But, best not ask about the methods of artistic (ahem) genious.

Date Added: 28/05/2009

or poetic license genius.
Date Added: 28/05/2009

You may be right, Vera - the pics are certainly unique in some respects and reflect quite accurately the flamboyant and erratic character that is Garcia. Perhaps I should be a little kinder on his efforts in future and appreciate that we are watching an artist at work.

On second thoughts, that may not be such a good idea. He might decide to rest on his laurels...
Date Added: 28/05/2009

Björn Svensson
Almost laughing my head in pieces, i enjoyed every bit about this post. Thank you Clive, and thank you Garcia.

This is a great piece of humour here, please let us know about his upcoming reports Clive.
Date Added: 29/05/2009

Björn: The F1 scene is so doomladen at times that it does us good to have a laugh now and then, I think. I have come to realise that, as dubious as Garcia's reports are, they have a niche to fill in the field of entertainment and we will be seeing many more of his efforts from now on.

Thank you for your kind comments, Björn, they are much appreciated and I am sure Garcia too will be gratified upon reading them.
Date Added: 29/05/2009

Steven Roy
I hope Garcia finds a way to send you more Updates. Very few people are capable of such an original take on F1. It would be a shame if he did not share his experiences more often.

What does he do between races?
Date Added: 30/05/2009

Steven: Garcia advises me that he is hitching a ride over to Istanbul with the Renault team and so will be at the race this weekend. Whether he is able to see anything through what I have no doubt will be hangover-laden eyes remains to be seen, of course, and the writing of a report is bound to be a hit-and-miss affair too. We shall know in time, I suppose.

As to what Garcia does between races, no one knows for sure, although I would be prepared to bet that most of it happens in unsavoury bars and houses of ill repute. There is a current whisper that he is the originator of most of the F1-related rumours in the Spanish press but I have grave doubts on that one. He is just not that prolific.
Date Added: 01/06/2009

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