• The Inside Line

The end of times

Kate Walker November 23, 2013
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The F1 paddock is a working environment full of contrasts, packed full of hard-working expert professionals with an unparalleled level of dedication in terms of performing their designated role to the best of their abilities. It is a competition, after all.

But something about Formula One attracts oddballs and weirdos - you have to be slightly unhinged to want to spend so many hours on an airplane, after all, fleeing friends and family from March to November. Like those ghastly '80s office posters used to say, 'you don't have to be crazy to work here, but it helps'.

Over the past few races, the crazy has come to the forefront, with both championships done and dusted many moons ago. Competition still persists, as there's still the rest of the order in both drivers' and constructors' standings to be worked out, but in between all of the hard work one can find an anarchic spirit, a paddock full of pranks and juvenile behaviour as we work through the stress of the past eight months.

For years, the Brazilian Grand Prix has been famed - inside the paddock - for its high spirits, for the caipirinha-fuelled food fights that take place after hours in the churrascarias of Sao Paulo, and of the wild nights out in nightclubs of very ill repute. Even when the title has yet to be decided, Brazil is where the paddock lets its hair down in regrettable (and rarely memorable) style.

This year, however, playtime has come to the fore. With endless rain pre-determining a lack of running (those wet weather tyres need preserving for the race, after all) the small group of permanent media still following the season to the bitter end have suffered more hangovers than would be deemed strictly professional earlier in the year, accompanied on their cachaca-driven adventures by well-known faces deliberately out of uniform.

Where the last race of the season typically takes on a last day of school atmosphere, the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix has been rather more fin de siècle. As, indeed, it is. We are bidding farewell to the V8 era, and rumour has it that all of the 22 engines that survive Sunday's race will be blown up in unison after the podium.

The 2013 Formula One season is going out with a bang, and taking the V8s with it.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'.
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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'.