Ciao Bella: Part 1 – Italian F1 GP, V.Rossi's GP bike, Alfa Giulia and Magneti Marelli stuff!
I started my part-time freelance automotive journalist venture back in 2000 with european car, a great automotive print magazine dedicated to all four-wheeled things European. It was my favorite car magazine. After all, my first three cars were a ‘75 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT , ‘83 GTV-6 and an ‘86 GTV-6. Much to my excitement, european car magazine even had a Project Alfa GTV-6! I remembered meeting the owner and his car at the shop I used to frequent (okay, I lived there) in Laguna Hills, CA when I was 16. He was like a movie star to me.
Upon graduating college, I hooted and hollered to then-EC editors Greg Brown and Les Bidrawn for an interview—plainly ignoring any other offers I was getting with my business degree. Even my worried wife was asking if I shouldn’t at least entertain the “other” offers but I refused. Finally, after over four months of this (true story), the guys gave in to my repeated harassment.
Since that day, I’ve had the pleasure of helping out known magazines like eurotuner and turbo and high-tech performance Magazine (that’s where Project Supra had started). Working in the offices of this McMullen Argus group of rags (McMullen Argus later sold to Primedia, and then Source Interlink bought Primedia), where I got to meet and sometimes work with guys like current MotoIQ writer Dave Coleman and the rest of the gang at Sport Compact Car.
While those magazines are no longer, I still manage to do a thing or two for european car. Today, it’s even got more Facebook likes than Road & Track and Motor Trend combined! Aside from being around some of the coolest cars, probably the biggest perk is the occasional trip to Europe, and so when editor Michael Febbo called me up to go to Italy for an assignment, I hopped on the first buggy out of the Midwest the very next day! I also have to give a thank you to Victor Carillo, founder of the ID Agency, which does all the public relations in the USA for well-known companies like Brembo, Pirelli, Momo, and Kawasaki, to name a few.
I was invited to go for Brembo’s 40th anniversary in racing, and got to witness things like the Italian Grand Prix (where we also had access to the Magneti Marelli hospitality) as well as attend an AMG Academy track day at the Franciacorta test track outside Bergamo, Italy. While I won’t be able to discuss brakes (you can see that in european car soon), for our MotoIQ readers I managed to shoot several pictures of cools things I knew would not be pertinent to my upcoming article in EC.
At the Italian Grand Prix in Monza, Italy, all eyes were on 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel (who qualified a promising 2nd) to hunt down current points-leader and two-time World Champion, Lewis Hamilton in the menacing Mercedes F1 car. But as soon as the race started, all eyes (and cursing) were on Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen, who got a horrible start, leaving him in the dust of the rest of the pack!
This mishap proved to be the most interesting part of the race. Since we were seated at the Ascari turn #15, which is heavy under braking, we got to see a lot of Kimi’s passes as he clawed his way back to 5th place by the checkered flag. Every time Kimi passed someone, I was reminded of where Ferrari calls its home track.
The Italian Grand Prix is held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, and it is the fastest F1 racetrack with an average speed of over 160 MPH, and top speeds sometimes reaching an astonishing 220 MPH! That’s insane for a closed, non-oval track.
The Monza track was first used in 1922 and has been part of the Formula 1 calendar every year except for 1980, when Imola was used in its place. Sadly, given the new contracts offered to other venues throughout the world, this race I just attended could very well be the last Formula 1 race at Monza. Talks of removing Monza from the schedule for 2016 are rampant, and fans with “save Monza” could be seen throughout the venue.
Walking into the racetrack, you walk through what is essentially a park that turns into a forest. It’s very picturesque.
Walking to the entrance, we were greeted by a booth from none other than Alfa Romeo. If you read my intro, you know why I had to stop here. With the new Alfa Giulia on display, my jaw was to the floor.