Very little is known about the dark art of sponsorship by the average fan, and consequentially its importance to the sport is downplayed by most. But, if you don't have the money, you don't go racing - it really is as simple as that. The marketing departments of the ten teams in Formula One are the most vital components because they get the money, and everything else flows on from there. Atlas F1 needed an expert to make it all clear, to teach us all there is to know about the art of selling. It had to be Jim Wright.
I'd been looking forward to Silverstone for a while, because I was getting a bit tired of driving to the Grands Prix - it started off as an adventure, a fun way to get to and from the race as well as see a bit of the continent, but in reality it meant a lot of hours staring at a freeway, which is somewhat limited as a mode of entertainment. If Barcelona was this late in the season, I might have bagged it rather than hit the road again.
But Silverstone meant a flight, and as no driving was required of me I was raring to go. So of course, it was inevitable that a car would hit me after getting out of the cab at the station. Continue
Do you wake up happy every day? Are you glad to go to work knowing that it's what you really want to do, and secure in the knowledge that those who employ you are glad to have you? Mike Gascoyne, the technical director of Renault's F1 team, does.
Thereafter we all got exceedingly drunk, and attempted serious small-talk with the team chiefs while the TV screens behind the tables aired Eurosport's World Rally Championship coverage of the weekend, followed by the World's Strongest Man competition.
"This is silly," someone said, looking at the TV. "Lots of fat men carrying things that are too heavy."
"Ove," I turned to Toyota's sporting director, Ove Andersson, "why is it always Scandinavian men in this contest?"
"Because we are very strong," Ove replied.
"But why?" I maintained.
"Because in winter all we do is have sex and drink. In summer we don't drink," he stated, finishing off another glass of wine. Continue
"Nice and easy," I told him. "No interview - I'm just going to show you a few photos and see what you've got to say about them." The first photo put a wide smile on his face, one that stayed in place as he flicked through photos drawn from across his career. And then he started to talk...
The podiums came, and then the wins, but what most people will remember from his long career is the sheer love of life that was manifest in everything he did. His sense of humour is legendary - from the stunts like sneaking into the Brabham pit to deface pictures of Nelson Piquet; to throwing the keys of Ayrton Senna's car out the window while they were driving to Monza (which necessitated a helicopter to extricate them from the fans mobbing their car); to filling Senna's bed with frogs. Each of these stunts were met by those around him with a wry chuckle, a rolling of their eyes and a comment along the lines of "oh, that's just Gerhard".