A few weeks ago I received an email from Sky, asking me to join them for the live F1 show on the 21st March. Of course I couldn't turn it down and here is the story of what happened. (We weren't allowed to take photo's of certain areas or during the filming itself.)
Arriving at Sky Studio's in London itself was a challenge (as it's quite a long way from down here in Torquay!) The traffic was as to be expected in London and the sat-nav took us to the wrong place!
Once we arrived at the gates we were taken by security through to the welcome centre where we went through the relevant security checks as you would expect. We were give tea & coffee and got to watch some of the output from the SkyF1 channel at that particular time whilst we waited for the rehearsals to finish in the studio.
We were then led in groups into the studio and told where to stand so that everyone could see. For once being fairly short was a distinct advantage in getting to stand at the front, right next to the skypad!
Before the show started I got to talk to Ted Kravitz about Ricciardo's disqualification from the Australian GP and where he would have ended up had the team complied. They would have finished fifth', 'still more points than they've got now though right' I replied as Ted shook my hand and jumped upon to the stage as the countdown to being live had started.
'On the 5 second announcement - all start clapping' the floor manager announced as he counted down to the programmes start, as it was it had a VT, the title sequence and another VT before we were live in the studio.
Joining Ted and Natalie were Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert and Team Principle of the Marussia team Graeme Lowdon. Also Sky's very own Rachel Brookes was there and was taking care of the social vote (about the noise of the Formula One cars) which was a question I'd sent in to the production team prior to attendance. (When I was invited I was asked to send in any questions.)
During the show there were discussion which included the disqualification of Ricciardo, the progress of the 'new generation of F1' and the noise of the new Formula one cars. There was also a fitting tribute to Ayrton Senna on what would have been his 54th birthday. We also found out that the Marussia cars weren't ran at full speed due to 'complying to the regulations' implying that they were doing what Red Bull weren't in keeping to the FIA fuel flow sensor reading!
When the show ended it felt like it had gone very quickly, it certainly didn't feel like an hour. It was fantastic that all of the presenters and guests hung around for some photo's and a chat with the audience members.
I shook Johnny Herberts' hand whilst having a quick reminisce about the win at the British GP in 95. He was really kind and really enjoyed chatting to people. He even spoke to one of the audience member's parents on the phone who was apparently a big fan! A truely nice guy.
I then had a hug from Natalie who handed me her Mic and asked me to interview her. (for a photo pose of course) She was super kind and took time to get photo's with everyone who asked.
Ted probably had the biggest clamour around him for photo's. I got one and had a great chat with him for a while about his time at Exeter Uni and watching Exeter City play Torquay in the football. I never realised he had connections with the south west and it was a fantastic conversation. He was genuinely interested in what we had to say, about the area as well as the F1. Ted was very vocal about the Red Bull situation, provoking the audience for reaction by calling out 'Cheats' as the VT about them was being played and always talking to us during the breaks in the show to canvass opinion on subjects before squeezing them into the live segments of the show.
Graeme Lowdon was super patient as tried to take a poor selfie with him, My phone chose the worst day ever to play up! He was really open to chatting about the team and how much progress the team had made from last year.
Lastly I got to chat to Rachel Brookes who really did spend a lot of time with me chatting about all sorts of subjects. We discussed the noise of the new Formula One cars in which she said 'I love the sound.'
'In the first test we couldn't hear them at all and were really worried about it, but by the end of the last test they were crazy loud again, you certainly heard them before they came into sight' She also said that she didn't believe that any of the teams had fully turned up their power units to 100% yet..even Mercedes as the fight for reliability is coming first. We also had a chat about her job where she agreed that she has one of the best jobs in the world although sometimes she did need reminding with the jet-lag and very mad hours! After our long chat we were the last to leave, Rachel invited us back later in the year and we certainly hope to do exactly that!
So we had an amazing time at Sky Studio's. I have to thank them for the invite and I can't wait to go back again! If you haven't watched the show it can be seen here: (you will need to log in with your Sky ID)