F1: An Evening with Peter Windsor
As many of you may know, I’ve been a fan of Peter Windsor’s work for some time. He’s been on all three sides of Formula One; On the outside as a fan, on the inside as an employee and as the in between as a reporter/journalist on F1 for the fans.
I respect Peter for all that he has accomplished in Formula One over the last 40 years. He has stories and experiences that many of us can’t even dream up. Imagine being a passenger in a road car with Gilles Villeneuve or Gerhard Berger rushing around Europe to or from a circuit where traffic laws become mere suggestions and where courage and a healthy bladder are assets.
Prior to the Canadian GP, I had traded a few emails with Peter in the hopes of being able to get together at some point. I wasn’t holding my breath, I know how busy everyone is during a GP weekend. After all, this is how they make a living and it’s not easy…glamorous and amazing yes, but not easy. On Saturday June 9th however, I got my golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I stood in amazement as I read an email from Peter inviting me to a speech he was giving for GP Tours.
I made my way to the event and arrived early. As I walked through the door, I looked to my right and saw Peter in the lounge, diligently working on his laptop, briefcase nearby and focused as always. I made my way to him and finally shook the hand of a man I have followed and admired for some time. He knew who I was immediately, complimented me on my blog and encouraged me to continue the “great work”. He gave me instructions to follow to the event and he disappeared.
I went up one floor to a large room, very ornate with lush carpets, elaborate drapes and beautiful crystal chandeliers. A large stage was set, there was an artist free hand painting enormous works of art. On the left Ayrton Senna’s McLaren, On the right Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and in the middle still unfinished, Bruno Senna’s Williams…a precursor to things to come. Tessa from GP Tours, seated us and we enjoyed dinner and a glass of fine wine.
During dinner, Peter hopped on stage and chatted with the intrigued audience. He paused to answer questions and give insight into matters that would not normally be discussed in a public forum but kept things professional and left it up to the audience to draw their own conclusion. He mentioned my blog and F1 poems, for which I’m very grateful. The audience was attentive, you could faintly hear a sound from glasses clanging or forks chiming on dinnerware. No one dare get up to go to the restroom. Completely captivated, the silence was broken only by laughter or applause.
As dinner wound down, Bruno Senna, nephew to the late great Ayrton Senna made his way into the room, greeted by a
warm welcome and an enthusiastic applause. It’s rare to see F1 drivers the evening before a race, especially at a fan function. Senna sat next to Peter on and chatted to us. Peter asked some questions of course and Bruno also took questions from the audience. He sat amongst us for about 30 minutes, and just as he quietly entered, he exited to a similar appreciative applause. Before departing however, he signed the painting of him in his Williams.
The event ended as Peter left, but he took the time to greet the audience, shake hands and take photos. I had a great time. I took it all in, enjoyed every minute of it, still unsure if it was all for real. With a happy heart and a smile on my face I stood next to Peter, thanked him for his encouragement, inspiration and guidance as my brother-in-law took our photo.
At this point it would be proper mention and greatly thank Tessa Bollmann of GP Tours, where their slogan is Without Us It’s Just A Race – Experience The Difference http://www.gptours.com (@GPTours) for their incredible hospitality. I highly recommend that you consider GP Tours when looking to book your next Formula One Grand Prix weekend. They truly do provide the fan with a very complete experience.
I would also like to personally acknowledge and thank Peter Windsor for his graciousness, efforts and kindness. Peter, you helped make my 21st Canadian GP unforgettable.
- Some of Peter’s Honors and Awards:
National Sports Reporter of the Year
BSME Writer of the Year
Feature Writer of the Year
Team Manager, Williams, 1992 F1 World Championship
Author: Ernie Black