March 11th, 2011 was a day of uncertainty. Mercedes GP were trying desperately to diminish the 1-second gap they had between the front runners, Williams was preparing their KERS for Melbourne and HRT sat another day of testing away from the track, firm on their decision to run first laps come Friday in Australia. The start to F1’s 2011 season had finally settled in nicely after the abrupt removal of the Bahrain GP, forcing teams and the FIA to reshuffle testing dates and scramble for a slot for Sakhir. And just like that, the F1 world and the entire world was hit with a wave of shock. Japan had been hit by an 8.9 earthquake causing a 10-meter tsunami to follow.
“My country has suffered an enormous catastrophe. The news is depressing and I’m very sad,” said Kamui Kobayashi, Japanese-born Sauber driver.
Jenson Button had also feared for his Japanese girlfriend Jessica, who was modelling in Tokyo. Japan is not only the home of the Sukuza and Fuji race circuits but also Bridgestone and Toyota brands. The paddock expressed their sadness and their affection to Japan, with Fernando Alonso summing it up best.
“Formula one and all its problems is way down the list of priorities,” said the Ferrari driver.
And I could not agree more. It is an event such as this that really puts everything else into perspective. We are trying to pin our heads together, working desperately to bring more overtaking to the sport and Japanese locals work desperately to save themselves.
Alex Wurz is to ask members of the GPDA to assist in any way possible.
That should get things going.
Jenson Button is constantly tweeting on who you can donate to help as well.