Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Autosport International 2009 took place in Birmingham this weekend, and there were plenty of famous faces there talking about the upcoming year in motorsport. Unfortunately, Formula 1 seemed to be highly unrepresented, with only David Coulthard, Anthony Davidson and Murray Walker the main names from the pinnacle of motorsport.
I'm not sure whether it's because Formula 1 is trying so hard to cut costs, or just the general economy, but there really weren't many F1 related stands either. In previous years, we've seen teams turn up with pit stop competitions, plus plenty of merchandise stands, new circuits and feeder series booths as well. This year there didn't seem to be as much going on.
Nevertheless, it was still a good day out. The Autosport Stage was the best part, with Henry Hope-Frost interviewing some of the attendees. We heard from Suzie Stoddart and Paul di Resta - both DTM drivers, with di Resta hoping to get a seat in F1 through McLaren. Murray Walker had a good chat, as did Martin Brundle and his son Alex, who has raced in Formula Palmer Audi.
Elsewhere, the F1 display, sponsored by F1 Racing, had a variety of cars. The majority of the grid was there, all except Honda. The McLaren car was hoisted onto a platform, as the car that won Lewis Hamilton the championship. Unfortunately, it had the green striped tyres that were part of the "Make Cars Geren" campaign at the Japanese Grand Prix. I say unfortunately, as they're not that good looking and make some of the photographs a bit disappointing.
There are plenty of motorsports in schools initiatives at the trade show, which is an admirable thing. The main event is a drag race for teams of children to design their own streamlined cars, which then rocket down a straight track. Times are noted and the fastest wins.
Elsewhere, the Live Action Arena is somewhere I still haven't been. Reports suggest that it is a popular event, with many cars showing off in front of the crowds. However, it is very loud, and taking pictures very difficult as it's so dark. I can honestly say that I'm not sure whether I'll go again next year. There'll need to be some real F1 involvement for me to want to attend, as this year there was little for the hard core F1 fan to get excited about.