Christian Hollmann is the Deputy Head of Sports at Germany’s leading news agency DPA and one of DPA’s four Formula 1 correspondents. This dedicated Formula 1 reporter tells us about his usual race day.
Start of the day: Depending on where the race is taking place I try to start the day not too late. Straight after getting out of bed and a shower I check the Internet and the papers if there are any new facts around. If there’s nothing too urgent I get some breakfast. As Sundays are always busy and tend to end quite late I try to make the breakfast count. There’s nothing worse than being hungry and in need of sugar later when you need to file the important stories of the day.
Off to the track: I try to be at the track roughly four hours before the start. If it’s a race in Asia I might arrive a little later because of the time difference to our German core market where no one expects any Formula One items on our wire service in the middle of the night. But if we are at a European track I need to get started right away after arriving at the media centre. Usually we send out a feature story before lunchtime so newspaper editors have something to play with. After that I take another stroll through the paddock, talk to a few colleagues, maybe grab another bite.
Final preparations: About 90 minutes before the start I read again through some vital statistics for the race and maybe prepare a few items for the different scenarios. This can save some time later on when you need to be as fast as possible with your stuff. Then it’s off to the grid where I try to get the latest impressions from the drivers, the engineers and whoever you bump into. These are always exciting minutes as the atmosphere is tense and full of adrenaline.
The race: During the race there’s not much to do for me really except watch the TV monitors in the media centre, the twitter feeds and the live blogs to gather as much information on the events on the track as possible. At home in the newsroom there’s always another colleague watching the race as well. He’s the one writing the first piece on the race with all the additional input I can give him. We do this to rule out any technical difficulties and to make sure the first story on the race is on the wire as fast as possible after the finish.
After the race: This is were it can get a bit hectic. I need to listen to the official press conferences of the winning drivers, get the drivers’ quotes in German and British TV, follow updates on Twitter and via press releases of the teams. Quite soon we need to decide which extra stories and interviews we want to file. If a race is in Asia I have a bit more time to write because of the time difference. At European races it’s just a matter of typing as fast as I can. The papers are waiting and if our competitors are faster than us with their extra material they will get in. So to work for a news agency is a bit like Formula One – it’s always down to speed and performance.