When the lights turn green, you drive off looking for some confidence in the car. You finish your outlap and approach the start/finish-line. Brake, turn for apex, throttle. Maintain throttle through the quick uphill combination onto the long straight. Brake for the chicane and ninety degree corner downhill to the long and slow right-hander. Turn left, throttle, lift for the long left-leaning follow through.
Straight, brake for chicane, another short straight and brake for another right turn. Step on the gas through another right tu-
Your internal monologue is cut short as you try to shift up to fourth gear. It won’t engage. You press the button for the radio.
“Gearbox failure,” you notify your team with a voice that must sound exactly how you feel: dead on the inside. “Roger that, park the car,” your mechanic answers in a similar tone.
You find a fresh patch of grass next to the barrier to park your car. You take out the steering wheel and climb out of the car. You make sure to put back the steering wheel so the marshalls can take your car away and to avoid the fine. It takes a while for them to arrive, so you just wait for them while leaning over the barrier watching the other cars drive by.
After the debrief, you make your way through the hospitality section behind the garages looking for a bite to eat. The caterer has the usual healthy stuff. Begrudgingly, you shove the organic salad down your throat. You wonder whether the mechanics will be able to fit your car with a new gearbox in time for qualifying.