Alastair's Blog

Behind the Wheel - Student Radio Documentary

- Thursday, May 29, 2014

Earlier this year I had a visit from two students, Sean Terry and Richard Anderson, who are attending Sunderland University. As part of their final year thesis they were producing a radio documentary on F1 and came over to my house to interview me and get words direct from the horse's mouth - so to speak!

Great production and includes interviews with a host of people in F1 across the years. Interesting approach that they took looking not just at the rigours of F1 but the effect on personal and family life.

You can hear it by clicking below and go to their SoundCloud page by clicking on the link below the image.


 Read the background for this project by clicking here

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Thanks to Maureen at Insight Group Marketing for arranging and coordinating the interview and to Sean and Richard for coming along and including me in their radio documentary - good luck with your final year exams! 


RUSH in name and reality!

- Monday, September 02, 2013

When I found out that RUSH was being released in September I didn't realise that I'd also be rushing round everywhere as the promotion bandwagon rolled into town. Interviews, previews, premieres, the list is endless and so much fun.

Last Thursday, 29th, I went to London to do the Racers Edge Q&A session with Peter Windsor and saw Rush for the first time. Amazing how it all comes together and it seems so long since I had been 'on-set' with the mocked up McLaren pits and meeting with Ron Howard, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl at Blackbushe airfield in Surrey.

I'll also be meeting up with Stephen Mangan who plays me in the film - what a job he had as I was on set while they filmed his parts and of course I put him straight as to how to say things and what to do - he had a tough job!

It's always hard to view a Hollywood entertainment film without looking at all the details and I found myself focusing too much on the technicalities, a lot of which they couldn't match to what it was really like - after all it's a film for entertainment not a technical documentary! But tonight I'll be able to relax and watch it for entertainment as I'm at Leicester Square at the Premiere.

You can see me in it if you look carefully as an FIA official complete with moustache but don't blink or you will miss me!

At the Racer's Edge Q&A session I was joined by Tom Hunt, James' son. A very emotional time for him, but also a great time for celebrating his father in F1 and for me to remember the pain and heartache I went through trying to control his father!

I'm not sure if I'll have time to tweet any images from the premiere tonight, so might be tomorrow.

Remember you can book tickets in the UK to see RUSH on the film's Facebook page.

I'll try to post some more information on RUSH here or on my Facebook page over the coming days.


Keep following here and on my social media channels – updates coming when I can get time.

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A Few of my Favourite Things - Mike Read - BBC Radio interview

- Thursday, February 28, 2013

I had a great time yesterday when I visited BBC Radio Berkshire and chatted with the DJ Mike Read on his feature 'A Few of my Favourite Things'. You can listen to the interview on BBC iPlayer (the interview starts about 2 hours and 6 minutes in, straight after The Electric Light Orchestra's Livin' Thing).

Mike obviously knows his stuff when it comes to music but he also has a keen interest in cars which came out as we discussed my F1 career, McLaren and James Hunt - who Mike had met several times in James' heyday and we recalled his 'lively approach'!

It was also good to reminisce about music, books and TV shows as we ran through some of my favourite things:

» my favourite song - The Beatles, Yesterday, and my memories of George Harrison, a motor enthusiast
» my favourite TV show - Fawlty Towers - John Cleese, a genius,  playing it straight and still funny after all these years
» my favourite film, Pulp Fiction - a great film with all the emotions and action in one place
» my favourite book - Catch 22, a great book - the last line made me laugh for weeks - read it to find out why!

Mike also quizzed me about the release of Rush in September this year. Can't wait to see the final film and watch Chris Hemsworth playing James Hunt and of course Stephen Mangan who is playing me in the film. But as I talk about what I've done and achieved it's still great to know that I was the first person to see the importance of self storage in the UK when I started Space Station Self Storage all those years ago. Now with storage locations along the M4 corridor it still fills me with pride when I look at the success we've had.


Listen to the full BBC interview with Mike Read here.
The interview starts about 2 hours and 6 minutes in, straight after The Electric Light Orchestra's Livin' Thing.



Rush The Movie, James Hunt and Me

- Thursday, February 07, 2013

The January 24th edition of Autosport ran a series of features on James Hunt, F1, McLaren, Ron Howard's movie, Rush, which is released in the UK September 2013 and a full page feature on me and 'The Race of my Life'. All of these features  gave me a chance to revisit some glorious, funny and outrageous moments during my career. Head over to Autosport to read more.

The article on James bought back many outrageous memories - because when James and I were together it often got out of hand!. It gave me a chance to share a couple of the more amusing moments with James being James! It also reminded me about the hard work required to recall and draft a recollection of memories. I'm just in the middle of producing a book about my motor racing career, which of course will include a lot more stories about James. Make sure you post a comment at the bottom of this article with your details and when we have more news I'll let you know. It will be a great read full of lots of 'can't miss' stories!

And finally when you pick up your digital or newstand edition of Autosport don't miss the full page article on page 90 'Final Drive - Race of my Life'. It's all about the Japanese GP at Fuji on October 24th 1976 where James needed to finish third to win the F1 championship. It was run in appalling conditions and James' refusal to read the race boards caused endless amounts of 'Pit Rage'!


Back with the Oily Rags at Fressingfield

- Thursday, February 07, 2013

The FROC poster announcing my chatJust before I went off to India to take part in ROARR Classic India 2013 touring event I was fortunate enough to be invited to  speak at the FORC (Fressingfield Oily Rag Club). 

I started my motoring carer as an 'oily rag' (mechanic) much against my father's wishes, but eventually with his help! During my career I have had various mechanic roles most intended and others essential when I needed to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty as a race mechanic as, I did for the 1968 CanAm.

I know - against Emerson I look like Peter Fonda!So it was great to be among such a glorious group of historic racing enthusiasts at FORC meeting everyone on the evening was marvellous and I had a great evening regaling my time managing the McLaren F1 team, sharing lots of stories from the 70s about the characters - James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Emerson Fittipaldi and of course some amusing gems about Bernie Ecclestone.

It was also good to share my experiences as a 'consultant' on Ron Howard's new movie RUSH - which I might also appear in, if I don't end up on the cutting room floor!

Rush is a gWith James Hunt - good memories for Ron Howard's RUSHreat film covering the period in Formula 1 when champion driver Niki Lauda had his terrible crash in 1976 in which he almost died. And the incredible story of how just weeks after the accident, his competitive spirit had him right back behind the wheel to challenge my driver, James Hunt. A brilliant time of my career and one of the most exciting seasons I have experienced. Look out for the UK release in September 2013.

I had the opportunity to share a lot of my visual memories as well. having recently sorted through my vast collection of photographs I was able to use many of these with the FORC folks. This one with James and one of our 'discussions' about how the race should be run. I don't remember the exact details of this discussion but knowing James he did what he wanted anyway!

My thanks to Steve Wyatt, Chairman and Organiser, who kindly invited me and now includes me on his roll of honour. Also thanks to everyone that came along, listened and laughed along with me - it was a great night!


  Strange but F1 won't let you smoke in the cars today!     'Space Station Self Storage' my pride and joy - try it out!     James Hunt and me discussing tactics - again!  




When Anne met Alastair

- Thursday, October 04, 2012

If you are a listener of Anne Diamond’s BBC Radio Berkshire show, you may have heard her chatting recently with Alastair Caldwell, the founder of Space Station. During his conversation with the TV and radio legend, Alastair talked car racing, movie making and, of course, self storage.

It is not long since Alastair returned from completing the month-long Trans-America car rally, and Anne was keen to hear about his amazing adventure. The journey took the competitors from New York on the east coast, through some of North America’s most spectacular scenery, to the freezing north-west coast of Alaska. As is typical of Alastair, rather than relying on modern motoring technology to help him on his journey, he chose to complete the endurance challenge in style, driving a 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. Oh, and, like any good son, he also took his 94 year old mother along for the ride too! To Anne’s astonishment, Alastair explained that, in total, the pair travelled a staggering 18,000 miles. 

As Alastair reminisced about his time leading the Maclaren Formula One racing team in the 1970s, Anne asked how a boy from New Zealand, with little in the way of qualifications, could rise to such an enviable position. From Alastair’s answer it was clear that it was sheer drive, determination and a passion for the job that took him to the top of his field.

As Anne and Alastair chatted about all things motor racing, the listeners may have been wondering if this is the same guy that owns and runs Space Station, the longest established self storage company in the UK. But then it all started to make sense. Alastair explained how he had first encountered the concept of self storage in Long Beach, California. He used the facility to store his Grand Prix car. At that moment a lightbulb went on in Alastair’s head and he could see the future. Starting in 1983, with rows of painted shipping containers, Alastair became the first person in Britain to offer that kind of self storage facility. Once again, that same drive, determination and a passion for the job meant that Alastair found himself in pole position in a whole new industry.

If Alastair’s life reads like the script of a Hollywood movie, it is appropriate that he was sought out by top Hollywood director, Ron Howard, to advise on the making of his new film, Rush, about the heyday of Formula One. After chatting with Anne about this unexpected turn in his career, Alastair mentioned that his next trip would be down the red carpet, at the film’s first screening.

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