Thursday, July 4, 2013

My weekend at Silverstone

On my blog as I have stated before this will be mainly dedicated to the footy world but occasionally will delve into other forms of the sporting stratosphere like this blog in which I am going to describe my Formula One weekend in Silverstone.

My weekend nearly never happened as I missed my scheduled bus up to the airport and had to get a later bus which I knew was going to be dicey as to whether I would make the flight or not. After several panicky phone calls and finger biting I did make it by the skin of my teeth and after calming down and a bit of slagging from my mates which was well deserved we settled in to my friends house out in rural Maidenhead and set out out a battle plan for the following day. My friends decided to stock up on sandwiches and other munchies which was a good idea which I copped for the following two days and our first early morning awaited us.

We were up about 7 in the morning to head for the track. Rain was the order for most of the day and the plan was over the next two days was to see as much of the circuit as possible if not all and try and get to see as much of the racing as well in those two days. I should explain at this point that the three day ticket we had allowed us access to all the grandstands apart for the VIP ones for the Friday and Saturday and we had a specific seat for race day. Unfortunately free practice one was washed out and only Daniel Riccardio actually put in a few laps. We braved the elements and started to have a wander around. I wanted some merchandise but if anyone who has been to an F1 race weekend before knows that current F1 merchandise is very expensive indeed. I only bought the program in the end to add to the collection of programs I have purchased throughout the years. There was a GP2 Practice session inbetween first and second practices and by the time the second practice came around the weather and the track dryed out significantly enough to have a proper session and for the first time I heard the V8 2.4 litre engines in full force and the sounds were beautiful and loud I can tell you that and it will be the only time as they are changing to 1.6l turbo V6 engines for next year. I'm glad I got to hear them once.

We managed to get to see pretty much the whole track in the end and a plan was made for the Saturday to get to the main pit lane start and finish straight abbey for the Saturday but that meant getting up even earlier for the following day. After much moaning from yours truly I did agree. One thing I will mention now is that there was a village area in the Silverstone complex. That is all I will mention about the Silverstone complex. There was not a lot too it sadly so I wont bore you with details.

The Saturday we were up at six in the morning to see if we could get a place at Abbey. It was windy but at least it looks as though there was no ran. After we got our park and ride again we arrived at the track about quarter to nine and made a beeline for the Abbey grandstand. To our relief we did manage to get seats and vowed not to move until after Qualifying ended. If you add that up we got to the stand about Nine and Qualifying for the F1 was not over until after 2 so we were going to be there for the crux of over five hours. What was not helping was the wind that kept blowing in our faces. It was really cold in the stand even though at this stage the sun was out. That is what an exposed airfield which Silverstone was built on can do to you. We managed to stick it out. FP3 and the first of the tyre dramas happened as Sergio Perez' right rear completely blew up spectauarly and that was a forewarning as to what was come. Even at this stage it was obvious the Mercedes and the Red Bulls had the advantage over everyone else. We were relived once the Qualifying was over and were able to move around again. We ended up at Luffield for the first of the GP2 races which was quite exciting actually and got to see a lot of action out of it. There was the first GP3 race after this but decided to call it a day as we were all knackered and needed some food and quiet beers the Saturday night.

Sunday we got up a bit later as we decided to give the support races a miss and get in there at a reasonable time to get the build up to the race. The intricacies of the track you would not know from watching it on the t.v.. The bumps, curves, climbs and speed you would only really know once you get to a F1 race live and in person. We got to our stand which was stove corner and we got a good view of the Hangers straight and the corners after stove which lead to the main straight abbey. We got the drivers parade then we had a show from the RAF red arrows which was spectacular in all fairness even though they had to delay it for around ten minutes as an intruder as the P.A. called it invaded the airspace as it got a good laugh from the crowd. After that was over the cars came out and the race was nearly to begin with the fans favorite Lewis Hamilton on pole.

The P.A. speakers were very good actually and were able to see a screen to see what was going on throughout the race. The best moments for me in the race was the reaction to the crowd when Lewis Hamilton's tyre blew up, my mates and I had a little snigger at that and after the second safety car the sprint to the finish was quite fun as well. We had a longer than expected walk back to our shuttle bus for our park and ride as we had to go the long way around as only VIP and Club Silverstone Members were allowed into a certain section of the course which pissed us all off then all of us exhausted and sun burnt at this point were stuck in post race traffic for ages, thankfully my friend and I had more then enough time to compensate for our flight home. Pity our mate that was driving us, he had the journey back to Maidenhead which proved to be a nightmare for him poor fellah.

I would go again to an F1 race again but a different track. I have always been fascinated by Spa and Monza for example and of Course Monaco because its Monaco. The one aspect which I was disappointed about Silverstone apart from the Village was the fact the British continue to harp on about the history of the place and the fact that it is the home of F1. Even though there has been improvements in the facilities over the past couple of years I never felt that sense of History of the place whatsoever. I have been in some of the football or Gaelic Stadiums over the years and you do feel the history of the place but with Silverstone none sadly. If I was spending money on Silverstone I would build some sort of museum nearby to get people to sense how important this place is to the history of Motor Racing in Britain and to F1 and Motor Racing in General. I think it will improve it in time as they do have the track that people will come back to again and again. It was a marvellous weekend in general and I will be back hopefully to a F1 track near you soon.