For the first time in about 18years I attended the Silverstone F1 Grand Prix. Last time I went Mansell and Senna were racing.
When I’ve been in the past it has been camping for the weekend, usually going down on the Friday and returning on the Monday and having general admission tickets. This time I did it a bit different. Myself and my brother (Martin) plus one of our friends (Declan) went but this time there was no camping, we went a bit more upmarket. A friend of Declan offered us the use of his motorhome. This motorhome was not one of your small European models but a 8berth, 33ft long, 7t American motorhome powered by a 7l Turbo diesel engine!!
Where as I’ve had general admission tickets in the past, this time we went for grandstand seats. The advantage of grandstand seats is that you don’t have to get there at silly o’clock on the Sunday to get the spot you want. In the past we used to go on the banking at Club, so you had to be at the circuit for gates opening at 6am if you wanted a descent spot. With having a grandstand ticket you could turn up at as late as you want and just wander to your seat. On the Friday anybody can use the grandstands, on the Saturday the grandstands are only open for people with grandstand tickets, but there is no reserved seating and on the Sunday you have to use your own booked seat.
We opted for Woodcote B, which put us on the start of the old start/finish straight just after Luffield. This would give us a view of the cars entering the Luffield corner and down to Copse.
The Weekend racing consisted of F1, F2, F3 and Porsche practice, qualifying and races (2 races for the F2 and F3). Anybody who watched on TV would have noticed that both Friday and Saturday was rather wet around Silverstone. Sunday was much better weather although half the track suffered a monsoon 1hr before the race started.
There has been a lot of changes to Silverstone since my last visit, more Grandstands, including one on my old patch at Club and then the track changes with the new infield section. One thing that is nice is that you can walk along part of the old track from Abbey up Farm Straight and under the Bridge. Some things have not changed, long q’s for the toilets and over priced food.
The other nice things is the Village area around the new infield section. Here they have a plenty of merchandise tents, Pirelli had an area where you could test you speed changing a tyre in a pit test challenge and also a reaction time machine.
When I last went we took those small 2inch portable TV’s, so that we could follow the BBC TV coverage when the cars were not insight of us. Now it is possible to hire them at the circuit although the technology has improved. The FansVision unit has a screen that can show the Silverstone TV coverage, live timing, driver information, race control message etc. Definitely worth considering if you do go to the Grand Prix.
They also have another area with a large stage, here on the Friday night they had a concert with Brit Floyd (a Pink Floyd cover band) who did a brilliant 1hr set, then a couple of short filler sets and then Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) did a 1hr set. On the Sunday after the race this stage is used again for an after race party. This consisted of music by Rick Parfitt Jnr (son of Status Quo guitarist) and part time racing driver, and also Eddir Jordon’s band ‘Eddie and the Robbers’.
Eddie and The Robbers
There are also interviews with various current and ex drivers and media people i.e. Button, Hamilton, Damon Hill, Jake Humphrey, Martin Brundle.
Crowd @ after race party
Over all I had a brilliant 5 days, motorsport, beer and unhealthy food although it wasn’t cheep with the cost of tickets, camp site pitch, fuel. I would rather be there than sat at home watching on TV. I will not be leaving it another 18years before going again.