Tag Archives: Silverstone

Silverstone – A day that will stay

8 Jul

On friday Will Garside, 13 went to Silverstone to watch the FP1 and FP2, here’s how he found the day:

There is that noise, the noise that is a usual threat early in the morning, but when it comes to a day when you are going to Sillverstone, you love that noise, yes that noise is an alarm clock!
A day known by millions, a day that gets you to excited that you get no sleep, a day you like to feel in charge of your parents. Of course, another slow year, waiting for it to come around again, it took it’s time but it’s here. We went through the checklist: lots of layers, check, food, check, camera ,check, umbrellas, check. We were prepared for it, as we learnt from the year before!

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

To add to the endless pain of excitment, this year FP1 started an hour later! This then meant the gates opened at 7.00am, so we chose to drive along some shortcut country lanes asif we were Pastor Maldonado eager to get to 1st place by cutting a corner! And for sure this helped, we got to the circuit at 7.09am and it was very busy as expected. In the car, Mum and Dad were annoyed as it was wet but I tried to tell them it’s what makes Silverstone fun and it we would be bound to see a crash.
Anyway, the hunt for the cheapest Bacon roll was on, anyone want to guess where we found it? Village and cost a whopping £3! possibly because Silverstone need that money as Mr Eccelstone charges a bomb to host the race. We were sat in the undercover grandstand at Village happily eating away at our Bacon waiting for the GP3 lads to come out. there was now 20 minutes until GP3 but it felt alot longer. As I admired the iconic circuit It’s easy to understand why it’s the best GP on the F1 calendar. As a long wait came to a close, it was time for GP3 to start in the pouring rain. Not many of the drivers got away with it as they were spinning and crashing every where. It was amazing for sure.
After I managed to persuade my Mum and Dad to sit at the very end of Farm in the rain, and it was worth it as we had a great view of the first corner coming into the second. It was loud and it took a while for my ears to sort themsleves out, about 30minutes into FP1 my ears adjusted nicely. It made you smile when they came past and suprisingly the Caterham’s were the loudest! The session went very quick and soon we found ourselves walking down the steep steps of the grandstand in search of something to do. Luckily theres always something to do at Silverstone, so we got some very tasty chips and made our way over to Luffield to stand and watch the GP2 boys. They were brave, almost aquaplanning off Luffield into the deep gravel, but strangely no one did! At first, I thought standing up would get annoying and tiring but I found it fun seeing them swoop round Brooklands and then fighting for front end grip down Woodcote. It was amazing to see the GP2 cars whizzing round. Then we made our way through the mud to Beckets, which was a bit of a walk! As we were going past the National Pits the HFO Historic started which was all the 60’s/70’s/80’s F1 cars practising.
As we approched Beckets it looked full and then began to think it was a waste of time walking there. But it wasn’t, after searching for about 15 minutes up and down different stairs of the grandstand for some seats. We found some, and right at the front! It has to be the best place to sit as you could see almost everything from there. There were so many people in that grandstand it could have tipped over! FP2 began, but with 40 minutes gone of the session none of the cars had dared tackle the rain. Eventually Kamui Kobayashi impressed us all and braved it, we all gave a big cheer when he came round and then soon every car was rushing out, when Hamilton flew by there was an even bigger cheer. There was a TV screen in front of us and when we saw Alonso crash at Stowe, the whole entire grandstand cheered so loud that you couldn’t speak to the person next to you! It made you proud to be British! As the cars got faster and faster Bruno Senna pushed a bit to hard in Chapel caught the puddle and when flying towards the barriers, there was a massive puff of gravel launched in the air and lots of debris, then the next thing you know his rear wing was gone and he stepped out in dissapointment, the medical car picked him up and took him to the Medical centre. I had always wanted to witness an F1 crash and this was my first, im so glad my eyes followed him round Beckets and onto Chapel. In real life the impact seems bigger than TV can show. A great day gradually came to an end and everyone went home wondering what Silverstone would bring on saturday and sunday.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

One thing that surprised me was that the TV doesen’t capture the supremely loud backfire noise and gear poping changes!
Will Garside
You can follow Will on twitter (@willgarside99), and if you would like to write about your own GP experience or write about your feelings on the GP season please contact me at tjrupton@yahoo.com

ALONSO SOARS TO POLE POSITION WHILST THE McLAREN SPIRIT WAS DAMPENED

8 Jul

Michael Aspin At Silverstone

THE traffic queues were horrendous, and the A43 was clogged with traffic because the police had to turn the cars away, but eventually we managed to arrive in our coach party, and the appalling weather certainly did not dampen the atmosphere at Silverstone today.

It is electrifying. The roars of the engines could be heard for miles around and no matter where you were, you always felt right in the heart of the action in the huge circuit. Before qualifying commenced, the heavens opened, and we all flocked for the covered grandstands; Woodcote A has a spectacular view over the Brooklands and Woodcote sections of the track, close to full throttle, and a stones throw away from £100 Ferrari sunglasses, £8 fish and chips, and £1.20 Mars bars. the price tag was high, but it is a price worth paying- I would highly recommend you go whatever the weather. The noise may be a little harsh and painful at times- don’t worry- official Silverstone ear defenders are available (very comfortable, too!)

I predicted that McLaren would do well- wrong. Jenson Button faired poorly in the damp conditions, and traffic meant he never posted a decent flying lap time, and 18th place was what he deserved; team mate Lewis Hamilton managed to post excellent times in challenging conditions, but succumbed when it mattered in Q3 and will start 8th tomorrow. The trails of spray were there for all to see, and it was only a matter of time before the heavens opened and the red flag was flown- good old British weather for you, but it didn’t takeaway the enjoyment- the road sweeper was the fastest vehicle on track for twenty or so minutes, and the Marshals seemed just too skilled at sweeping rain that I am sure they had rehearsed and choreographed the whole event…

When qualifying resumed, some drivers adapted excellently, managing both wet and intermediate tyres; Ferrari were the dominant team today, exceeding expectations and performing superbly to land Fernando Alonso in pole, and an impressive 5th for Felipe Massa; Red Bull did well- both Webber and Vettel are in the top five, with 2nd and 4th place, and Mercedes faired well with Michael Schumacher, with a secure performance awarding him 3rd on tomorrow’s grid; others just couldn’t cope- Sauber’s Sergio Perez posted an excellent Q1 time, but only managed a disappointing 17th after refusing to go out in Q2- Romain Grosjean looked strong, but a gear box change will mean a 5 place penalty, not what the newly married Frenchman would want. With many top drivers displaced, it will be an intriguing race tomorrow and a case of who will manage the elements the best, because MORE RAIN IS FORECAST.

The fun didn’t stop at F1- the GP2 race started under the safety car, and many drivers managed to spin out, trying to battle the puddles of standing rain, and as the sun crept through in the early evening, the GP3 drivers had a difficult task, managing dry tyres well, but one slip up and into the wet part of the track they went.

It was an extraordinary day, a fantastic venue and despite the weather, our spirits were certainly not dampened, but the clothes of some other petrol heads were- T-shirts and sandals in the bog like conditions underfoot is NOT recommended. F1 resumes today after the traditional Red Arrows demonstration, and I will have another update tomorrow when I will be back at home this evening.

Enjoy the race!

Michael’s 3 things to watch in qualifying

7 Jul

Michael Aspin at Silverstone

(1) WEATHER- In yesterday’s practice sessions, Silverstone was drenched, and you could probably post a purple sector in a canoe rather than an F1 car- nevertheless the rain always makes for interesting driving. Expect spinning out, spray, careful driving and maybe the odd crash or two… Only the most skilful drivers will success in battling the track and the elements at Silverstone in qualifying today.

(2) CORNERS- The Silverstone Circuit is home to some of F1’s most famous corners. Copse is one of the most difficult corners to tackle, taken in seventh gear, full throttle and flat out, and followed immediately by the Maggotts, Becketts, Chapel complex, where the twisting swerves provide a spectacular challenge, and plenty of G- Force; the Village and Loop corners are the best for overtaking and spectacular racing and the excitement ends at the Abbey and the Club close to the Pit Straight, where more flat out action is anticipated, but the rain will mean that too much aggression will lead to cars spinning off onto the grass and mud… not good…

(3) McLAREN- I’m hoping McLaren have got their pit stops sorted, because the wet weather just may boost Jenson Button’s chances of returning to form, and back into Championship contention. The McLaren car, according to analysts may do well with its series of upgrades, but don’t forget Lotus; Grosjean was fastest in FP1 yesterday in the wet, and Kobayashi and Sauber may also do well, since the Japanese driver managed to complete the most number of laps across the two sodden practice sessions… It’s anyone’s game, and will be exciting!

My favourite corners of the 2011 tracks.

6 Aug

Sakhir (Bahrain):

Turn 14, the braking point is very important as if you get your foot on the accelerator too late and you won’t have the speed on the longest straight of the track. Not many other interesting corners except for turn 1 where the line is important as it will affect your speed between corners 3 and 4.

Melbourne (Australia):

It’s between two. Turn 3, the car comes into it at 275KM/H and has to be brought down perfectly to 105KM/H, otherwise the car will go off and probably end up skipping turn 4, which will not only get you an inquiry from the stewards, but also ruin your floor as the speed bumps there have done in the past. Also, Turn 12, not a normal choice I know but as the tracks so wide it’s very easy to not brake enough, also it’s important  to hit the kerb as otherwise you’ll lose a lot of time.

Sepang (Malaysia):

The turn 1/2 complex, it’s an amazing curving line that goes 180 degrees right then almost 180 degrees left, it’s a very important corner on all laps as varying from the racing line could leave you in the wall. On the lap 1 the corner is especially important as it’s after quite a long run up and then having to get through a tight corner so it’s where drivers are fighting for position and risking going wide to get a better line thought turn 2.

Shanghai (China):

Has a very similar start to Malaysia but has 4 corners in it rather than 2. My favourite corner though is turn 14 as it’s where the overtaking usually happens especially with DRS, the corner is quite wide as well so it’s possible to overtake on the inside or the outside or equally likely you can brake too late and run wide off the track.

Istanbul (Turkey):

Only 1 corner is worthy of the title, the legendary triple apex turn 8, even Sebastian Vettel crashed there in practise this year. The corner is especially tricky as if you miss an apex or the racing line then you lose a lot of time, the corner is also -after the first apex- taken without braking again which means the driver will suffer a huge amount of G-Force which increases the drivers likelihood  of making a mistake.

Barcelona (Spain):

Again it’s between two corners, turn 1 and turn 10. Turn 1, a place where overtaking happened this year, mainly due to the DRS and tyres but also chosen for the way the track then starts to go uphill, also it is amazing on the first lap due to the massive run up to the corner which is how Alonso managed such a good start at the race this year. Turn 10, it’s after another long straight and yet again is going uphill, the corner is also a place that if you risk it enough you can gain time.

Monaco (Monaco):

Turn 6, such an iconic corner that is the slowest corner in the season and requires it’s own special gear ratios, not usually a point for overtaking although this year Schumacher overtook Hamilton at it.

Montreal (Canada):

Turn 11, it’s the make or break corner it’s between the two longest straights on the track and the wrong line means a slower speed on the longest straight which will let drivers past especially if they use DRS.

Valencia (Europe):

Not many great corners at this track but turn 8 is a picturesque corner with the bridge coming into view, isn’t so important from a race point of view but offers a great oppertunity for the cameramen. Did you know that during the race weekend the bridge is opened every evening to allow boats in and out.

Silverstone (Great Britain):

Turn 1 (Abbey), A great first corner which can produce an amazing spectacle with the drivers all fighting to overtake and get the better line through turn 2. Having said this almost any corner could be chosen as all have such a history and provide excitement as the high speeds needed to put in a good lap you’d think are mad with between corners 9 and 15 the car doesn’t go below 200KM/H.

Nurburgring (Germany):

My favourite track this season with some amazing corners, my favourite of which is the turn 8/9 complex as it is two followthroughs going left then right where taking your foot off the pedal would be useless the corner is also great for the way that the car has just come out of the slow hairpin and then hits the high speeds as the driver has to get over the feeling of expecting to hit the walls.

Hungaroring (Hungary):

Turn 5, I know it’s an unconventional choice but in the build up to the recent grand prix I did some laps of it on F1 2009 for Wii and when I went in tutorial mode on the track it was the only corner where the guy who speaks said I did amazing at and didn’t say that I was too slow or needed to stay on the track. If it weren’t for that it would be turn two as it was so devastating to the drivers in the rain with both Ferrari’s and Vettel as well as a few others going off there.

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium):

The corner to watch this year will be turn 5 as I’m expecting (just a guess) that the DRS will be on the straight going up to it, this could make overtaking interesting as turns 5 and 6 are quite narrow and are likely just going to be the drivers confirming their overtaking as the straights long enough for the driver to fully overtake. Favorite normally though would have to be Eau Rouge as despite being made easier in recent years is still a corner that would make your heart thud.

Monza (Italy):

Lesmo 1 mainly because of the Wii again as it’s a corner where I am surprisingly quick. Favorite non-Wii corner though would be Parabolica it’s the best named corner ever as the name parabolica just conjures up an amazing image, as well as that it’s important as it leads up to the longest straight on the track and I suspect that straight will be the DRS one.

Singapore (Singapore):

The chicane of turn 10, it’s a corner which if done well looks amazing and if done badly makes you look an idiot and badly damages the underside of the car as Jaime Aguersuari will testify (I think it was him who came off last year in one of the practices) it’s also a very tight chicane which makes it harder.

Suzuka (Japan):

So many great corners, turns 3,4,5 and 6 are an amazing spectacle with the even numbered ones being the ones you brake into, Degner 2 or crossover (turn 9) an amazingly important corner where braking point is vital, as Hamilton proved last year, turn 11 now making the grade after Kobayashi’s antics their last year overtaking almost everyone there, turns 13 or 14 or the legendary  Spoon corner which tests both car and driver as the exit it vital to a good run along the longest straight (most likely a double DRS with both straights at the entry and exit to turn 15 -or 130R-). Turn 15 is also a great corner in it’s own right as if you turn the steering wheel as either just the wrong time or at the wrong angle can see you seeing wall rapidly advancing on you and finally the title deciding 16,17,18 or Casio Triangle where Prost won the 1989 championship by taking both himself and Senna off the track just for Senna to carry on and get disqualified.

Yeongam (South Korea):

This year it’s going to have to be turn 3 already a very tricky corner that I expect will have a DRS zone going into it and maybe another going out of it, so it’s going to be an important corner for every driver as drivers will take their battles for position to it.

Jaypee Group Circuit (India):

Having had no race previously I’m just going to go on where I expect overtaking to take place and envisage it being turn 4 as it comes after the longest straight (likely DRS zone) and before another straight so line through the corner will be vital as well as a bad run off it could see a driver losing the place he’s just taken from the DRS on the next straight .

Yas Marina (Abu Dhabi):

Turn 1 (from a pitlane point of view), when the Abu Dhabi track was constructed many people commented on the way the pitlane went under the track, it’s a stupid idea really as there would be nothing wrong with ending the pitlane on the outside of turn 1, instead we end up with a difficult corner which is too narrow in a place where no one should crash and if someone did the race would have to be black flagged.

Interlagos (Brazil):

Turn 1, there’s something majestic about the way the corner just goes downhill and the overtaking opportunities there will be on lap 1 as it’s a place where you can overtake. Also, it’s named after the great Ayrton Senna which has to make the corner better.