Ibrahim Patel won the FX Pro competition here on the JA on F1 site for grandstand tickets to the British Grand Prix and a paddock visit to the Virgin Racing team.
I met up with him in the paddock on Saturday shortly after the final practice session.
Here is his account of his experience:
Ibrahim Patel writes: “Me and my brother being long time F1 followers really looked forward to this weekend, ever since Q1 at Valencia thanks to Lucas and his great lap to beat Timo for the first time of the year. The experience was just amazing, especially as it was our first visit to an F1 race weekend.
The highlight of the weekend was by far Free Practice 3, where we managed to watch and follow the whole session from the Virgin garage. It was quite a hectic one, especially for Timo, who seemed to have one problem after another. He only managed 6 laps in total, and was deeply frustrated by the end of it. Lucas struggled with the bumps at Abbey just like everyone else, but so such an extent he couldn’t even see where to brake.
Virgin had an extra 15HP from Cosworth for this weekend, and also a new aero package which included a new front wing and floor. The target therefore was to mix it with the lotuses who clearly have been best of the rest. That is exactly what they did in the race, despite struggling over the bumps and suffering their usual reliability niggles all weekend.
As a Ferrari fan I’m not gonna mention the race at all…but i have to mention Sean Edwards. His drive from the back of the field in the Porsche Carrera Cup was reminiscent of a Montoya drive. Yes, he was out of position thanks to a penalty in qual, but nevertheless his overtaking moves were fantastic. We’ve both driven against Sean on rfactor, and can safely say he drives exactly the same way in both.
To end with I’d like to make two suggestions (and yes they have been mentioned before). Firstly to get F1 closer to the fans, I know its virtually impossible logistically to get as close as we did, but having something like the BMW park as there were in previous years would be good, but also more of an effort from more of the teams and sponsors. The only sponsors which I saw make an effort were Vodafone and Santander. That really is poor if I’m honest. In this regard, a lesson could be learned from the Renault World Series, which has a lot more interactive feel about it.
My second and final suggestion is to open up the airwaves. There is a whole array of info out there, and it really needs to be released, and for all the teams. If it wasn’t for the Virgin radio, I wouldn’t have known Timo had a throttle failure, or di Grassi was finding it difficult over the bumps.
Thanks James for the comp and a great website.”
And thanks to FX Pro and Virgin Racing for making it happen.