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Tell us your Silverstone stories – “The Glastonbury of F1″
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Tell us your Silverstone stories – “The Glastonbury of F1″
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jul 2010   |  12:55 pm GMT  |  55 comments

The British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone seems to have resonated with many people as something very special. It certainly felt that way to me – a real shot in the arm for the sport in the UK. And to think we nearly lost Silverstone as a venue.

The weather played its part and the action on track was fantastic. The millions who viewed on TV could see that this was a great weekend, with the revamped Silverstone displaying a confidence about itself, thanks to its long contract with F1 and the fans turning out in numbers.

The 85,000 crowd on Friday was a record and everywhere I went people were having a great time. I spoke at a Fan event on Sunday morning and spoke to fans throughout the weekend and the vibe was tremendous, like a “Glastonbury of F1″.

Dan Bartlett, who won the JA on F1 competition, backed by Santander, for grandstand tickets for Saturday’s qualifying day sent me this bulletin.

Please let us know your experiences of the “Glastonbury of F1″

Dan Bartlett writes: “I have followed F1 closely for years , never missing a session on the TV, even if it is taped sometimes due to working, but this was only the second chance I have had to go to a grand prix after 40 years of watching it since a boy! The other occasion was Monaco, 6 years ago, when the whole family holiday was based around it and several years of saving up to do it. Fond memories of “digging in ” up on the hill under the palace.

“So I was really excited with the chance to go to Silverstone. After a bit of juggling with work, I decided to make a couple of days of it and bought a last minute ticket for Friday too. Travelled up from the Isle of Wight through the night Thursday, (no sleep) and had a great day myself wandering around, viewing the cars from different parts of the circuit and generally soaking up the great atmosphere and the wonderful weather.

“I stayed with relatives, about one and half hours away, and then my 17 year old son joined me there later. Another early start Saturday and we both set off for qualifying.

“Another great day, sat in the Mclaren 2006 car, photo attached, a great view of Jenson and Lewis when they appeared at the Vodafone stand, from our grandstand seats behind, and the joys and disappointment of the qualifying session seeing Jenson slip to such a lowly position. ( I am from Somerset originally, my sister lives in Frome, so some local interest there) and Lewis achieving a credible 4th after all the woes of Friday for them both.

“I was gutted leaving the circuit Saturday around 7pm, knowing I wouldn’t be back on the Sunday, and the drive home, ferry, and work at 10am Sunday, arriving home pretty tired with little sleep over two nights and plenty of sun.
If work and finances permit, I shall be trying really hard to make 2011, camping out for 4-5 days. I think it is a fantastic grand prix to go to.”

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55 Comments
  1. ManxF1 says:

    If Silverstone is as tough on the mind and body as Glastonbury this year then i doubt my mid-30′s body could handle 2 festivals in a fortnight!!!!

    I’ll give it a blast next year!!!

  2. Luffer says:

    I went to my first GP at Silverstone last year having been a huge fan since a boy. Decided with the possibility of it being the last one held there we had to make the effort to go. Camped for 4 days on a field right next to the circuit.

    The whole trip was awesome, all the entertainment in the evenings outside the racing action was brilliant. Everyone is there having the best time! If only the helicopters didn’t have to fly in so damn early right over my tent… LOL!

    We didn’t manage to make it back this year, but planning a return trip next year when the new paddock is finished. Also talking about making a trip to the Canadian GP or maybe Monza as well. Who knows, if money will allow I’d do them all!

  3. Anna Grounds says:

    1999, my first GP, sat on inside of Copse with my Dad, i was 14 then. Spent all weekend gathering autographs, had a wicked weekend until the Sunday when Schumacher broke his leg, was devastated and cried for the rest of the day. Get home and realise I have lost my autograph book :-( even more devastated now. My Mum takes me back a week later and find it in a bush in a car park where it must have fallen out of my bag :-) one of the best moments ever!! On my 4th autograph book now!! But that one is very precious!!

    Have so many good memories of Silverstone, April 2000 in the freezing cold and getting stuck in the car par trying to leave, I have never been as cold as I was that weekend! Testing days in the hot sun before they banned summer testing.

    Silverstone is the best place in the world, have had the chance to go to Spa and Silverstone is much better, the facilities are excellent! Wish I could have gone this year, but will next year my son will be 2 so he will be starting his own GP experience young!! Best atmosphere in the world!!

    1. Peter says:

      What a coincidence – I went in 1999, when I was also 14, to what was also my first GP – was sat at Becketts with my dad and remember the cloud of dust from Stowe where Schumacher broke his leg.

      Small world!

  4. Silverstone79 says:

    Sadly I couldn’t go – I guessed the wrong seat numbers last week !

  5. Chris Partridge says:

    Gutted – won tickets and tour of Lotus garage but could not go as was locked into holiday arrangements which could not be changed :(

  6. Kathryn says:

    I wasn’t at Silverstone this year and regretted it all weekend. Looking forward to reading people’s views on different campsites and seats/GA so I can get the best package booked for 2011. x

  7. Chris Fantana says:

    This was my first GP that I have attended, I’ve watched every GP live since 1996 but never made it to a race. It was just the best day of my life!

    I used to live 15 minutes away from the circuit and as a kid, loved watching the traffic every year heading towards Silverstone, we used to stare at the exotic supercars driving through our village on the way to the circuit, we always knew it was the GP weekend when my dad used to complain that ‘some stupid, loud sports car’ had cut him up on his way home on a friday’.

    I now live in Banbury (just 20 minutes from Silverstone) and left at 7:30am on sunday, to my suprise there was very little traffic all of the way there and I had arrived in the main car park by 7:55am. I quickly headed through the gates and towards my pre-selected viewpoint between Club and Abbey, opposite the new pits. I set-up my chair, opened a beer and sat for 7 hours in the sun watching my favourite form of sport with my best friend. I had no-one sat in front of me, so apart from the fence I had a perfect view of the track.

    Here is a photo that I took of Lewis on the cool-down lap – http://i974.photobucket.com/albums/ae222/thezumes/IMG_9115.jpg

    I got out of the circuit as quickly as I got in, and was home by 4pm to watch the race on Sky+.

    Perfect

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks for that. I stayed out near Banbury and was amazed to find that the Banbury-Brackley road was wet on race morning. The rain missed Silverstone, but only by a few miles..

      1. Richard says:

        The rain didn’t quite miss Silverstone; I was in the Marshals camp and woke up to a fine drizzle and looming black clouds on Sunday morning! Just what we need, I thought with memories of Jenson’s early season tactical triumphs in rainy GP’s! Fortunately he didn’t need rain to help him recover from the defecit of a poor qualification.

      2. Robert says:

        Driving from Milton Keynes to Buckingham at 8.00 am on Sunday morning the sky was black and started to rain in Buckingham. Feared a damp day but it soon blew over.

        As ever driving in and out was fine on all 3 days. All race tracks should be modelled on Silverstone …….

  8. jonrob says:

    “If work and finances permit, I shall be trying really hard to make 2011, camping out for 4-5 days.”
    Brings back memories of camping and adventures at Silverstone many years back, originally in the car park.
    Also aeons ago, my once in a lifetime trip to Monaco where we watched and got slowly deaf and drunk on a boat in the harbour.
    Nowadays it’s just far far too expensive.

  9. Stephen Rose says:

    Great day out at Silverstone on Sunday. The new Arena B grandstand really is an excellent view, well worth the money. Kudos to Silverstone for finally sorting out the traffic situation too. Getting into and out of the circuit using the park & ride was effortless. A far cry from the horrors of 99/2000!

    My favourite bit had to be the Supercup & the ‘gentlemen racers’ driving like BTCC warriors trading paint.

    It was however a pity there were few & far things to do outside of watching the racing – hardly any show car displays & I didn’t see or hear of any driver appearances for the general public. The days of EJ & Damon Hill putting on a (admittedly cheesy) jam for the fans before the race feels like a distant memory. We move forward in some areas & backwards in others… Driving a flatbed round the circuit with the drivers on it barely bothered to wave doesn’t cut the mustard, sorry.

    As drivers are required by FOM to make themselves available for interview I really do think that the teams themselves should be required each weekend to each put on events for the fans – even if it is only a high stage in the F1 village with a driver and someone like James to interview then for five minutes. It doesn’t have to cost anything, just a little time.

    1. Andrew Halliday says:

      It’s a shame you feel that way mate, I think you must have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I managed to see Schumacher, Rosberg and Heidfeld being interviewed by David Croft at the Mercedes GP merchandise stand at 4.30 on Saturday afternoon, a lot of the the other teams have similar sessions at their merchandise outlets. A jam before the race was not required as the traditional post race party not only included EJ’s band but loads of driver appearances also. Perhaps you went home too early? You complain that there was nothing to do between races, the beauty of Silverstone is that, unlike at other circuits, you can sit where you like on Saturday and Sunday. The gaps between on track action are a good opportunity to move between grandstands and visit the toilet. I agree that the flatbed truck is a bit average as at other events drivers are put in individual cars but come on, if you’re a real racing fan it’s not the gimmicks like the parade that you’re there to see it’s the racing.

  10. Deane says:

    Should not the prize have been for race day?

    1. James Allen says:

      There was also a second pair of tickets for race day.

  11. LeighJW says:

    It was a while ago but here goes anyway. I have to confess and apologise.

    After many years of going to Silverstone and Brands Hatch and roughing it with general admission tickets and 4am queing, the lads and I decided to go for Grandstand seats for the 1985 Grand Prix at Silverstone. We got ‘top dollar’ seats in the Woodcote stand with excellent views of the old chicane and the pits.

    Inevitably, the night before the race tuned into a very long one and our plans for a nice late morning start were ruined. So, complete with sizeable hangovers, we made our way towards our seats for morning warm up (remember that?).

    In the pathway in front of the grandstand I was walking along (in front of the lads) when I was confronted by a load of blokes in blazers who did not seem to want to give me any room to pass in the narrow walkway. Being a big chap, I decided (in my hungover and possibly rather ‘bolshy’ state) that I was not standing for that! So I dropped my shoulder and barged through the middle of the blazer brigade without paying them much attention.

    Only afterwards did my mates tell me that I had pushed through the middle Prince Michael of Kent’s entourage bumping the unsuspecting royal out of the way. Apparently his security guards all got very jittery and even put their hands inside their jackets (guns?) However, my mates apologised on my behalf and they did not come after me.

    So I hereby apologise unreservedly to PMoK. I wasn’t in the best of states that morning but that is no excuse. Please don’t send me to the Tower of London!

    BB. The best memory of that weekend was standing at Abbey on the Saturday and watching Keke Rosberg doing the first 160mph lap of Silverstone. It was still dampt through Stowe and Club too! Amazing.

      1. Gavin Thomas says:

        Your spectator replies brought back memories of attending the South African Grand Prix during the early to mid seventies. Riding a Yamaha DT250 (comfortable cruising speed 95km/h, tank range 100km) 600km from Durban to Kyalami on Thursday and returning on Monday (Fuel restrictions prevented a Sunday return, the race was held on Saturday).
        Camping beneath bike outside Crowthorne corner, meeting Carlos Reutemann, Patrick Depailler, Tom Pryce, Bob Evans, DSJ and others through the weekend, especially unofficial practice.
        Afterwards forging a sick note to the boss, knowing that everyone knew exactly where I had been and what I was doing.
        I could recount pages of adventures associated with those trips.

    1. Alanis Morissette says:

      Good on you! Royalty or not, there’s no excuse for not making room for someone to walk by in a public place.

  12. raffamuffin says:

    Had a fantastic time! Was very disappointed that some of the grandstands were not full on race day though. We had a great time camping at Windmill farm, weather was fantastic, and traffic was excellent back to the motorway where we popped to the local shops to get supplies every day! It was a shame there weren’t as many manufacturer stands as last year in the F1 village, but I think a comparison to last year was a little unfair as an extra big effort was made by companies given that it was meant to be the “last ever” British GP at Silverstone.

    The F1 party was amazing, a shame the security guards at Hanger Straight spent so long opening the bridge for the party. We waited over an hour to be at the front of the queue only to find a few hundred people were there before us!

    The driver interviews were really good, I have to say a big hats off to Sebastian Vettel for coming to the after party. The crowd were not always particularly happy at the situation at Red Bull re the wings. However, it was not Sebs decision and his visit reminded us all why we loved him in the first place. I hope he realises the support he has with the British fans, even if we were not able to express it fully due to the circumstances this weekend.

    Additionally fair play to Christian Horner who took a lot of flak from the crowd however he sounds like he is in an extremely difficult situation. As much as the crowd gave him stick we all appreciated him coming along.

    As for Chandhok, he is always an extremely funny guy and it was a pleasure for him to come along. I just wish Bruno had come along too as we missed being able to support him this weekend.

    The World Cup on the big screens was a big plus. I would have loved either Silverstone or the BBC to film the after party, but then again being off air allows the team drivers and principles to be a little off duty and state what they really think rather than the same stodgy PR lines.

    As for Lewis, his interview on the parade lap was funny. He needs to chill out more as I sometimes think he just concentrates on what he thinks he should say instead of allowing the crowd really get to know him for who he really is.

    Overall, fantastic weekend and it was a shame it was all over too soon :)

  13. Phil Irwin says:

    I was there for the Saturday and Sunday, General Admission and camping. One of the highlights was EJ turning up drunk at the camping entertainment stage and f’ing and jeff’ing at the crowd and insulting DC behind his back! He’s uncontrollable!

  14. Phil Bishop says:

    I really feel for Dan. It must have been a nightmare leaving the circuit. Personally I would have pulled a sickie and bought a race day ticket!

  15. Kev says:

    I thought Red Bull gave you wings – not took them away!

  16. Peter says:

    My best Silverstone memory is 2008, Hamilton in the wet. I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it, still makes me smile thinking about it now. The excitement and pure joy throughout all the grandstands and watching Lewis on the podium, gesturing at all of us to make the air horns louder!

    Fantastic day!

  17. Osama says:

    I am from Bahrain, and last Sunday’s race was my first ever race to attend outside my country.

    I must say i was amazed by the venue, silverstone has this authentic, yet fresh and modern, feeling which the flashy new circuit we have in Bahrain lacks.

    I was so happy with Silverstone, i started taking photos of every stand and facility just to show it to my friends back in Bahrain.

    One more thing, Silverstone is a yearly trip for me from now on.

  18. James says:

    I’ve been to the 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2005 & 2009 BGP. Love going to Silverstone. Gutted didn’t go this year and regretted it all weekend. I’ve just booked for 2011 at the Beckets Grandstand Row ‘A’. It’s a year away but I can’t wait!

  19. m00bie says:

    I was in luffield this year and it was a good place to watch, last year i was at woodcote and i must say theres alot more overtaking now the cars enter there after the welington strait!!! it was awsome.

    as a hamilton fan im proud to say ive been to silverstone every year since he arrived in f1 (4 years) and always wanted to go before then but was still at uni and couldnt afford it.

    last year i also did monza and the year before spa and noware has facilities for the general public like silverstone. also since ive been attending we have never had trouble getting in or out of the track.

    the new layout is awsome and we used our roming friday and saturday to decide on next years seats (can see most of the track from backetts) its an amazing view.

    only disapointment for me was that the eurofighter and helicopter display were silently canceled even though they were in the official program. we waited arround for the eurofighter, would have been nice if its cancelation was anouced and i missed the clasic race car suport race that they had last year (but i think that was for the “last ever silverstone”).

    all in all, noware compares to silverstone, its the best race on the calendar…

  20. michael grievson says:

    I’d love to go but unfortunately it’s too expensive for me and by family.

  21. Thomas says:

    I have always been a bit down on Silverstone compared to Brands and Donnington.

    I saw Mansell’s amazing first win at Brands where, from the pits straight, you could watch him closing in on Piquet from the moment he came out of the forest until he went back in again a mile or so later.

    Likewise watching Senna at Donnington coming all the way down the Craner Curves in the rain and passing everyone. So Silverstone, being only a straight and corner wherever you were, never seemed as good.

    But I think the new layout is a thousand percent improvement. My son and I watched some of Friday from Becketts from where you can see the new infield sections, Saturday from the Arena from where you can also see from Becketts down to Stowe, and Sunday at Luffield which has real interest because of the new route in.

    So a very well done to the BRDC for not using Hermann Tilke to redesign (ruin?) the track. Not quite Brands or Spa yet, but getting there!

    1. LeighJW says:

      I think the Mansell/Piquet race was the 1986 British Grand Prix. I watched from the inside of Druids. It was Nigels’ second consecutive win at Brands.

      It was the 1985 European Grand Prix that was his first ever Grand Prix win, also at Brands and I watched from my more usual vantage point at Paddock Hill bend.

  22. Brent McMaster says:

    As a Canadian, whose race was sold out, I was thrilled to see fans(alot of orange) fill in every inch of space at Silverstone. Ecclestone and Tilke can build eye candy and run the cars, but it’s not the same sport without a great track and appreciative fans. Silverstone is high on my bucket list, not because of the race but because of the way the crowd appears on tv, everyone is thrilled to be there, much like Montreal.

  23. Elliot says:

    Smiled at the Glasto / British GP comparison – especially because I was lucky enough to attend both this year – even wearing my Glasto 2010 t-shirt to Silverstone alongside my McLaren cap!

    Both were superb events – and both had absolutely amazing atmospheres. We had the gorgeous weather at both events, and some masterclasses from Stevie Wonder, Muse, Ray Davies, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. The support for the McLaren boys was incredible – no wonder Jenson moved over. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    Roll on 2011 for both Glasto and Silverstone – looks like the bank balance will be taking another beating!

    Thanks also to JA for this site – it’s really so informative, analytical and original. Thanks James!

  24. Martin says:

    This was the first race I’ve been to for 10 years, and my first time ever at Silverstone, and I had a great time. The atmosphere was amazing, and the general level of knowledge and respect amongst the crowd for all the drivers, not just the brits was fantastic.

    The most surreal experience of the weekend was joining about 50 other people relandscaping the mound by Club at 5AM to get a good, level spot (and the view here was worth the early start). I’ll remember to bring a trowel next year!

    The new pit complex looks like it will be epic, and is clearly whats needed – the old complex looks like it belongs on a shady trading estate.

    I was really surprised by the lack of spectators in Ferrari gear – I realise this was always going to be a Mclaren stronghold, especially with their current driver lineup, but they were noticeable by their absence. I was also amused that The Stig’s merchandise stand seemed much busier than Michael Schumacher’s next door!

    A couple of gripes:

    - They should lose all those tacky cigarette kiosks dotted around the outfield – they seem like a throwback to another era.

    - It would be nice to be able to buy a Sunday newspaper in the grounds – with 100,000 people all waiting around for hours before the race, they’d have done a roaring trade.

    - Sir Stirling Moss should have presented the winner’s trophy, rather than some random royal!

    Otherwise a great weekend – I look forward to next year.

  25. Harvey Yates says:

    It was the first year of Bridge Corner. I managed to fight my way to the railing and found myself in the midst of a group of really knowledgeable lads of all ages. We had laughs, arguments and really got on well.

    During the morning there appeared from under the bridge a small group of people who resolved into Princess Di, with William and Harry. Coming with them was a strangely dressed man: Jackie Stewart. He was chatting away to them and pointing out the line of the corner.

    One of our crowd shouted out: ‘Here! Look who it is.’

    There was a brief silence and everyone turned to look. Then one chap shouted: ‘Good heavens. It’s Jackie Stewart.’

    Everyone laughed, including the royalty and eventually, after a suitable hesitation, JS. We even got a wave from Di. But it showed what was important to the crowd at Bridge.

    The joy of Silverstone is that you can always find a group of people who are as nerdish as you are and you don’t feel such an idiot. Indeed, I often come out believing that I’m more normal than most.

    The banking at Club is F1 nirvana.

    I met Johnny Herbert’s parents who were running a stall of his memorabilia and had a great conversation. For real enthusiasm for motor racing you need look no further.

    The atmosphere in 1987 was tremendously exciting. For virtually half the race it was between two cars with just the time for a pit stop between them. Even the overtake couldn’t have been timed better as it gave us all time to cheer. It has never been bettered.

    I’ve always enjoyed my days at Silverstone for the GP. One of the great circuits. There’s not many which could lose such a tremendous corner as Bridge but still come out stronger.

    1. LeighJW says:

      Once I stood at Bridge (right by the tunnel that spectators can walk through under the bridge) and was literally blown sideways by force from Mansell coming through there flat in the Williams Honda. It was qualy and in those days only the very bravest took it flat! Spine tingling stuff.

  26. Other than meeting my hero Felipe Massa – who laughed when I told him I loved him – my highlight of the Grand Prix weekend came when I stood chatting to none other than James Allen as he left the circuit on race day.

    Perhaps I had had a bit much to drink, hence I asked Freddie Flintoff to sign my breasts (to which he replied “nice one!”), but I was happy shouting to every driver and F1 personality that walked past after we queued for hours after the race at the paddock exit waiting to catch a glimpse of our motorsport heroes.

    So when James walked past, I shouted him over and we chatted about what a good race it was, the F1 Fans’ Forum in London last week and how much I’d wanted to go, and the general atmosphere at Silverstone that weekend.

    The race was brilliant. This was the first time since 2007 that I had decided not to splash out and instead opted for General Admission tickets, with which we sat on the exit of the Maggots/Becketts/Chapel complex looking down the Hangar Straight.

    Naturally the views weren’t as spectacular as they would have been had we sat at Copse or Stowe or the new Arena complex – but every fan was as enthusiastic as those that could afford the hundreds of pounds for a first class seat.

    As an aspiring journalist, my motorsport journalism hero is indeed James Allen, and there were so many questions I wanted to ask but so little time!

    There’s always next year to be more prepared I guess…

  27. chris says:

    My Silverstone moment doesn’t involve the GP this weekend but a factory tour of the Force India base a few hundred yards from the entrance to Silverstone yesterday morning. My father had bid for a personal tour before xmas at a charity auction and we finally arranged the visit for yesterday.
    As the campsites were emptying we arrived and pulled up behind Eddie Jordans BMW (reg plate gave it away) before he came out and drove off.I thought it would be a 20 min quick show round but was given about 60 mins and shown through the building, mingling with the mechanics as the cars were wheeled in and stripped down before our eye’s. The guy who showed us round had worked there through the Jordan, Midland and Spyker times and was a great host. All questions were answered with respect although no photo’s were permitted for obvious reasons.
    A great experience I thought I would share although definately back for the GP next year as I haven’t been to a GP since the Senna Donnington GP in 93.

  28. Andy C says:

    I have three main memories of race weekends at silverstone, mostly before they sorted the car parks out to some extent.

    1.) the car boot incident – car park at the back of copse in about 2000 when we were stuck waiting to get out after the race and to make matters worse I slammed the car boot lid on my sisters hand. I was not allowed back in her car until we got to the main road.

    2.) the noise and the speed – the first car I ever saw come out of the pits was a minardi and when it came round copse it looked super fast (then The leading cars came round miles quicker)

    3.) the fifteen jos verstappen fans all with orange painted faces (each one was over 6′ 5 tall). What they ate and drank in one day will stay with me forever.

    My first f1 memory by the way was meeting nigel mansell on the isle of Wight when I was a young lad (and having my photo taken with me in his jps lotus and him sitting on the side). Those were the days he had his big moustache.

  29. Robert says:

    A great atmosphere this weekend. So much better than last year which was rather depressing. The campsite seemed to stretch forever down the Dadford road.

    Good weather helped of course. Enjoyed the first session on Friday at the new Abbey and its excellent entry bump. Lewis was the first to try and really get to grips with it – and flew off three times ! Good lad, at least he is on the edge.

    Saturday sat at Becketts new Grandstand. Much higher than last year and gives an excellent view over Becketts and the new Village/ Loop section. It must have been a fantatic place to sit for Sunday.

    On raceday was back at Abbey Grandstand. Good to see the overtaking attempts into Village / Loop. Very enjoyable race. Well done Mark. The Hispania cars were so slow. Slower than GP2 at the apex of Abbey !

    Why is the pit lane in the new Club/Abbey complex so low ? Even with a grandstand opposite it will not be possible to see the cars, as the pitwall obscures the pitlane as it sits lower than the race track. Check it out please James. I thought the idea was to create a pit lane like Monaco where the main grandstand has a direct view onto the pit lane. Seems odd to me.

    GP2 and GP3 was good to see. Esteban Gutierrez is one to watch for the future especially as Mexican sponsorship money seems to be available.

    Will be back for next year. Saving up for a Sunday seat at Becketts in the very top row !

    1. Hi,

      As one of the design team and specifically the track designer at Populous the answer regarding sightlines to the pitlane is simple. We always love to give great sightlines, that’s why all the stands this year were raised. We prompted, calculated and tested in CAD all the sightlines for Silverstone. For example we made sure this year you could see into the existing pits from the first row of the stand to the back row.

      However the new pits are located where the track level changes 5m over the new start/finish straight. To raise only one end costs in excess of £3 million. Silverstone want to run two pitlanes from a business point of view, hence the location. Therefore the entry of the pitlane is extremely visible as it’s actually higher than the wall and the exit is lower. That said, if you do sit at Abbey you will have an amazing view of the cars exiting the pitlane and arriving at the midpoint of Farm Corner, and a straight drag race to Village will develop. It will add a new and exciting dimension to the pitlane.

      If you want to see the action sit at Club, you may have noticed the building is at an angle relative to the track. This opens the sightline all the way down the pitlane for both Spectators and race control. Only Paul Ricard in France does this and now Silverstone.

      One final comment, the new circuit was designed for not only MotoGP and F1, but it’s designed to work best for next year’s start/finish straight, imagine they can go 2 abrest through Abbey and Farm, much like Copse, Maggotts, Becketts, but arrive at Village at less than half the speed followed by The Loop. Loads of first lap overtaking…..

      Hope you all enjoyed this year, I think next year will only be better. I’ve done the track but my colleagues have designed a stunning 335m long building and the best bit has yet to be built…..

      1. Robert says:

        Thank you Drew for your reply. All going to show that JamesAllenonF1 is read by the F1 insiders.

        Firstly to say that our group really enjoyed the track and new stands. With the walkabout tickets on Friday/Saturday it gives you the chance to see lots of different angles.

        Here are some comments, hope they are useful:

        1. Club. OK I can see how the Club stands will give a good view into the new pitlane. And yes I can see how the height differential from Club to Abbey causes problems.

        2. New building. Looks very interesting. Can’t wait to see it.

        3. Vehicle entry from infield North to infield South looked very narrow and vehicles kicked up a lot of dust / dirt. Where did Montoya hit when he had his crash at Becketts in Testing ? Is that section of the infield crossing protected enough ?

        4. Abbey into Village into Loop. Encouraged overtaking in F1 (not that Vettel was very sucessful on the first 3 attempts !) and in GP2 and GP3. Well done. I knew Felipe was wrong when he said that it would not encourage overtaking.

        5. Don’t let them take out the Abbey bump ! It’s a Masterstroke. From the end of the Friday first session you could see that only the Red Bulls could really handle the corner. There are few places in F1 where the spectator can really tell the difference in pace and handling between the best and worst cars. Abbey is now one of them.

        6. The two new grandstands at Village. Excellent view and close to the action. Would be fun for the race. Preferred the first open grandstand (nearest to Abbey) as the cars approach very close to you and you get a good feel for the braking point (or not – as quite a few drivers demonstrated by running straight on).

        7. Higher Becketts Grandstand. Absolutely Fantastic. Well done. Don’t tell anyone this secret but there is a point in the grandstand where you have full line of sight from:

        Maggots to Stowe corner
        Abbey down to Loop
        Aintree thru National Straight to Brooklands

        What % of the total track is that ? ! Don’t tell Silverstone as they will put the prices up too much for next year !

        8. The Total Becketts Experience. During qualifying it was great. Cars running from right to left, cars coming down to you from Abbey to Village. Cars messing up their Loop exit. It was hard to know where to look. Brilliant.

        I am a lucky chap in that I normally get to the cheap days at Monaco once a year. I sit at the back row of the Swimming Pool grandstand so I can look backwads to Tabac and forwards into Rascasse & the Pit lane. You feel like you are in the centre of the universe with more sights and sound than the human brain can cope with.

        Congratulations, with the new Village/Loop & higher Becketts grandstand. You have achieved the same thing at Silverstone. And naturally us British F1 fans are so slim & good looking that you don’t need all those beautiful Monaco people !

        Robert

    2. LeighJW says:

      Perhaps they will put up mirrored buildings so you can see the pit lane reflected from above?

  30. We have stayed on a small 5 pitch caravan site at Brackley for 7 yrs and driven in never with any issues.i take my 14 yr son so its a boys weekend.the buzz of siverstone is second to none.we have used the farm enclosure every year, in the rain on lewiss mega drive to this years heat.This was the last year at farm as its making way for the platinum new pits grandstands, mega bucks!! any advise on where to veiw from in 2011 similar to the enclose silver ticket price.great f1 fan website james.many thanks

  31. Kylar says:

    One would have thought it would be a weekend free of music and weather bees. But I was wrong. Promises are promises and what should one say of people dont stick from what they agreed upon from their mouth. Its been a semi transparancy weekend but now, the worker bees are on full throttle.

    I love F1 i have lost friends who say they will never watch the sport. I also think there are great thing to come in F1 and im looking forward to Germany.

  32. James W says:

    I’ve only been to Silverstone once, but I would go as far to say it was probably one of the best races ever to have been held there, has to be one of the top 5!

    Went in 2008 as part of a package with a local bus company, with a best mate. It was great, there was a lot of excitment on the coach up there from Plymouth. Could feel the electric atmosphere, and this was only Friday! (We didnt go to friday practice unfortuantely). Although, there was a bit of discontent amongst some members of the coach when word was announced that Silverstone had lost the rights to host the race. Even back then, the day that the British GP was announced to be moved, myself and others questioned whether Donnington’s finances and infrastructure would be good enough to host a GP. Turns out we were right to question it.

    Anyway, Saturday came and we witnessed an excellent qualifying session. Me and my friend sat at bridge, watching the cars take that corner flat out. The noise of the cars, the smell of the rubber and fuel is like nothing I’ve ever experience. Saw Adrian Sutil and Lewis Hamilton go off from where we were watching. It was a scorching day, there were a lot of red faces come the end of the day!

    Then race day. It was pretty wet/damp at our B&B in Hatfield, and every person on the coach has been watching the weather update on the TV prior to leaving. We left with plenty of time to watch the feature races. They were both excellent warm ups to what was an epic race. Me, my friend and a couple of others watched from the Becketts complex, standing on the mound. We got soaked, but it really was worth every penny! Watching Hamilton pull out a breath taking move on Heikki Kovalinein for first place, and then watching him dart off into the distance in the subsequent laps. It was amazing!

    Few things stood out which made this weekend quite a good one.

    - Obviously the whole F1 experience
    - Watching a rabbit/hare coming very close to making contact with Timo Glock’s front wing! The rabbit/hare wandered out on to the track and parked it’s backside on the apex of Becketts (I think). How it escaped I will never know! Watch this vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipDg4lAow5k
    - Unfortunately, I made quite monumental error. I wore a white Raikkonen tshirt on this day, hoping that he’d pick up a much needed win. Of course it didnt happen. That isnt the bad part. I had a huge Ferrari flag with me, but no coat. So, I thought I was being clever when I decided to wrap that flag around myself to try and keep me dry. Big mistake, the red dye from the flag ran, thus giving me a pink Raikkonen top, which I was stuck with until we got home, as the coach left for Plymouth almost straight after the GP. It’s alright though, Vanish stain remover restored the top to it’s white goodness (other products are available! ;) )
    - And then on the way home, the coach broke down. The computer on board shut itself down or something, so we were stuck on the A38 for 20-30 mins before another coach came to rescue us.

    All in all, an excellent weekend. Thoroughlly enjoyed it and would recommend that everyone makes a trip to Silverstone at least once. I would like to next year if possible when the paddock is complete.

  33. newnhamlea1 says:

    I have literally just noticed dan in the background of one of my photos from the vodafone event, lol.

  34. Highlights?

    Asking DC about the wisdom (or otherwise) of Virgin’s approach to CFD at the Santander Q&A…
    Bumping (literally) into Louise Goodman…
    My brother bagging us a spot at the front near the 50m board on Hangar straight at 4:30am (and letting me sleep in until 6!)…
    Marvelling at how the Safety cars thrash around the track as quickly as they can (yet look like they’re having a Sunday drive compared to everything else)…
    Seeing Jarno Trulli cane it around the track on a bicycle in full Tour de France style gear while Stefano Domenicali struggled in his Ferrari duds on a Mountain bike…
    Seeing EJ call the camping crowd a bunch of fair-weather friends [mod] for supporting LH more than JB after quali…
    Walking the track after the race collecting some tyre rubber and fragments of Pedro de la Rosa’s rear wing, plus checking out the grid, pit lane, etc – and witnessing a spot of mechanic camaraderie as they pelted eggs and tomatoes at some poor guy who they’d fastened to trolley…

    Oh, and the race was pretty good too ;) In fact, it was amazing, especially the buzz on lap 1 as the entire field streamed past in about 4 seconds.

    Man, this was one of the best weekends of my life :)

  35. Dan M says:

    My first trip to Silverstone was due to be qualifying for the 2000 race. Unfortunately on the Friday we got the news that the public car parks were to be closed, and sadly we couldn’t go. Obviously I was devastated and my father took me to the Goodwood FoS as compensation. I think we scored well there, seeing Jenson in his first year, and Johnny Herbert (on his birthday I seem to remember) playing in his Jaguar. Another highlight was seeing a certain Mike Gascoyne getting into one of his then Jordan cars and then promptly stuffing it into the bales before getting to the first corner.

    Well it’s been 10 years waiting to get to Silverstone, and this year I was presented with 2 general admission tickets for my father and me as a birthday present. We started out at a mild 5:30am, getting there with plenty of time and enjoying a short walk from the car to the gates. Walked up to copse, and enjoyed the GP3 cars from the exit of copse and then moved on to the Maggots/Becketts complex. We stationed ourselves at the base of the grandstand opposite Becketts, where we could just about see the cars on the infield section and accelerating onto both Hanger, and Wellington straights.

    10:00am and the first cars come streaming through, I’d forgotten how loud they are! Such an amazing sound, it blew the GP3s and Porsches away! Even managed to see Mark Webber with the new front wing on his car!

    Thankfully no rain, and apparently the wind, even though it was strong enough to knock you back against the railings of grandstand in a gust, was fairly mild for Silverstone. It was really something seeing the cars coming through at full pelt, finding their braking points, hearing them change down and then rocket out of Chapel. Was really interesting comparing the speeds. For some reason both Renaults seemed far faster through Maggots and Becketts, but backed off more through Chapel. The 6 new cars seemed disappointingly slow in comparison, more so for the driver I suppose though. Even so, it was a joy to see Lotus pulling through and even though Trulli had very limited running, pulling a decent lap out of the bag and then completing the race on Sunday. Congratulations to Mike, Tony, Heikki, Jarno and the rest of the Lotus team for a great race for them!

    After quali, we walked down to Stowe for the start of the GP2 race. Again the sound of the cars, this time altogether of course, was epic. A dizzying sight seeing them fly past straight into Stowe. We made our way round again, eventually ending up back on the pit straight just as the Formula BMW cars went on their parade lap. Ducked into the grandstand, which was now starting to empty, just opposite the podium, and finish line. Formula BMW not quite as loud, but just as impressive. One young driver taking a slightly scenic route, getting some air, and losing his floor at one point. While not watching the cars, we were just in the right position to see through into the paddock, see who was still in the pitlane and which teams had already closed up for the night. We could also see the drivers walking through signing autographs and giving interviews, and also caught the Grid girls walking past too. Just as the Formula BMW race was over, the safety car stopped on the pit straight, and the wall was opened up. A small gaggle of people came onto the track, including one driver in a white/silvery race suit. A look back through the binoculars revealed it was Jenson, with I’m assuming a prize winner, Gave us all a quick wave and then jumped into the safety car. Took it for a 3 lap spin around the track and then hopped back out, giving another wave to the remaining crowd. eave me slightly frustrated that we couldn’t be the other side of the pitwall, and that a car like that Merc SLS AMG will never be within my grasp.

    Definitely getting tickets next year, and after hearing about all the exploits on the campsites, probably will be amongst them next time around. For Sure not going to leave it another 10 years before going again!
    Who knows, maybe grandstand tickets next year, or maybe if I’m incredibly lucky something more.

    Keep up the great work JA, some really insightful thoughts!

  36. Andrew Jones says:

    Not been to Silverstone since 2003, and thought it was a great weekend this year, and the race did not disappoint, but did anyone think that the F1 Village was a bit of a letdown? Only Santander and Vodafone had promotional stands and the rest seemed to be food stalls and merchandise. I seemed to remember there was more brand promotional events in previous years from all of the big sponsors. Is this is a sign of budget cuts or am I remembering previous years with tinted glasses?

  37. jonrob says:

    Let’s not forget the great years at Brands as well.
    Mansell flat out, on the edge, dodging the mobile chicanes. The huge errupting plumes of white smoke from the turbos as they blew up regularly. The Harrier hovering too low and blowing all the trades stands over. The Vulcan giving about 250 simultaneous heart attacks as it went on full bore after creeping over the hill behind the crowd, throttled right back. The back way in to the circuit. The mechanics stand on Paddock hill bend.

  38. Gary D says:

    This was my 10th Silverstone at my prime age of 26. By far the best ever year due to my jammy-ness. Usually I sit at woodcote and I get there early Wednesday and stay to monday – apart from great fun and racing I go home a happy man.

    This year though, an old friend got me into the paddock where I had a tasty coke in the mclaren brand centre!! Lewis was just walking through on his way to do his lap walk and came over and said hello, which was nice. Vernon Kay was also in there on his mobile….. tempting to say something but managed to keep mouth closed! saw sauber practising pitstops and got loads of great photos…. a great time!

    On the saturday, a guy that we do business with has a paddock suite and as their contract finished this year, he dicided to get us all in after qualifying to have a look round. Low and behold I bumped into Mr James Allen (Just for your memory James – I was wearing the hat shaped like a roast chicken!!) who complimented my attire, but quickly took it back and gave me a look that I had escaped from the local home! that said it was a pleasure meeting you as I have been a big fan of yours for years. I was so nervous meeting you though, instead of saying the previous, I asked a stupid question “are you asking the questions after the race?!?!” but hey never mind. in the end though, I also met Sir Jackie Stewart and Ant Luizzi – both of them happy to sign the chicken! Karun Chandock actually asked if I would swap hats with him, to which I refused, so fair play he gave me one of his signed hats – he was a top chap. I will tell you all now that Alonso did look at the chicken, but was happy to keep at least 3 metres distance from me!

    after all that excitement, we were gifted with a great race with plenty of on and off track action and a great stepping stone for the 2nd half of the season. Next gp’s for me are Spa then Monza……. If they are as 25% as good as Silverbury then Im in for a treat!

    1. James Allen says:

      The chicken hat man!

      1. Gary D says:

        Yes indeed!! Long story but everyone seems to love it when I walk around Silverstone and other GP’s so its here to stay. Had an Italian chap show me a picture from his camera he took of me in Monza 2008 that he still had on there – that was funny but a bit weird!

        As per the above comment though, I log onto your site everyday from work to catch up with all the latest news and your respective and informed views. Keep up the great work.

  39. monktonnik says:

    This was my first formula 1 race, and the experience was so fantastic I can assure that it won’t be my last.

    I attended all three days and I have a few brief thoughts.

    The traffic management and parking/park and ride facilities were excellent on all days. I presume that this is an improvement from what has gone before, but it beats much smaller events hands down (a Friday night at Newmarket,Bon Jovi at the Milton Keynes Bowl and exiting the exhibitors car park at the Hampton Court Flower Show spring to mind).

    You can really get a sense of the different driving styles, particularly round Luffield. I completely get what JA says about MSC not looking comfortable.

    Silverstone has a lot of different viewing points and the roving tickets on Friday and Saturday really give you an opportunity to see a variety of different corners. I really enjoyed watching the Porsches practicing on Friday afternoon from the Farm grandstand.

    No, supermodels do not hang out in the public areas (damn!).

    Formula 1 cars are ******* loud!

    It really was a great experience. I am definately going to save up for next year, even if it is only to take my son for the Friday practice. I honestly thought that I would get bored at some point, particularly on Sunday afternoon, but it was just gripping from start to finish.

    Thank you Silverstone!

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