Four winners of the JA on F1/Shell Ultimate F1 Road Trip competition have driven down to Spa Francorchamps and were in the circuit for qualifying day.
Based in hospitality at the foot of Eau Rouge, they watched practice and qualifying from the grandstand at the side of Eau Rouge. Afterwards they had a chance to tour the F1 paddock and went into the Ferrari garage and the Shell track lab. Here is Anil’s account of his day.
Anil writes: “Shortly after qualifying, we all waited inside the Shell hospitality area for a brief appearance from Ferrari’s Alonso. In typical celebrity fashion however he was running late, so we took the opportunity to make a trip through the Formula 1 paddock.
“Ironically, as we waited to get in, Alonso briskly walked right past us…where had he been 10 minutes earlier?! Needless to say, the opportunity to walk through the paddock was exceptional. For those unaware (including me until our visit) the Belgian GP paddock is split into two sections: the first for the motorhomes and the second for the garages. We walked through hoping to do some driver spotting, which was easier than we all thought when we witnessed our very own James Allen interviewing Mark Webber!
“Moving toward the garages and the V-Power Track Lab, we got to see the Pirelli guys doing some serious work with the used tyres all the teams have to hand back to the FIA. Whilst this happened, an exhausted Felipe Massa jogged past us (should’ve taken that Ferrari jacket off Felipe!) and I even managed to get a wink from Ted Kravitz…Brilliant!
“Next up was the Ferrari garage and the Shell V-Power Track lab. Having just finished at degree in Chemistry, I have to say I was particularly looking forward to learning about the fuel Shell provide Ferrari and the work and research that goes into making improvements to it. We all probed with questions and definitely learnt a thing or two as well; did you know that Shell blend 120,000 litres of fuel a year?! Incredible.
“Even more incredible was seeing one of Fernando’s fuel samples sat right in front me! They were clearly keeping a close eye on it but I managed to grab a picture with it (with their permission, of course) before I left. The lab itself was amazingly detailed with loads of fuel and oil samples dotted around the place, reminding me of the lab work I did during my degree. ‘You’ve got an amazing job’, I told one of the scientists. ‘I’m one of the few lucky ones’, he replied. He’s got that right!”