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More Silverstone Fan stories: The Glastonbury of Formula 1
More Silverstone Fan stories: The Glastonbury of Formula 1
Posted By: James Allen  |  13 Jul 2010   |  11:55 pm GMT  |  13 comments

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.

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Suggestion for your next competition – the amount of times the phrase “for sure” is said on the BBC over a GP weekend.

Richard Smillie

Vodaphone were particularly good this year, even going so far as to provide all vodaphone customers a free piece of Hamilton/Buttons race suit as worn in the Bahrain GP. That sort of thing make me feel valued. Santander had both Button and Hamilton make an appearance so fair play to them.

I have attended Silverstone for the last seven years and I have noticed a steady decline in ‘outside track’ entertainment for fans. There used to be stands for all teams but now there are only merchandise stalls that all sell the same things.

That said, if you have the experience and know the tricks you can find ways of entertaining yourself. For example if you take a 10 minute walk to from the Copse stand to the nearby Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Golf Club then you will meet most drivers without having to fight through crowds. I went at 7pm on the Saturday night and stood right outside the hotel door. From this location I obtained the autographs of Alonso, Massa, Liutzi, Domenicali, Heidfeld, both Virgin drivers and both renault drivers. Also, make sure you go into the centre of the circuit as soon as they open it up. Dont bother going to the after race party straight away, instead go towards the Paddock Shop (behind the pit complex) and get autographs/shake hands with some legends. I did this and managed to obtain photos and autographs from 9 drivers, Amir Khan, Sir Jackie Stewart, Michael Essien, Most team principals, Charlie Whiting, and wait for it……….James Allen! Fantastic.

Heres another trick, go to the Whittlebury Hall Hotel, and check out the supercars in the carpark. Those with Paddock passes in the window usually belong to the teams and drivers. Read the passes and you will see which car belongs to which driver. Then when the centre of the track opens up, go to the same car, and wait for your desired driver to turn up. This way you can almost guarantee getting a photo with your favourite driver, and there is no other fan spoiling the shot.

Anyway, best do some work now.

Keep up the good work James, and thanks again for my autograph.

stephanie isherwood

Agree regarding the access to drivers but Mercedes also made the effort. Saturday afternoon Nick Heidfeld, Nico Rosberg and Michael Scchumacher made an appearance and I managed to get autographs from all 3 as did many others


back in 2000 I had an amazing Silverstone, although not sure many did due to the mud

My wife bought me tickets for our wedding anniversary and got one for my friend who wasnt as mad on F1 but my wife thought I shouldn’t go alone (she knows me well)

The stand was Luffield

Saturday morning came and I sat with bacon rolls at home in Scotland watching the qualifying with my bags all packed in the car, all I had to do was watch the qualy then jump in the car for the 6 hour drive to Northampton.

What I hadn’t done was book any accommodation for us thinking we would find a B&B when I arrive about 9pm…. (no chance it turns out)

We got to Northampton and everywhere was booked, we felt a bit silly as we should have thought it would be

Thinking we would sleep in the car, we stopped at a Little Chef a few miles from Silverstone for coffee.

The waitress came over with out coffee’s then about 20 mins later came over with more by mistake, I asked her if she knew of any hotels or B&B that might have a spare room to book, she said no chance, everywhere would have been boked up months prior…

Then she asked for my mobile, she said if she could use my mobile she would phone her mum and see if we could stay in their spare room!

I replied saying not to be silly ou can’t invite 2 strange guys (not that we were strange lol) into their home, we would just sleep in the car…..but she insisted… so she phoned.

She came back saying, if we didn’t mind one of us having to sleep on the floor, then we could stay with them…. I thought she was mad but she insisted so she gave us directions…. it was litterly just down the road and up a little street, and her mum was standing at the front door waving for us, a cute little cottage/farm house.

In we went, they made us so welcome and showed us to our room. We were sooo thankful

In the morning we had cooked breakfast and coffee!!! (I thought I was dreaming)

Asking for directions to the circuit she explained they lived right across the road from the entrance which leads right up to Lufield stands, we could leave our car outside their house. We walked right in, watched the FP warmups, support race, ad I wandered right around the circuit.

Race finished, Coulthard won right after his plane crash.

We left the circuit, just a 5 minute walk out (while everyone was stuck in mud) jumped in the car and missed all the traffic. Got home to Scotland, and on the news people were still stuck getting out, I was home just in time to watch the highlights!

Was the best weekend ever, and I am so thankful to that family who put us up!


Great story, thanks


Well it is save to say Sean does drive how he drives in his simulation driving on iRacing & rFactor – cuts the hell out of the track and kamui bombs down the inside.

F1 at Silverstone is a festival and its a shame that FOTA are not bringing anything to the onsite facilities. Only Santander and Vodafone really bothered. Each team should without a doubt have a car stand with various bits to do at each one. Fair enough new entrants may struggle for the first year such as Hispania.

Even mclaren couldn’t be bothered to bring a stand this year. Bridgestone didn’t bother and it was just Santander with the same 2004 Ferrari that Bridgestone had and last years mclaren.

BMW made an image straight away with starting with the pitlane park. Its a shame that silverstone is spending all this money and the teams cant be bothered to bring more to the fans when at the track.

How hard is it for Red Bull to get a couple of models and have go out with red bull either selling or freebies.

Heck Fosters had dudes going around the track with barrels on there back selling beer back in the day. Even after they went they still had an unbranded guy walking around Abbey.


I very much hope this will come in the next few years. The BRDC have got a long term contract now, and correctly the first focus goes to the track and pitlane. Once this is done, I guess the next step is exactly this. To create more interactivity for the fans.

We all love football and have a kick around after going to watch a game…heh someone could even buy some gloves an go between the posts…but can we try to fit a wheel to a car in 4 secs? Can we try lift one of those fuel rigs and get it on first go? Can we all have a go on a genuine F1 simulator? I guess not. I did see some free arcade machines behind stowe to be fair, but it was exactly that, an arcade machine. This really is where we need to see an improvement.

On a good note, next year F1 gets its own pitlane, so maybe therefore the BRDC take the opportunity to allow access to the support race paddock, so we can see the GP2, GP3, PCC cars, drivers and teams from nearby.


I really like the term “The Glastonbury of Formula 1”! I have been to both Glasto and the British GP a number of times and I agree the atmosphere at the British GP is befitting the title you have bestowed upon it!

Your blog has become my main resource for unbiased F1 related news, please keep up the good work James!


His second suggestions is spot on.

From our TVs/internet we should have different tiers where the expectator could select/deselect what he/she wants to watch/listen.

The information is there however the usage is very poor from FOM. Being in 2010 and having the F1 as the most hi-tech sport of the planet is just embarrassing.


Good to hear your competition winner had such a great time.

But how did Cosworth have an extra 15hp? What happened to the engine freeze?


Thanks for the report Ibrahim, and to James of course for posting it. I agree with your two requests. Just getting the team radio talk would be fantastic and would really fill in a lot of the blanks.


This is from 1985 and as others are telling their stories of previous years I thought I would share this with you.

Friday was very wet. The tempory grandstands at Woodcote in those days had a canvas roof. Sitting at the back we noticed that the roof had started to bulge with the volume of water.

A couple of minutes later a terrible ripping sound was heard and 2 days worth of rainfall landed on the heads of a young couple in the middle row !! – You could not hear the noise of the cars because of the laughter ! – They could not have been wetter if they had jumped in a lake !

I also remember in 1983 a group of lad had come prepared. They had constructed a tower of scaffolding on the Woodcote banking to the height of about 20 feet (Health and safety ha not been invested then). The best bit of it was that in order they did not need to go up and down to get a drink, they had a Keg and were gassing it to the top ! Now thats they way to watch the GP !


Ibrahim’s a friend of mine and I am glad both him and Mo had a good time at Silverstone. I too was also there shame we missed each other but excellent stuff guys.

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