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Silverstone 2011: F1 fan reflections
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jul 2011   |  11:20 pm GMT  |  64 comments

This year through various competitions and initiatives, JA on F1 sent 14 F1 fans to the British Grand Prix, who would not have been able to go otherwise.

And we also ran a competition for a JA on F1 reader to have use of a Fanvision G3 handheld device for the weekend.

Ian Joyner was the lucky winner of that one and here is his feedback:

Ian Joyner writes: “With the combination of a half wet track and this year’s Pirelli-enduced multiple pitstop races, the G3 made all the difference in being able to read the race as it unfolded. There were several points where it proved particularly useful, but to save this becoming War & Peace, here are just three:

1. In the hope that Hamilton would be on the move on lap 1, I switched to his onboard camera for the start, so I got to see him dive around the outside of several drivers at turn 3 long before the main TV feed picked this up – this was one of many times where I confused those sitting around me as they couldn’t see what I was getting so animated about.

2. The timing page made for interesting reading during the first stint, as aside from seeing Vettel stretching out his lead at that point, it was good to see which drivers were really hanging it out through the wet middle sector. After seeing Schumacher go by minus his front wing, I switched to his onboard camera to see if he’d make the switch to slicks whilst having a new front wing fitted…which he duly did. Then it was a switch back to the timing screen to monitor his progress. Clearly the teams were doing the same as the moment his sectors started going green/purple they started trickling in for their own changes to dry tyres.

3. That pitstop: from my seat at Stowe I had a clear view of the pitlane entry; upon seeing Jenson dive in for his stop it was another switch to his onboard camera. This granted me a prime live view of his right front wheel making a bid for freedom… ’nuff said!

In summary, the Fanvision G3 is laid out in an intuitive way, and its controls can be comfortably operated by a single thumb – you’ll easily be able to master it within the time of a practice session or support race. Battery life is good and I did not suffer any reception issues at any point during the weekend. If there was a negative point, and I am nitpicking here, it was that the feed had about a 1.5 second delay from what was being shown and discussed on the circuit’s big screens – in a sport measured in thousands of a second, this is perhaps a little too much.

All-in-all a great unit, great customer support and invaluable information for seasoned racegoers and newbies alike

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One of the perks of winning a competition courtesy of Santander and funnily enough, won at the FOTA Fans Forum at McLaren last month, hosted by James Allen was that I was given a FREE Fanvision every day. It was not the G3 but was actually one of the old Kangaroo TV’s from last year, but was a great tool none the less. I was able to enjoy live timing as I usually do from the comfort of my own home. Another good point is that lots of people say you can only see one part of the circuit, the Fanvision put those people criticizing to shame as I was able to follow the any car I wanted onboard or even 4 at once or the normal TV footage for the whole race whilst listening to the BBC 5 Live Commentary.

It is a great thing to have at the Grand Prix so I need to win another competition or save up a fair bit of money if I want access to one next year.


Autosport magazine this week says that ecclestone ruled that the pitlane configuration must be turned around.silverstone had put the top team garages at the high end to allow some of the grandstands to see in, but this was no good for the paddock club,as they would only .overlook the lower end teams as ever Mr ecclestone has the interests of the general f1 fan at heart.


Some comments, having traveled to Montreal in 2010 and 2011 and just returned from Silverstone:

I used the Fanvision rentals at both tracks. Sitting in Grandstand 11 at Senna Curve in Montreal, I didn’t really need it because there are 2 large TV screens available. I had some reception problems as well, had to reboot the device several times. Had a seat in the Woodcote grandstand at Silverstone. The Fanvision device worked to perfection and was required because the only viewable TV screen was far away across the track at Luffield. If you plan to wander around a track to watch the cars at different points, it’s a valuable tool unless you want to carry your iPad.

Attended the Fan Forum in Montreal. For any F1 fan, if you ever have the opportunity to attend a Forum, don’t miss it. Not only is James a terrific moderator, the conversations with team principals, drivers, and other team members provide invaluable information about the sport. One of my best experiences in 40 years as a F1 fan.

The entire experience at Silverstone was exhilarating, despite the rumblings about the new track configuration. A little more difficult to get there than Montreal, where most take the Metro and then walk, in my case, for about two miles before I get to my seat. But I won’t soon forget the drive through the English countryside, through the hedges and past the cows and sheep grazing just minutes from the track. Parking on Friday was close, across the bridge from the Wing, and that allowed me to cover a lot of territory at the track, watching practice at Copse, Abbey, and along Hangar Straight. Off-site parking on Saturday and Sunday was convenient and the buses provided efficient transportation to and from the track. There are many locations around Silverstone where you can get much closer to the track than at Montreal, and the wider track, higher speed, and better turns made for a memorable experience. Also, the roving seating on the Friday and Saturday were much better than Canada where you’re stuck to one place for the weekend. British fans are certainly passionate about motor racing. They vociferously cheered for Button and Hamilton but were very polite and also cheered for other drivers. I was pleasantly surprised on Sunday when everyone stood and clapped at the end of the GP2 races too!


Hi James,

I actually tried to find your email but couldn’t, so I am posting here about F1 coverage in general. Feel free to take it out, but seeing you have influence, I would like to get your opinion and other ppl’s opinion of this. Perhaps you can write a blog about F1 Coverage and Pay TV with a poll.

I agree with some people’s opinion that F1 not making enough money. Here is some points you can take to the media or to Bernie himself to convince him that F1 can survive using the Pay TV model

At the moment, F1 coverage (particularly outside of the UK), is ordinary to say the least.

I believe that a hybrid style coverage could work. That is, have the standard Free to air coverage but also have a paid service where subscribers would receive the following:

1. A totally interactive experience

2. Have the option to view any of the 50 plus camera views on the track – including driver cams. They can switch to any camera view at any time. They can be their own broadcasting director, selecting what they wanted to watch. Some programming directors have been shocking, missing out on exciting battles.

3. Live statistics such as laptimes, driver locations on the track, telemetry etc Also, driver positions similar to the San Pualo iPhone F1 App.

4. All the driver interviews after the race.

5. F1 Forum ( similar to BBC’s Red Button) after the race.

6. Polls and interactive games

All streams would be live. Interactivity could be using a remote on a TV, otherwise, have everything available on the internet.

This service MUST be available to International viewers.

I know I would pay for this – hundreds of dollars if need be and just for F1 coverage. I will outrightly say that I would be happy to pay for Helmet cams for Alonso and Webber – about $50 per race I feel would be reasonable. I guess users could choose which driver they wanted to follow – at $25 per driver per race.

I simply am not getting enough from the F1 coverage. I get an ad interrupted race and a shortened version of the press conference (I’m not in the UK). No F1 Forum, no driver interviews, nothing. I am craving for more and so are the fans. Yes I will be willing to pay for it!

With over 500 million viewers world wide, F1 could be a real earner (we are talking in the billions with double figures!).




I didn’t take part in any of these competitions for various domestic reasons but it’s really good to read the feedback, which represent further examples of the value of this website.


Hi James

Any thoughts on a South African GP? Here in South Africa the rumors are runnig high. You think Bernie would bring it here? Maybe a post on future F1 venues between now and 2014? I have never been to a F1 race before and to have one here in Cape Town would be a dream come true!

I think these devices is a great idea it must really enhance the experience of the spectator. Especially hearing Ian story.

Thanks for the great posts!



Africa is the one continent which is missing. And business friends tell ‘me that there is a lot going on there at the moment, plenty of money around


I Went to Silverstone this year with a group of friends, I had booked a fanvision when I booked my race tickets, they are worth every penny to rent. Of the 5 of us in our gruop, 3 of us had a fanvision so we could all use one. The G2 unit was very good as it has a flip stand on the back and is comfortable to hold, the only problem I could see was the aerial is a bit bendy and I was paranoid I would break it!

I loved the quadview, and the timing screens were great to watch to see their pace after pitstops, especially when Schumacher switched to slicks, also I found it great that you could watch the HRT’s, Virgins and lotus’ onboard, as we dont get much of that on the main feed, It was great to see the comparison between their performance against the top teams.

I prefered not to watch the main feed on it, except for replays, because of the 1.5, 2 second delay between the unit and the main feed on the big screens, and we had a great view of one of the big screens.

The best thing abonut the fanvision is you could listen to the BBC 5 live commentary, because the silverstone circuits commentary through the PA system was rubbish!

I think the circuit could have used either the 5 live commentary or the BBC Brundle/Coulthard commentary instead, because all weekend I, and the others I was with didnt like the commentary from the Circuit PA system.

Overall it is well worth it, it is also useful too for the support races, because I cant see the support races on tv, so it is difficut to follow it closely as F1, and the fanvision helped alot in helping me follow the support races without getting lost and not knowing what was going on.


So, if all this content is available via this device, why not make it available worldwide via the web? I am sure there is plenty of money to be made for the owners of this content by offering a per GP or a whole season paid access to this content over the web, and this way those uf us who for whatever reason can’t attend a specific GP can have this experience.


I have used fan vision (kangaroo tv) for many years and until this year had been very impressed. However, this year the staff seemed very disorganised on the Friday morning so much so I missed the start of first practice and have to dive in the nearest stand. I found the feed was alot more delayed than in previous years taking upto a lap and a half to update from the pitstops. Not sure if I’ll bother next year.

To the discussion of the pitfall I believe for some reason the fia decided to change it round. Red bull should of been at the other end and then the teams in sequence.

Perhaps the Fia wanted to make sure everybody could see the merc. safety car. Could this be part of the contact ?

I also felt let down by the facilities the volume of people has meant a focus on club where there’s less food and toilets. I hope this gets sorted for next year as I’ve already got my ticket 😉

From a loyal silverstone fan (every race since 1998)


Hi James,

Just some feedback from me as I was at the GP:

Great work by Silverstone on the wing and the access to the track was very good.

Overall a fantastic weekend and great to be up close to the new complex. Watching the cars nearly flat out into turn one was fantastic.


I was lucky enough to be seated in the Abbey grandstand thanks to Santander, and I have to say that many people in the grandstand inc myself and my guests were really dissapointed with the very high pitwall which didnt allow us to see the mclaren, redbull, mercedes & ferrari garages. Im sure many people paid alot of money for those seats and it was a major let down not being able to view the pit garages considering how close we were. We couldnt even see the lawn area until we saw on the screens – we couldnt tell that there even was a lawn.

For me, I think if I had to be critical of the organisers, then that would be my major dissapointment.

James, have you heard any murmurs about the very high pitwall during the weekend & if there are any plans to eventually deal with it?

I know Martin Whitmarsh brought up the subject which was great as he really was thinking of the fans opposite.


THey will build a high grandstand I understand


Wouldn’t it be possible to switch positions in the pitlane?

Red Bull 1st instead of last etc?

That way, the main teams would be highly visible. The only problem with this is that next year, Williams will be obscured of course.


Believe it was planned to have the teams the other way round in the pit lane, but this was changed a week before the race – not by Silverstone.


Sometimes, the topography doesn’t allow you to do all the things you want.

Winners are more popular than losers and whilst I have thed utmost respect for the likes of Marussia Virgin and Hispania Racing, I guess more people support Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.


The problem with switching positions is that there will always be some teams whose garages will be totally obscured.

Its not fair for fans of those teams as many people would purposely buy grandstand tickets across from the wing just so that they can see closely their teams working away.

Its a big design flaw of the pits imo.


Nice one

But to be honest james…Im not sure that building the grandstand higher will make much difference unless the randstand resembles a skyscraper.

Its just a real shame that this basic issue was not considered prior to constructing

– but heyho…lets see what happens.

-Thanks james


I work in an UK based IPTV ISP and have worked closely with the broadcast teams. Therefore I would like to point out the the 1.5 second delay is almost certainly not the devices fault. This delay will be introduced by the tv feed going through the video encoders at the broadcast end. No real way around it really.

You can see a similar effect by switching between a satellite based bbc channel and a freeview one.

THe main feed from the bbc will basically split out and go over 2x or more different network links to say sky, vigin, talktalk etc. After that they will reencode it to whatever spec they desire and send it out to customers. Different encodings and network designs will effect the time to get to the end user. Not by a lot but some.


Silverstone does have something special to it..even the drivers talk about it.. i just found this video of Lewis and Jenson:

Haven’t yet been there but hopefully next year!



A bit off topic, but I have been following your website for a while now, and I can see the popularity rising as more improvements are made to your site and its contents. Please keep up the excellent work and the trend of covering angles other sites and pundits fail to cover, especially the tech front. I am always fascinated by the analysis.

By the way, am I the only one who nearly missed half of the British GP due to the TAG HEUER Countdown to the next race timer being out of sync? I live in +7 GMT, and if I were not so lazy, I could have calculated the real starting time converted to my local time. But my frequent visit to your site and looking at that clock nearly made me miss the first hour! Lucky I had my TV turned on early!



Probably you might be able to dig on this with FOM. Is there any plan to do something similar on the Internet?

F1 website shows very little information and no video feeds, I would love, like many fans, to be able to follow the race on similar fashion.


Read the Bernie interview on Saturday on the site


The fan vision sounds really good. Its a great shame we can’t have that in the TV feed. Being able to switch to different cars we want to follow.

BBC do exceptional job and it is absolutely appalling all they are given is that one feed by FOM which sometimes seems to miss everything. For instance on Sunday had to wait ages for the replay to see what happened with Schumacher and Kobyashi.

With all the cameras FOM has at a track I cannot understand why they don’t make more available to the viewers instead of their one viewing feed that tries to cover everything but ends up nearly missing everything in the process.

I definitely don’t want Newscorp having anything to do with F1 but can’t understand why FOM doesn’t get their act together.


Have always hired FanVision, pre-booked (and they’re exploring the possibility of home delivery – would be great!). Watched from the Club Silverstone stand – awesome, and the combination was brilliant.. just a shame about the mud at Woodlands =(


I was at Silverstone for my first GP this year and I did have a look at renting one of these as I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the race – however sitting at Luffield with a big screen in front, a timing board, and 5Live in my ears, I didn’t feel like I missed out.

If anything, having a Fanvision would make you miss out on certain aspects of the F1, like the atmosphere of sharing a moment with a grandstand full of fans who all find out about something at the same time…


Your experience is the exception that confirms the rule.

I’ve been to seven GPs so far and only managed to survive with out it in Melbourne (where GA ticket holders have a giant screen between turns 2 and 3).

However, from where we were sitting in KL, the screen was so small we were glad to have our units.

Check if you can see the TV screen on the pits:!/photo.php?fbid=196184747084057&set=a.196183307084201.37333.177636472272218&type=1&theater

Find out what the view is going to be like if you choose different seats or a different venue.


These are the first thing I go for when arriving at the GP. It truly does provide the best of both worlds… the information with the smell and noise of the sport. But I do not get to go to enough GP’s and watch many from the arm Chair… so here is a great solution…

An Interneta based FanVision solution that gives the options for all the cameras, timing sheets and race video on-line at a reasonable fee.

Now that I would pay for.



Agreed, F1 always say they are trying to improve the show, well surely this would be a great oportunity. I know there are a few bits of technology in place like the bbc driver tracker and the timing app for the iphone, but been able to choose an on board camera on a website would be excellent! I would have loved to watch Schumachers 1st lap on slicks, or the last few laps of Jenson in Canada.

Bernie, if you’re reading make it happen!!!


James, This site has progressed to the stage of a valuable F1 resource. The site gives the feeling of being so close to the information in F1. Just the best. Well done. Thankyou for your work.


Thanks very much.


The portable tv is invaluble at the race track but I find the free official timing app for iPhone or android to be the beat for the timing screens. The handheld tv is the nuts for following the race and you choose the camera and not some director.


FanVision (nee KangarooTV) units are a must for anyone attending grands prix.

One the excuses I often hear from people who love the sport but don’t even consider coming to the race because they have a much better understanding of the race at home in front of their TV rather at the track.

As Ian says, this is always funny when you see what’s going on at the other end of the track and others don’t. I’ve only rented G2 units so far, but the Quad view is the one I prefer. The main TV feed is in the top left corner and other three spots are random onboard cameras. The ability to switch to any desired driver onboard camera is great too.

The FanVision unit makes you very popular when hanging aroung the General Admission areas, where usually, there is little access to a giant TV screen. It’s a great way to engage with other fans at the track.

I just wish FanVision also covered MotoGP.


And I wish MOTOGP was interesting enough to warrant it. Only 15 bikes and only a couple of teams within a sniff of winning makes it very dull these days.

I miss Schwantz and Rainey!!


I miss Valentino, but that’s another story. =)

The thing is still about understanding what is going on at the other end of the circuit, whether F1, MotoGP or Le Mans.


Can I also had that you get the great BBC Radio Five Live commentary from David Croft, Ant Davidson, Ted Kravitz and Karun Chandhok (occasionally).

A life saver when going to places such as Malaysia or Japan.


How does “fanvision” differ from the “Kangaroo” sets?


The G2 unit is the old KangarooTV one rebranded (they stuck a piece of plastic with the FanVison logo over the KangarooTV one).

The G3 unit is new for 2011 and has only FanVision branding.

So far, I have only rented from them but I understand these new units are superior (bigger screen and better functionality) but are for purchasing only (for the cost of five rentals and it may not work next year).


please pardon my ignorance…but will this fanvision device be available on the Singaporian GP?? I’m planning to go there..

And it is available for rent,right? We don’t have to buy the device?

Thanks in advance..Cheers…


You can either buy a G3 unit (but need to attend 5 grands prix in 2011 to make it worth the purchase) or rent a G2 unit.

Tip: they have limited availability at the track and it is cheaper to book on their website: (James, I assume it is OK to post the URL?).

Last year, they had three collection points located in the F1 Village in Zone 1, under the Bay grandstand in Zone 3 and the F1 Village in Zone 4.

See you in Singapore mate.


Thanks for the infos James and Damien..will make my booking as soon as I confirm my airplane ticket to Singapore..Can’t wait ’til September.. 🙂


As far as I know they are at all events. Certainly the ‘big’ ones like Singapore, Monza, Silverstone Monaco etc.


Good on you James.


I didn’t like the new Silverstone layout,it was boring.Abbey,Farm straight,Bridge & Priory were part of what gave SS its flavour,”without DRS”..These Tilke style changes have to end IMO,they’re rubbish.Just finished reminiscing via YouTube the old Hockenheimring,what a magnificent circuit,1960’s designers had far more imagination than today’s bore’s.Minus DRS & Kers notice the best races of the season come via the old pre Tilke circuits,Aus,Ita,Can,Bra,Bel,Jap.”Whats going on”!!


In the 60’s people died driving dangerous circuits. They don’t now. It’s about imagination Versus safety. The modern circuits also have to host other events (bikes, etc)that are not F1, to make a buck and stay in the black. It’s a compromise situation.


So you’re saying Spa and Suzuka are still dangerous? For bikes and cars?

Those circuits are amazing, yet still safe.

Circuits need to have some character in them, perhaps with some idiosyncrasies built in through less-precise design methods. How were the classic circuits designed? Certainly not in 3D CAD.

Also, safety has more to do with what is off the racing surface, not what is on it. They can still have tons of run-off, but it’s the racing surface itself that needs more excitement.

That being said, I still think Silverstone is a great track, and I think the new corners are great to watch the cars on. The same can’t be said for China, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.


Tilke didn’t design this circuit.


He said “Tilke style”.

Typical comment nitpicking one detail and then missing the point completely.


I have to agree with some of that. I used to love the old Hockenheim, seeing cars whip through the forest. Plant some trees around the China circuit and maybe just maybe in 20 years it won’t look as bleak as all these new tracks looping around desert or industrial wasteland.


I guess the point of the orginal post was to complain that things change. !

Whilst i’m the first to lay all the worlds problems at the door of Herman Tilke, this time he had absolutly nothing what so ever to do with the changes to Silverstone. You cannot claim these are Tilke style track changes because it was done by an English companny with a brief to make it safe for the Moto GP boys.

It is so far removed from a Tilke Style circuit now as to be in a different country.

Tracks change, they evolve. You can be a Luddite and claim “they ain’t as good as they used to be” and you can sit there all smug and believe that the circuits have been sanitised and the fun has gone out of them.

However, they are safer now and there are more concessions to the fans than there ever used to be.

Tilke has his issues, but he does design a safe cicuit. Yas Marina and Valencia are hamstrung by being in a dockyard, but Turkey is a good circuit in the wrong place whilst China would be fantasic if it was in the middle of a German forest or a Belgium hillside.

I’m not nitpicking, i’m correcting an incorrect statement.

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