Although the crowd pouring into Silverstone this morning was comparable in size to a race day crowd at many F1 venues, they were treated to a damp day’s action. There was heavy rain before both the morning and afternoon sessions and the track took some time to dry out.
This cut back on the meaningful running teams were able to do on their updated parts, particularly in light of the ban on off-throttle diffusers. Mark Webber set the pace in the faster of the two sessions in the morning, Felipe Massa was fastest in the afternoon.
The forecast for Saturday is sunny with possible showers in the afternoon, but it looks like race day will be dry and sunny.
Meanwhile in a move that will surprise many F1 fans, Bernie Ecclestone has suggested that new promoters wanting to build a Grand Prix circuit should consider working with Populous, the architects of the new look Silverstone circuit.
Most of the new circuits in recent years have been the work of Hermann Tilke, the German architect behind F1 circuits in Valencia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Istanbul, Korea, India and Shanghai.
Although the more recent Tilke tracks have some exciting qualities, particularly Istanbul and Abu Dhabi, there is a growing groundswell of opinion among fans that the circuits are dull.
Speaking to me on Wednesday, Ecclestone said he now doesn’t just send prospective GP promoters to Silverstone, “Better than that,” he said. “Somebody was building a new circuit and I said to them, why don’t you go and find the architects who built it and use them?”
He added of the quality of Silverstone as a facility today, “Ten Years ago it couldn’t happen, they could never do what we wanted. But they’ve made a very, very good job of it. I’m delighted. It’s a pity it’s taken 10 years to get there.”