Are you going to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix this year?
That’s a coincidence, so am I. And being the kind hearted soul that I am, I thought I would share some of my pearls of wisdom for making it through the big weekend.
Feel free to chip in with any titbits of information you think I may have missed…
Friday is when the spectator banks aren’t quite so rammed, and it’s when some of the most enjoyable moments of the weekend can happen.
While the majority of folk are busy at work, you can walk relatively unhindered around the track and be wowed at Copse, Becketts and Stowe. As well as hours of F1 free practice, there’s some GP2 qualifying for you to enjoy.
Oh, and make sure you walk anti-clockwise around the circuit. Better to have the cars coming towards you than having your back to them.
Get there nice and early
The good news is that even on a general admission ticket, there are still some good vantage points to be found – but you will need to get up at the crack of sparrows to grab them.
Not only does this ensure that you have a pitch that doesn’t require a contortionist’s feat of neck-cricking to see anything, but it also means you’re certain of catching some of the excellent support races. GP3, Porsche Supercup and the reverse-top-eight GP2 sprint races are likely to provide some decent action in the lead up to the main event.
Head for this corner at some point during the course of the weekend. There are better places to watch the race from, but the outside of Maggots is where you will see and hear an F1 car pushed to the limit, and you don’t even need an expensive grandstand ticket to see it either.
These bulky horrible looking things can be a life saver.
Imagine it: it’s midday Sunday and there’s a decision to be made. Having arrived at the crack of sparrows to stake your claim in a decent spot, you have minutes to go before the race starts. While at 6am you were shivering like mad, the temperature has risen and you’re now sweating buckets. Only an over-priced burger and beer will do. But you want to keep your sacred patch. What to do?!!
Should have brought a cool box along with you, that’s what. Ram it full of beverages and various treats. You’ll save yourself time negotiating the maze of stands and your wallet will love you as well.
When the race starts, you can then just hop on top of your box, obstructing the idiot who has been annoying you all morning, and get a better view of the action. Tada!
It never amazes me to see the number of painfully pink-looking people dotted around the circuit each year. Even if it is overcast (which it will probably be), there’s no sense in taking any chances with the sun.
As the circuit is built upon what was once a wartime airfield, it is out in the open, and as such, the wind has a good habit of masking the fact you are slowly sizzling away.
It’s Britain. Take one.
It’s probably too late to advise you not to bother, but heed my advice when it comes to next year’s race.
Access to Silverstone along the A43 is actually pretty good, so it’s easy to commute from nearby towns like Bicester, Aylesbury, or the roundabout laden metropolis that is Milton Keynes. You’ll enjoy hot running water and a nice comfy bed, as opposed to looking like you’ve spent the weekend with the Territorial Army.
One of the biggest drawbacks to visiting the grand prix is the massive queues to get out of the car park as quickly as possible after the race. Even though the nearby road network was vastly improved some years ago, it can still take a couple of hours to get out of the car park alone.
So instead of baking inside your Fiesta waiting to reach asphalt, you could dive into the middle of the circuit for the traditional ‘Grand Prix Party’ for a few hours, where no doubt Eddie Jordan will be taking to the mic once again…
On second thoughts, probably a better idea to bring a bicycle along and chain it to anything solid while you watch the racing. Jump back on it in double-quick time when it’s all over, and you’ll be back in your car and off down the road while everybody else is still packing away their deckchairs.