Last week saw my first assignment at the home of British motorsport, Silverstone for the opening rounds of the FIA F2 World Championship. Although I’ll be working some far bigger events in regards of spectator numbers and TV coverage, any trip to Silverstone is always special for me.
With the Wing complex glistening in the background, we start to survey the paddock of the old pit lane sandwiched between Woodcote and Copse while the first race trucks wait outside the circuit gates. With no race vehicles allowed in until 6pm, there was quite a queue building up going into the afternoon. Just as we finish marking out the allocated areas however, Silverstone decided to open the gate and allow the convoy of trucks over the Wellington bridge and down towards us! The sight of twenty or so articulated lorries heading towards the two of us was quite a daunting site to say the least and the next four hours were frantic but every enjoyable to say the least.
In terms of the number of competitors, this was by far and away the busiest paddock. With 16 F2 cars, 30 Lotus’, 30 Radicals, 25 Minis, 45 Sports 2000s and 60 production BMWs to accommodate there was never a dull moment. Even with the generous space in the paddock at Silverstone, the sheer number of cars/teams meant that any late coming artic lorries were going to be in a spot of bother parking into their space.
Some make it look easier than others I have to say. A German Radical team did make an absolute meal out of it, taking over an hour to park straight in their space. To add to their humiliation (and two world wars and one world cup) two Brit drivers show them how it was done, parking up with two manoeuvres which I doubted were possible.
With the Minis finishing their weekend after their second race on Saturday, the vacated space was filled up with the rest of the production BMWs that spent the night being held on Copse runway. I have to give a special mention to the Project8 family for their hospitality over the weekend. After my boss left on Saturday, I was sleeping in the sleeper cab of one of the Dunlop tyre trucks and I was treated to tea, coffee and bacon butties with these great guys.