Silverstone: The Build Up

Silverstone: The Build Up

Silverstone F1 CircuitIt’s that time of year again, time for Pimms, strawberries and the British Grand Prix. Well actually, it isn’t! The British round of the Formula One Championship is a little ahead of schedule this year in order for the big event to not clash with some kind of footie competition or something.

Personally, I don’t get why the kick-about in Germany wasn’t moved? But hey, that’s life.

So the race is a little earlier this year, and there were fears initially that people wouldn’t know. This might obviously lead to a shortfall in ticket sales and a half-full Silverstone. But those fears have been abated now by a reasonably strong TV ad campaign and lots of mentions on ITV’s F1 television broadcasts. Damon Hill (now President of the BRDC) has also helped to organise big screens to be erected around the circuit so fans of both F1 and football can enjoy the big match as well as qualifying.

Just like the build up to Wimbledon Tennis Championship, all eyes are on our British hopefuls, represented by the experienced David Coulthard and the young(er) charger, Jenson Button.

David will be looking to continue his form from the previous Grand Prix in Monaco where he finished in third position, gaining Red Bull Racing’s first podium. I imagine it would very unlikely of the Scot to repeat this achievment, but DC will be buoyed up and he may manage a few points if everything goes his way.

Jenson has been playing down his chances in the media this week, saying he is also only hopeful of a few points. This is quite a stark contrast to the pre-season talk of “challenging for wins and titles”, but at least the Brit is trying to qwell any hype that might be present. Unfortunately, I would have to agree with Button and a few points is probably all the Brit can really hope for. If retirements are high then he could sneak on to the podium, but that of course requires his Honda to be reliable and make the race distance.

Fernando Alonso is probably favourite to win, but Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari are looking very strong, and if it wasn’t for his parking display in Monaco, that race could have been quite different. Fisichella looks to be improving as well, with a strong charge in Monte Carlo (once he got woken up by his team mate lapping him), and if Cosworth can sort out their reliability issues, I might be persuaded to suggest a Williams as an outside chance. And I wouldn’t right McLaren off either – JPM seems to really like the track and could run well if all the stars are in alignment.

I’m sure Silverstone will be packed as it always is, and the roads will be congested for hours on Sunday. But that is all part and parcel of the British Grand Prix. And I for one wish I was sitting in the warm glow of the British sun, thermos of tea in one hand, cucumber sandwich in the other, watching Formula One cars commit to Copse at breath-taking speeds. But alas I will be tuning the TV in on Sunday afternoon, hoping for an exciting and eventful British Grand Prix.

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