|Click for Session photos
Click for Session timings
There was I, wondering how I was going to last till June (when I'm heading to Montreal) for my first live F1 kick of the season, when I got a phone call from one of our fleet suppliers asking me if I'd be interested in going to a test session at Silverstone as guests of BMW WilliamsF1. "If I'd be interested" I thought ... clearly they knew of my "interest" in F1, but maybe they weren't quite aware of the depth of my obsession ... they are now!
So before I go any further, thanks to Philip at Zenith Vehicle Contracts for thinking of me, and to Tony Genn from their supplier, Vines of Guildford, who provided the tickets and of course to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team who were most excellent hosts.
Having never been to a test session before, I enjoyed the novelty of driving through the main gates (I usually walk in from the campsite) and on to my destination. First thrill of the day was driving over the bridge at Bridge just as Frentzen in the Arrows screamed underneath it ... yep, I was definitely gonna enjoy this!
Managed to get all the way into the BRDC Clubhouse without a pass, saying I was meeting my host there seemed to do the trick (must file that away for future reference!) but was definitely relieved when he (and it - see right) arrived.
After a briefing from our hosts, we set off round the circuit on a bus, stopping off at Copse - where although we didn't see too much action cos the session had been red-flagged to recover Webber's Minardi (engine problem followed by a small fire), there was enough to make a couple of "vroom vroom" calls to fellow addicts. Got some strange looks at the time, but the idea seemed to catch on later in the day! Then on to the end of Hanger Straight, the fastest part of the circuit for a burst of pure adrenaline.
Back at the Clubhouse lunch awaited, followed by a Q&A with Marc Gene (see left) of which I have video which I'll add here as soon as I work out how!
Catch fencing at Copse and sheer speed at Hanger Straight stopped me getting the camera out until back at the Clubhouse, so the photos you see below are all taken from that vantage point with varying degrees of success for which I blame the thief who nicked my last camera ... haven't quite got the hang of this one yet!
For reference, the morning session was dry but there was a huge thunderstorm right overhead at the end of the lunch break, so the track was well and truly soaked for the afternoon session. Session timings are shown after the photos.
|Giancarlo Fisichella - Jordan Honda||Jenson Button - Renault||Ralf Schumacher - BMW Williams|
|Pedro de la Rosa - Jaguar Cosworth||Marc Gene - BMW Williams||Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas|
|Heinz-Harald Frentzen - Arrows Cosworth||Takuma Sato - Jordan Honda||Mark Webber - Minardi Asiatech|
|Driver||Car (Tyres)||Best time||Laps|
|Ralf SCHUMACHER||BMW Williams (M)||1:22.142||42|
|Jenson BUTTON||Renault (M)||1:22.295||24|
|Olivier PANIS||BAR Honda (B)||1:22.377||45|
|Marc GENE||BMW Williams (M)||1:22.406||54|
|Giancarlo FISICHELLA||Jordan Honda (B)||1:22.524||54|
|Takuma SATO||Jordan Honda (B)||1:22.890||47|
|Jacques VILLENEUVE||BAR Honda (B)||1:22.970||50|
|Felipe MASSA||Sauber Petronas (B)||1:23.375||45|
|Pedro DE LA ROSA||Jaguar Cosworth (M)||1:23.678||27|
|Heinz-Harald FRENTZEN||Arrows Cosworth (B)||1:24.630||32|
|Mark WEBBER||Minardi Asiatech (M)||1:26.203||21|
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