Silverstone… the home of British motorsport.
Teams taking part include all, but Mercedes GP who have been banned from this event due to testing infringements earlier this year. Click on the following links to learn more about the teams and drivers taking place.
The main and original aim of this test was to enable the F1 drivers of tomorrow including Tio Ellinas, Daniel Juncadella, Alex Rossi, Carlos Sainz Jr and Susie Wolff, the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a current F1 car. A small handful of current racing drivers, participating in the 2013 championship are also in attendance, including Max Chilton, Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo.
It is good to see so many fans, both old and new, attending the test. Even though test events do not have strict timetables, and even though you cannot follow the details of the test, it is only at times like this that you can get so close to the cars and teams. The tickets for this particular test at Silverstone are £20 per per person, per day. For future reference, a special discounted price was available for a 3-day ticket. For an additional £10 (per day) you can purchase a pit lane ticket (subject to availability). This is definitely worth it. The track is open to testing action 9am-5pm. Bang on 5pm though and the pit lane is open to the public for one hour only. All the teams are so friendly and happy to showcase their current machinery, despite the immense pressure they are under to develop, produce and test new components during this limited time. Each team has their current racing car on display in front of their garage, allowing you to get very close to this year’s competitors in all their glory, basking in the English sunshine.
Silverstone has attempted to make this event into something substantial, ensuring that there are enough food and drink vendors on site to cater for all the fans. All in all, this test event is a great experience. The days are long and warm but this is a very laid back, relaxed atmosphere for an F1 event, which feels like such a contrast to their regular competitive racing events.
It is great to see so many little fans at the track too. For many, this is their first encounter with F1 machinery. What better occasion can there be for F1 newbies in general? The ticket prices are so wallet-friendly (kids under 15 go for free), the atmosphere is relaxed and the encounters with teams and cars are so close. You can only get this close if you are lucky to have paddock passes to races, and those tend to be reserved for a select few only. You might even dare to argue that F1 testing events are more “convenient” for a vast majority of people, than F1 races.
I have now been to three F1 tests and have enjoyed them all. The dynamic of test events compared to actual race events is very different but for F1 fans and enthusiasts like me, testing events are a very enjoyable and practical experience. I have always thought that teams, sponsors and event organisers should make a bigger deal of testing (especially in-season).
In-season testing is due to return next season, in 2014. I sincerely hope that wherever the events take place, that they are open to the public, allowing a whole new generation and market of people to access the world of Formula One.
The F1 circus will next meet at the Hungaroring in Budapest next weekend for the Hungarian Grand Prix (26 – 28 July).