Tag Archives: Silverstone

Formula One: The Race behind the Races

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The 2018 French Grand Prix is the first race of Formula One’s Triple header. Over three successive weeks, Formula One will first the South of France, the mountains of Speilberg, Austria, and the more than likely soggy Silverstone.

Whilst the prospect of back to back to back races may leave drivers and fans drooling, the prospect is a little more daunting for the supply and logistics team tasked with ensuring each event runs seamlessly.  In the 48 hours following each event DHL, The Official Formula One Logistics Partner, is tasked with moving more than 1000 tonnes of freight safely and on time.

“For the spectators at the track and in front of their TV sets view, a Grand Prix is a huge spectacle,” says Martin Pople, Trackside Manager at DHL. The logistical effort behind it, on the other hand, remains invisible to the spectators: “A single race weekend involves months of planning and the work of two dozen of our specialists,” explains Pople. The fact that this “race behind the race” is fast and safe is also due to the expertise of the DHL specialists.

 

The challenge ahead for DHL and the race teams themselves is not something drivers take for granted, Force India driver Esteban Ocon, reflecting “When I was a kid I wanted to race every day, so now it’s coming alive, that dream. I think, on the other hand, I’m thinking about the mechanics, all the people travelling around Europe, the truckies, everybody in the teams, you know, building up those beautiful hospitalities and tents and all that. This is going to be very hard for them, so we need to make life as easy for them as we can, because at the end, we are a team, so we need to support everybody.”

Since the 2018 F1 Triple Header was announced, teams and support crew will have been evaluating the most efficient way in which to manage both the physical and logistical challenge the schedule creates. The team that comes out of top come Sunday evening in Silverstone will likely be very well placed for the remainder of the season.

As with any support role, the role of the DHL Specialists will likely and for their sake hopefully go largely unnoticed. Their role is to ensure on time in full delivery of the championship and teams needs. When they manage this, they’ve done their job. The painstaking work required to ensure this performance will likely pass most people by.

So when if with three successive F1 race weekends, your thirst for F1 news isn’t quenched, check out the DHL Triple Header Diary for all the latest information plus fascinating background stories from Le Castellet, Spielberg and Silverstone.  dhl.com/F1TripleHeader

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Formula One: Lorenzo’s Mercedes audition

In the weeks preceding Nico Rosberg being crowned 2016 Formula One World Champion and subsequently announcing his retirement from the sport, former Moto GP champion and future Ducati rider had the opportunity to sample the Mercedes AMG Petronas W05 around the Silverstone International Circuit.

The experience, arranged through mutual sponsor Monster Energy, was a dream come true for the Spaniard who became only the forth Moto GP champion to sample Formula One machinery.

With every man, woman, and child seemingly replying to this advert from Mercedes:

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Lorenzo can at least now tick “any previous experience” box!

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Car Review: My weekend with the Infiniti Q30

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After receiving a late invitation to the British Grand Prix last weekend I arrived, late, at the Europcar desk at Heathrow Airport. As every frequent rental car user, I decided to try my luck at free upgrade from my economy ride for the weekend. Free didn’t come my way, but I was offered an Infiniti Q30 for what felt like a very reasonable additional fee. (after a bit of healthy negotiation)

Having become familiar with the brand name through Formula One with both Red Bull Racing and more recently the Renault F1 team, I was excited to be finally trying out an Infiniti model for myself. My car at home is a 2009 BMW 330, this feels like an appropriate benchmark for the Q30.

Stepping inside the cabin of the Q30 is a very pleasant experience. In racking up around 30,000KM’s per year, mainly on motorways I’ve become very picky about a quality interior. The interior is made up of a high quality materials produced to a high standard, suede upholstery with purple stitching was a great touch! There is a sense of familiarity to the switch gear in the Q30, mainly due the fact that much of it is shared with the Mercedes A Class / GLA. This is no bad thing, systems are easy to navigate and on the whole fairly intuitive.

Heading on to the motorway you get a feel for where the Q30 is most at home. The ride is self assured, not too soft, but not as harsh as you might expect from a German peer. The 7 speed automatic is responsive with a more than capable on-board management system, it’s very rare to find the Q30 grappling for gears. The Q30 has all the driver alerts you expect to find in a modern car, lane change and closing distance alerts, adaptive cruise control and blind spot warnings. Heading up from Heathrow to Silverstone was a breeze, the Q30 is a very pleasant place to find yourself.  I did have some issues with the DAB radio, but I’ll put that down to user rather than system!

Over the course of the next few days the Q30 was put through it’s paces through back roads and tracks, trying to avoid the infamous Silverstone traffic. I have to say compared to the BMW this is where the Q30 comes a little unstuck. The road holding and vehicle dynamics do fall slightly short of the sector leaders. That being said the Q30 never feels unstable, it remains more than capable.

Another neat feature of the Q30, perfect for post race traffic jams, is the all round camera. From the central screen you can monitor how close you are to surrounding obstructions with ease, taking a lot of the stress of not paying for additional car insurance out of my rental experience!

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The styling of the Q30 may not be to everyone’s taste. It is a large car for what it is. the loading space and rear leg room are not industry leading, but in all honesty I imagine they will be more than sufficient for the typical owner. I personally found the exterior of the car very appealing, it’s a car with which you will stand out from the crowd. It reminded me of the Renault Avantime project (pictured) seeking to create a new sub category within an existing model range.

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When returning the Q30 to Europcar I found myself wondering If I would actually consider buying one for myself. To be honest, probably not. There is a lot I like about the car, and a lot I haven’t mentioned in this review. The fuel economy for example for a 2.2 litre engine was very impressive. The fact that it is built in Sunderland  would let me feel like I’m doing something good for the UK, but would I buy it? With the specification I would want on the car the cost would be around £30,000. Which is more than I would feel conformable spending on a car in this category.  So in short:  No.  I would however seriously consider leasing it! Being part of the Renault Nissan alliance, Infiniti are able to offer very attractive rates should you be on the market.

Model – Infiniti Q30

  • Engine: 2.2 Diesel
  • 7 Speed automatic
  • Lease rates from £180- 280 PCM

To arrange a test drive of the Infiniti Q30 head to the Infiniti home page or make a request for the model the next time you hire a car with Europcar.

Formula One: The British Grand Prix from Silverstone Six

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I don’t like the British Grand Prix, It’s a shocking statement. Especially for a Brit! Over the year’s I’ve been fortunate enough to have the money to attend a number of races all over the world, during that time I’ve been to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone 4 times. My last trip to the circuit had been in 2009. Don’t get me wrong on TV the British Grand Prix is an incredible spectacle. The high speed challenge of the circuit is a joy to watch, and more often than not the circuit provides some excellent racing. However, As a fan at the circuit always felt I missed out.  Sure the atmosphere is something special, unique to the British, but the nature of the site never lent itself to the fan.

The circuit, build around a former military airstrip is flat and huge. Two features that don’t lend themselves to great visibility for the race attending fan. Most grandstands are situated on the outside of the circuit, this results in limited viewing. Modern F1 circuits are designed with the race attending fan in mind. It is possible to see a large percentage of the track from a single viewing point. Silverstone was not designed in this way. That was until the circuit was remodelled in 2011.

I realise writing a review on a 5-year-old circuit upgrade may feel a little unnecessary, but there are many race fans similar to myself who avoid Silverstone because of the outdated perception that the circuit isn’t great for spectators. I am happy to report this is no longer the case. Courtesy of my good friends at Shell V Power I was given two tickets to the Silverstone Six hospitality stand for the British Grand Prix. The unit is situated on the infield of the Maggots- Becketts complex, which in itself is an incredible view. Adding to this the grandstand is elevated and overlooks the new sector of the track with views of the loop and Aintree corner. In total from a single vantage point I could see 6 corners, and over the course of the 2016 British Grand Prix witnessed some of the most incredible overtakes I have seen in modern F1.

Now to be honest, during GP2 and GP3 Races I found myself getting confused with the old and new circuit layouts, tracking cars around the lap at the wrong time, but I think that just shows my age. The Silverstone Six Grandstand gave me an entirely fresh perspective of the entire circuit. I remembered why I enjoyed Silverstone in the first place. As a spectator you get a true feeling for the challenges of the circuit and for the speeds drivers are taking into corners.

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The Silverstone Six experience is something special. Arriving at 8:10 AM on Sunday morning, 5 minutes before the GP3 race started we had a full breakfast buffet available to us, and even Mumm Champagne for those feeling eager! Leading up to the race a full lunch menu was available. Whilst the weather in the minutes leading up to the race was not great for fans in a grandstand the entire hospitality unit we sat in (the Brabham suite) decamped to our seats for the race. The race itself was a thriller! Another great addition to Silverstone has been larger clearer screens around the circuit along with radios playing commentary of the race to ensure you can keep up to speed. Many times during the race there was so much going on it was hard to chose between sections of the circuit or the screen to look at. Following the race the suite stays open until 6:30, offering an afternoon snack and further drinks. The quality of food and drink in the suite is fantastic.

Silverstone have done a great job at tackling the inherent issues of the circuit. They have invested in sound and logical infrastructure and made the event something to be proud of.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff at Silverstone Six for making the day so memorable. It is easy to forget how tough it must be to pull off an event such as the British Grand Prix. The entire team should be proud.

For more on Silverstone and the Silverstone Six hospitality suites click here.

Formula One: Sérgio Sette Câmara to test for STR at Silverstone test

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Scuderia Toro Rosso have announced  that Sérgio Sette Câmara will drive our current STR11 car at the forthcoming Formula 1 test at Silverstone Circuit, following the 2016 British Grand Prix.
The 18 year old Brazilian is a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and is currently in his second year of competition in the FIA F3 European Championship. Sérgio started his racing career in karts in his native Brazil back in 2006 and his switch to single-seater cars came last year with the move up to Formula 3. This season, Sette Câmara is currently lying 7th in the series.
“I’m very happy and excited to be testing with Scuderia Toro Rosso”, commented Sérgio during today’s visit to Faenza.  “It’s a great opportunity which I’ve worked very hard for and I’d like to thank everyone who has made this possible, especially Red Bull. This will be my first official Formula 1 test and I will make sure I do the best job possible as well as have fun – it’s not something that happens every day! Silverstone is a great track which I know quite well as I’ve already driven there before, so this will definitely help me on the day to focus on the car and all the new information without having to learn a new layout at the same time. I just can’t wait to drive out of the garage, it will definitely be a moment I will never forget!”
For this two-day test, Sérgio is planned to drive on Wednesday (13th July – Day 2), taking over from Carlos, who is scheduled to be at the wheel on Tuesday (12th July – Day 1).
Our Team Principal Franz Tost said: “Giving young drivers, mainly those from the Red Bull Junior Team, a real taste of Formula 1, is something we have become accustomed to doing at Toro Rosso. Personally, I find it fascinating to see how these youngsters adapt, not just to the extra power, downforce and braking of a Formula 1 car, but also how they react to the pressure of a day in the F1 spotlight. It provides a valuable insight into how they might progress in the future. Therefore I am pleased to welcome Sérgio to our team for the day and I hope that it will be a mutually beneficial experience.”
Teams participating in mid season tests are obliged to run a young driver on at least one day. STR are fulfilling this obligation with Sérgio Sette Câmara. It is thought unlikely he is being considered for a full time drive with the team in 2017.

Formula One: Leclerc joins the Haas F1 Team

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Monaco born Charles Leclerc, a 2016 member of the Ferrari Driver Academy currently competing in the GP3 Series for ART Grand Prix, will get his first taste of a Formula One car when he drives the VF-16 for Haas F1 Team on July 8 during the first practice session (FP1) for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Haas F1 Team driver Esteban Gutiérrez, a Ferrari Driver Academy alumnus, has relinquished his seat to allow Leclerc to obtain valuable Formula One experience. Following Silverstone, the 18-year-old Leclerc will reappear in FP1 sessions July 22 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, July 29 at the German Grand Prix, Sept. 30 at the Malaysian Grand Prix and Nov. 25 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In each session, Leclerc will drive Haas F1 Team’s No. 21 car

“This is a fantastic opportunity to get seat time in a Formula One car and I can’t thank Haas F1 Team and Esteban enough,” said Leclerc, who won the season-opening GP3 Series race May 14 at Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.  “I’m honored by the faith Haas F1 Team and Ferrari have in me. This is an important step toward my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula One driver.”

Leclerc has quickly risen through the karting ranks and into single-seat, open-wheel machines. After winning 11 karting championships between 2005 and 2013, including an outright title in the 2012 WSK Euro Series Championship, Leclerc graduated to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2014, collecting a pole, two wins and nine podiums in 14 races. In 2015, Leclerc moved to the FIA Formula 3 EuroSeries, earning three poles, four wins and 13 podiums in 33 races.

Leclerc’s motorsport career to date has been backed by watchmaker Richard Mille, a significant partner of the Haas F1 Team. The announcement of his rapid graduation into an F1 development driver position comes at a time of rumours around the Haas F1 Team on suggestions of dissatisfaction with the performance and feedback this season from Esteban Gutiérrez.