Monday, 11 July 2011

Siverstone approaching.......

Great anticipation as I approached the Wittlebury Hall Hotel close to the circuit, the Copse corner grandstands were visible. So many campsites dotted all around...300 thousand are expected this weekend!
Dropped off my luggage, then headed for the circuit to walk around the's such a treat to do that, I found myself walking alongside the teams and drivers..some walk others cycle and run the track..the first thing that one notices is the new Pit complex called the wave, apparently looking at it side on it resembles the shape of a F1 car...not so sure myself ..but very impressive certainly has an imposing presence.
Also one sees the newly painted red and white apexes, actually they are sprayed..some colour gets onto the grass, something so natural alongside something so artificial....then some  sponsors logos are sprayed onto the grass too..great to see that close up.
The Formula 1 management offices are all new of course,smell of.fresh paint in the air..I think some parts of the complex are still in furbishment.
Back to the hotel where security is very intense indeed..big burly security guards with ear pieces!..always with one finger on the earpiece too!..prerequisite of the job that!...  Not known so much security at a race, perhaps because campsites are adjacent to the hotel.
Weather not good!...driving rain and wind....forecast not good until Sunday.
I guess this is all quintessentially British....rain..long traffic jams...tents..and plenty of mud!.....oh and a plethora of beer tents!
I sense such a great buzz..very different from other races...a combination of knowledgeable crowds, and supporters that love the occasion.
Because the new pits and paddock are further away from the main gate..there were plenty of shuttle buses and buggies to ferry everyone around..the whole place resembles a mighty airport!
I even drove one of these golf buggies...great fun!...Went over to Jenson Button's hospitality tents...all for his charity, met Louise Goodman there who is the guest speaker..she remembers me from Australia..very nice!
I made contact with Richard Phillips CEO of the circuit..getting him to write on  Friday.
Apparently it's rumoured that some royals and celebs will attend the race...a place to be seen!..
Also they may be a chance I take to a helicopter for a few mins to take some Aerial pics...that would be great..a new perspective.
I had a driver for 3 hours to take me around the little villages skirting Silverstone..including Silversone village...beautiful cottages with lush gardens and very colourful floral hanging baskets.
Went to Stowe school were I occasionally go and teach as a visiting artist. Great pictures of the Neo-classical buildings and the beautiful Capability Brown landscaping with its lakes and follies.
In the big field to the right of the school. Team Marussia Virgin have taken it over..with masses of Military tents erected for their team hotels or guest houses for them...boot camp!!
I understand some the the BBC radio  are there too...from F1 correspondents to camping and mud correspondents....carry on camping!.
Took some great pics around these villages..looking forward to incorporating these in my work.
Went into the art dept at the school...found some old printing blocks I had left there some time ago..
Back to the hotel where crowds were gathering to get a glimpse of the drivers.
I walked to the circuit through the fields, pass the campsites...8 -30 in morning ..drunk revellers!...I wouldn't expect anything less!  such a short 15 min walk to the circuit.
Big wide Paddock all shiny and clean...had booked in a meeting with Red Bull team principle Christian Horner, wrote a nice piece about the success being down to the whole team..and that this success just challenges them to work even harder to stay there.
Met the CEO, he wrote about the unique atmosphere the British GP has. The rain was very heavy, first and second practice not a true indication of what will happen over weekend, as the weather is expected to improve.  The circuit is massive!...I went through 2 hotel umbrellas!...not good quality for such a posh hotel!
No helicopter ride for me...hopefully another time.
Funny thing..went to the toilet twice today in the FOM offices..on both occasions Nigel Mansell was next to picture I probably couldn't use in my artwork!
Been seeing a lot of Jackie Stewart in the Paddock..these guys can't walk more than 2 paces without stopping to greet someone
As I was waiting for Christian Horner in the Red Bull Motor home..or as they now call it...'Energy Station'..
Sebastian Vettel's father came in and sat on table next to me..overheard him talking about the Great British weather...even the Germans are fascinated!
What a great start to the weekend, Met my sister and and her partner Dick Bennetts who knows a thing or two about Motor Sport!..Managed to see them briefly in the new Paddock Club...very impressive indeed
Isabelle from Allsport asked me to check out the Chill-out lounge with a view to showing some of my work next year..happy about that!
Met a few of the CEO's from previous races in the paddock, Razlan from Malaysia and Ron Walker from Australia, both asking how the paintings were progressing.
Sunday..Race day..
Tens of thousands of people...amazing..arrived at the circuit around 9am and the grandstands were practically full!...lovely sunshine too...I must say the atmosphere was incredible..not experience anything like that...flags and air-horns ..and great support for Button and seemed every other person was wearing a mclaren t-shirt.
A huge scrum of photographers one end of the many!  I thought it was the team principles going into the FIA Offices which was happening on a regular basis...Realised it was Prince Harry entering the Paddock with Damon Hill..absolutely increadible..he was mobbed not just by the Photographers and security  but also by the teams wanting to take a pic...all dashing out of the motor homes...I got some good pics of Harry's right ear!....but knowing I would get better pics of him on the Grid later..
.And I did manage that....the grid was amazing many people...just as the girls were led to their blocks rain started to fall...then an amazing fly past from the red arrows...marching guards...More celebs than last weeks Hello magazine!...Prince Michael of Kent.....Patrick Stewart...3 England Cricketers..Swann, Cook and the tall Bowler who's name escapes me...another footballer from Man Utd, Wes Brown I was reliably informed....but the best was being introduced to Fatima Whitbread!!! the Formula 1 Artist
She said she had just moved so would like some some art work on her wall...wants my details....I can throw the odd Javelin into my paintings!!
Then it just got better, Billy from FOM, was invited by Martin Brundle to join himself and DC in the Commentary box for the start of the race, I went with him....fantastic to be there in the Tiny box listening and watching  them start the race commentary...standing and very animated in true Murray Walker fashion.
Didn't think I could top meeting Fatima!!!!
Also great to see and photograph a new winner..not one the crowds wanted to see though!
A truly great day and race meeting...I will look forward to working on the Silverstone Panel
Germany next........

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