Everybody, I did it!
10 years of being a Formula 1 fan, a global pandemic later, and I finally got myself to the 2021 Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
If you follow me on any of my socials, you’ll see my endless emotional tweets regarding the weekend and how I just couldn’t put it into words, so what am I doing now? Putting it into words. You see, the 280 character limit on Twitter wasn’t enough for me to express just how incredible the weekend as a whole was – so let’s start from the beginning.
After F1 Testing in 2020, I officially caught the Racing Bug (it’s a real thing, I promise), and as soon as I returned home from Catalunya, I booked the Sunday in Luffield Grandstand at the 2020 British Grand Prix. Of course, Covid-19 happened, and that put a stop to, well, everything. The option was made to roll over our tickets to 2021, and with that, we also booked GA for Friday and Saturday following the announcement of the Sprint Race trial being at Silverstone.
Following the past 18 months during the pandemic, I honestly wasn’t sure that this years British Grand Prix would even go ahead and was expecting it to be behind closed doors once again. However, in June, it was announced that the event would go ahead at full capacity after being chosen to be included in the next phase of the UK’s Governments Event Research Programme. Racegoers would have to prove a negative Lateral Flow Test taken within 48 hours of visiting or show proof of full vaccination.
Typically, many people choose to camp when they go to a Grand Prix. Silverstone have a few options, Woodlands, which has both Lively and Family parts to the campsite. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of camping – so I chose to get an Air BnB instead, just a 25-minute drive from the circuit. We parked at Silverstone the first day and Dadford campsite the other two. The traffic was easy; in fact, there was none! Whether we were lucky or got there early enough to make sure we escaped it, I’m not sure.
Something I would say I missed was the camping atmosphere. I had a few friends staying in Woodlands for the weekend, and all I wanted was to go back and carry on the vibes with them and other motorsport fans! Next time, I’ll definitely get over myself and rough it at the campsite!
Where do I begin? Obviously, as a motorsport fan, I knew I would enjoy the racing no matter what. The weekend was packed full of it; W Series, Formula 2 and Formula 1 were the main events. However, I also really enjoyed seeing the Classic Cars, particularly that beautiful silver and red Vodafone McLaren. Not only was it my first ever Grand Prix, but it was also the first trial of the Sprint Race format, in case you’ve been living under a rock – the weekend sessions consisted of FP1 and Qualifying on Friday, FP2 and Sprint Qualifying on Saturday and obviously the race on Sunday. Being there firsthand, I was actually really excited to witness two races. It didn’t take any excitement away from Sunday’s race, and I’d definitely prefer to watch a sprint race over another practice session.
I tried to watch as much track action as possible and managed to watch all of the F1. However, there is just so much else going on that I only managed a practice session and a race and a half of F2 and a race of W Series. I really wanted to focus on taking in the whole atmosphere, meeting and spending time with friends I’d never met before and looking around.
Over the course of the weekend, we sat in several different places, Friday you could sit wherever you wanted, so I took that opportunity to scope out good places to sit for future reference. We sat in the Hamilton Grandstand, Abbey and Stowe, all with incredible views. I would definitely consider getting Race Day seats there one day. Saturday, I went off to meet my friends who’d been sat up at Becketts for the Sprint Race, again, incredible views. I just loved every second. Sunday, we had Grandstand seats at Luffield and oh my goodness. I LOVED THEM.
Like I mentioned above, I went there for the racing, and the entertainment side was just a bonus – but it ended up being a really huge bonus. Whether it was the desperation of being locked away for the past 18 months and finally feeling myself again within crowds of people that all share the same interest, but the evenings were definitely a huge highlight of the weekend. A few pints, good music and the best atmosphere I’ve ever experienced. Perfection.
If this kind of entertainment isn’t your vibe, don’t you worry. The Fanzone at Silverstone was incredible! It had EVERYTHING. Endless merch stalls, the McLaren x Gulf Livery, the Merc and another beautiful looking McLaren to sit and awe over. Some amazing games and interactive things to do, such as eSports and pit-stop challenges.
I’m coming to the end of this post, and I still don’t feel like I’ve put into words just how amazing it was, and being honest, I’m still struggling. Someone said to me, “there will never be a feeling like your first grand prix”, and at the time, I wasn’t sure what they meant. But, now, I really do.
Every person who came up to me to say hello, every friend I met and to some really special people who made the weekend one to remember, thank you.
Until next year, Silverstone.