As many Formula 1 enthusiasts are already aware, a decision has finally been made and there is talk that the Silverstone Grand Prix is scheduled to go ahead, however, it will be behind closed doors.
F1 is ramping up plans for a July season start, after the French Grand Prix was called off in light of the current global health pandemic.
Sky Sports F1 reported that the current plan is for Silverstone to hold two races on consecutive weekends. A similar plan is in place for Austrian Grand Prix, which would open the season on July 5.
However, even if we were to go racing, it is to be expected that the Grand Prix’s scheduled to be held will all be closed to the public as a safety precaution.
As a fan of the sport I’ve put together a couple of features that we will miss out on if the decision to race behind-closed-doors goes ahead.
The Journey to the circuit
It is very rarely that a motorsport enthusiast finds themselves living next to one of racing histories iconic tracks such as Silverstone here in the UK. For the majority, getting to a race weekend involves a journey with either family or friends, people in your life that share a similar passion for Formula 1 and motorsports. Just imagine, it’s just you and your mates on an epic road trip or having to fly to one of the 21 other locations across the world, geeking out about all things F1. For some, it might be a great chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of your daily life and take the weekend off. We can all agree that the journey to and from your destination is part of the excitement when taking a vacation or having to travel to a Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Experiencing the Race Village
Once you get to the circuit, throughout the weekend there is lots to do and see. Like you, there’ll be others who have travelled great distances to experience the joy that is the race weekend. You will embrace an entire community of enthusiasts, old and young with a love for motorsport. A great chance to make new friends and connections over the race weekend. In addition, there will be concerts and exhibitions promoting the sport and bringing in massive crowds and headlining artists. The season opener in Melbourne, Australia is a great example of this atmosphere. As the season opener, Albert Park, starts its proceedings well in advance with exhibitions and other attractions. It is also a great chance to experience that nations culture and lifestyle as some races such as the Monaco and Singapore Grand Prix’s are held in the heart of the city.
Getting up close and personal
No doubt about it, A Grand Prix is a great opportunity to meet your racing idols and maybe even a chance encounter with one of the drivers if you’re lucky. Autograph culture and collecting memorabilia are massive hobbies amongst motorsport enthusiasts and there’s no better place to do that than on a race weekend. It’s also a great opportunity to experience the paddock, see how the team’s function and get up close on the action. There will be opportunities to bag the occasional freebie that maybe thrown your way at one of the many on stage media events hosted by each of the teams. If you’re a fan of racing history, don’t worry, demonstrations of iconic Formula 1 beasts from history will be on show as well as the occasional firing up of one of these iconic pieces of machinery. Japan’s Suzuka Circuit is one such circuit with an abundance of history, and with Honda making a comeback in Formula 1, the attractions put on show by Red Bull and Alpha Tauri would have been epic. Alas it is not meant to be.
The crowd on Qualifying and Race days.
Races at tracks such as Silverstone, Monza and the Red Bull ring are notorious for drawing in massive crowds of racing enthusiasts. Specially the Austrian Grand Prix is known for attracting droves of Max Verstappen’s’ fans. Known informally as the ‘Orange army’, no one celebrates a Grand Prix like the Dutch. The loyal fan base of Verstappen is always a sight to see. Occasionally they fill out entire grandstands, and all you’ll see is a sea of orange, cheering on the young Dutch driver with thunderous chants as he ‘sends it down the inside’ on one his competitors. This year’s Dutch Grand Prix was scheduled to be an amazing spectacle as it was set to attract the sheer strength of the home crowd. However, Circuit Park Zandvoort’s comeback to the racing calendar will have to wait.
The Race itself!
There’s nothing more exhilarating than hearing the collective rumble of 20 high performance works of precision engineering on the starting grid. Seeing the smooth aerodynamic shape of a formula 1 car through a screen is amazing but seeing it in front of you with your own eyes is something else. As they set up on the grid and pause for the lights to go out, the suspense can kill and as they go racing, your heart skips a beat. There is always drama in the first lap, be it Abu Dhabi or Monte Carlo. Additionally, there is something awe inspiring about witnessing a group of humans voluntarily put themselves behind the wheel of a machine capable of unimaginable speeds on a circuit full of tight twists and turns. When that one driver ‘sends it’ to take the winning position you feel the atmosphere change as a thousand voices cheer them on. Finally, there is the podium ceremony, one such memorable celebration from the 2019 season was at Monza in Italy. When the Tifosi, Ferrari’s devoted fans celebrated their teams first win on home soil for more than 15 years. The cheering and celebration were said to have gone on into the week with most parts of the city shutting down on the Monday after to carry on the celebrations.
These are just a few of the things that we will miss in the coming months if the sport goes ahead with the decision to race behind closed doors.
However, amidst all the negativity, we can all agree that it is an absolute pleasure to hear that we will finally be going racing for the year 2020.
By Randev Jayasinha