• Playing to the home crowd

Playing to the home crowd

Kate Walker June 28, 2013
The packed grandstands only got to watch cars sat in garages for the majority of FP1 © Getty Images
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Silverstone is everybody's home grand prix. As the first venue to host a round of the Formula One World Championship, you could - if you were so inclined - argue somewhat tenuously that it is the home of F1.

But even if you're not comfortable stretching the argument quite that far, every F1 fan and their dog knows that most of the teams come from the Silverstone area, and that pretty much every driver in the history of ever has lived in the neighbourhood as they've made their way up through the ranks.

And then you have the passionate British fans, who root for all sorts but whose enthusiasm is said to power the homegrown drivers as they lap (and lap and lap) the track.

Silverstone is a special place, full of special people.

"This is the one I've been waiting for," Max Chilton said. "To be in front of the home crowd; all the Union Jacks around the circuit. It's going to be a moment not to forget."

"You want to repay the fans for all their support," Jenson Button said. "They're not just fans in the good times, they're fans in the tough times as well. That's really nice to see. Hopefully we'll have a full house of Union Jacks here and I promise we'll do the best we can."

Sadly, on Friday morning the drivers' "best" stretched to half the grid setting timed laps in FP1, after more than an hour in which a few installation laps were completed, seemingly all of them by Daniel Ricciardo.

Great way to repay the fans for their tireless dedication in the face of tiresome weather, expensive tickets, and below average sales.

And while the drivers are not to blame for the limited running, comparing the media-friendly quotes handed out on a Thursday afternoon with the frankly insulting lack of track action on offer on Friday morning left a sour taste in my mouth.

Which is why it is very good news indeed that from 2014 onwards, extra tyres will be given to the teams specifically for use in the first half hour of FP1. The World Motor Sport Council decreed it on Friday morning, so it has become (future) law:

"Each driver will be provided with one extra set of tyres for use only during the first 30 minutes of the first practice session on Friday, to encourage teams to take to the track at that time without having to worry about using valuable tyre wear."

This simple solution to a long-term problem has been too long in coming, but it is heartening to see that - in one area at least - the teams have been able to agree on a change to the rules that will benefit both paddock and public.

Is this progress at last?

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'.
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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'.