Anything retro or nostalgic seems to be popular these days, however at Silverstone today, the retro element was a throwback to the bad old days of traffic jams and general chaos.
The reason? Not sure but the wet weather certainly had something to do with it. The rain affected the on-track action too, as is obvious when you see that Jean-Eric Vergne completed a total of just 19 laps over the three hours of free practice, while Daniel Ricciardo did 12. With rain expected to hang around Silverstone for the next two days, it was worthwhile going out in the difficult conditions, just to get an idea of what to expect in qualifying and the race. However, on the downside, a track that resembles a river was not the ideal test bed for a few new aero updates we have introduced on the STR7 this weekend. Just keeping the car on track and away from the soggy grass run-off areas was an achievement, as was actually getting into the circuit: some of the GP2 drivers apparently missed their first session as they were stuck in the massive traffic delays. Our crew has avoided the chance of delays by setting out from their hotel, near our wind tunnel in Bicester, at the crack of dawn. As for our drivers, they are both residents of nearby Milton Keynes so not too much to worry about there.
One has to admire the British race fans resilience as, despite the terrible forecast for the weekend, the campsites around the Northamptonshire track are completely packed out. Sadly, they did not get to see much F1 action today, as teams had to balance the need to get some track time with the equally important requirement to save rain tyres, as the number of sets per weekend is limited to just three per driver. The fans did at least see a Brit at the top of the time sheet this afternoon, as Lewis Hamilton was quickest for McLaren, but even by the usual Friday standards, today’s lap times were particularly meaningless.