So what can we really expect from the best for British at Silverstone this year?
PUBLISHED: 17:30 21 June 2013 | UPDATED: 19:23 21 June 2013
We are barely a week away from the big one. The event etched on the memories of all Formula One fans across these isles. The point at which a global circus feels like it comes home. Only this time, the threat is that it will actually feel more like a circus while it’s here.
Good week, bad week
• Pole position – Lotus: Infinity Racing group have bought a 35pc stake in the Hethel-backed team, helping to secure Enstone’s longer term racing future.
• Stalling – Kimi Raikkonen: From looking like a genuine title contender this year, the Finn is starting to realise he is losing ground on the leaders. He has taken just three points from the last two races, and Drivers’ championship leader Sebastian Vettel has bagged 41 more points than the Lotus man in the last four.
Silverstone has a lot of making up to do. Last year’s event was so hampered by the weather that most of the crowd hoping to enjoy some free practice action on the Friday was left in a 10-hour stationary traffic jam on the roads leading to the circuit.
The hellish day ended with a significant amount of fans who already had tickets for Saturday’s qualifying action being told not to show up because the car parks needed preserving for the demands of race day.
It would be completely understandable if fans put in that situation last year didn’t fancy making the outlay to try again 12 months later.
Indeed, the weather may do Silverstone a favour this year – but that would be far from the point.
"You always wish and love to have a car that allows you to show what you can do and perform really well, but you have to be patient"
So with those logistical issues almost certainly having far more to do with a fall in ticket sales than Sebastian Vettel’s continuing run of success, the British Grand Prix needs a hand – and while they are trying, it seems unlikely hand will come in the shape of success on the Northamptonshire circuit.
When the likes of Jenson Button talk about delivering for the fans at McLaren’s home race as if he’s about to turn out for England at Wembley, he isn’t overstating it.
On Formula One weekend, Silverstone is rocket red – although I still think it looks more like a neon orange. You cannot move for McLaren fans. And you have to grab your breath at the noise when those fans have something to root for. While it’s an open air circuit spanning less than two square miles, it’s a pretty special thing to experience.
Yes there are other teams based just down the road from the track, but they don’t garner the same ferver.
Sadly, the fact is McLaren look like they would have more chance if the race was taking place in a 2012-esque stationary traffic jam. You know things are really bad because Jenson has had it written all over his face every time he has been interviewed since leaving the MP4-28 in Montreal (not literally, possibly).
In fact, Jenson’s luck at Silverstone in past seasons has been so bad that maybe, in a bizarre twist, something special could happen next weekend.
It’s the sort of thing that happens in front of a partisan crowd in football – but surely not F1?
Marussia’s Max Chilton will just be happy for the ride, but the same can’t be said for Paul di Resta and Lewis Hamilton.
The former is still owed a first F1 podium and has a Force India under him that seems capable of causing an upset, while the fact Hamilton left McLaren to join a German team will be irrelevant come June 30. At that point, Silverstone would love a Hamilton victory – and he’s undoubtedly best placed to deliver.
So it may be a hassle. The car parks may be screwed. The British challenge feel like it’s lacking.
But it’s still the British Grand Prix. And I bet that alone still excites you.
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