The teams descended upon the leafy countryside of the UK this week for a three day test at Silverstone. This being the nearest testing ground to where I live, I decided to go along for one of the days and experience my very own test day.
It was brilliant. I actually was a guest of a member of the Silverstone Racing Club, which basically means thereís a special grandstand available to members, thereís more space to wander around, and you can get into the paddock in the afternoon.
Watching the cars was wonderful, Copse corner is super fast and possibly my new favourite turn on the calendar. But we were very lucky and managed to get into the pit lane, and stand in the friends and family area for one of the teams.
Wow. Being that close to the cars was incredible. We watched as they came in, and even though thereís a speed limit in the pit lane, itís still terrifyingly fast. We watched as they left, and they gunned the throttle a few times, later learning that this was to get heat into the back tyres. Something that struck me was how they, particularly Rosberg in the Williams, would come in to the pitlane and just cut the engine completely before theyíd even come to a stop. From the roaring growl of the engine to dead silence in a split second.
Of the test itself, Renault seemed to be having problems. They caused many red flags over the three days, and when I was there, we actually saw the recovery of Piquet and his stricken car after one of those flag incidents. First, Piquet arrived in a van, looking slightly annoyed at the whole thing. Then the recovery truck arrived about ten minutes later. One thing to note is that the recovery truck people are amazingly efficient. They pulled to a stop outside the Renault garage, and within about five minutes, the car was off, uncovered and being looked at, whilst the truck had pulled back to its monitoring position.
I think the Renault broke down four times over the course of the three days, with each seeming to be an engine related problem. Also, David Coulthard had engine problems in the Renault powered Red Bull. Thereís definitely something that needs looking at in that department.
Elsewhere, Massa, Kovalainen and Hamilton led each of the days, and on Day 2, Fisichella had a massive crash. His Force India got caught in a gust of wind and hit the barriers. Fisichella was taken to hospital to look at his wrists, but it was mostly precautionary checks and he was okay.
It was wonderful to get that much closer to the action. In some ways itís like the GP, in that you canít really tell whatís going on while you are there, but when you get back and read up on all that happened, it feels like it makes much more sense, because you were there and you can associate what you hear with what you saw.
I recommend a dayís testing visit to anyone and everyone.