F1 journalist and utter dicknozzle TRENTHAM SLEAVES looks ahead to this weekend’s race
The Formula 1 circus travels all over the world but there is something unique and special about the British Grand Prix because this is, quite simply, as close as the sport comes to being at its spiritual home. Most of the teams are British or employ British people or used to have a British driver or have been to Britain before, and you can feel that sense of homecoming in the unique atmosphere of the paddock, something that can be experienced only by being here, which of course I am.
What is it, you might wonder, that makes F1 such a British sport? I was able to pose that exact question to my old mate Jenson Button who I bumped into after standing outside his motorhome for 40 minutes. ‘Oh God,’ he quipped. ‘You again!’ As ever, Jens proves himself to have a marvellous sense of humour! One could say that’s a British trait in itself, as indeed is ordering your security people to remove me from the area!
I was able to reflect a little more in Britain’s vital role in the pinnacle of motorsport as I dined alone last night at my favourite little Italian place in Towcester. Modesty forbids me from mentioning its name and suffice to say you would struggle to get a table anyway, unless you know the owner or have visited before or they’re not very busy. It also helps if you can order in Italian, which of course I can. As I savoured my spaghetti with chicken and chips and a coffee poured over it, I spotted a certain well known 1996 British champ walking past and dashed out of the restaurant to ask him for his views on our nation’s role in Formula 1. ‘Oh God, I thought my lawyers had warned you about this!’ he jested. Such a wonderful sense of humour! Definitely a trait as truly and typically British as, for example, shouting ‘restraining order’ and then getting into a taxi.
As to who will take the infamous chequered flag at this weekend’s all-important race, I think it’s pointless to mince words at this point and I will come out and say I believe Mercedes will win it, or Ferrari, or perhaps a Williams, and don’t discount a Red Bull surprise. Suffice to say, whatever happens at the British Grand Prix I will have a great view of all the action.
Because remember, I’m here and you probably are as well. But I have a nicer seat.