F1 review: The right Formula

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The Hurlingham Club was turned show-car pitlane for the evening, with cars from Red Bull, Force India, Caterham and Williams (Miles Willis/Getty Images)

It’s gone above a degree, and it’s light after 3pm in the afternoon; the drizzle is tepid to the touch, and ‘West London’ tans are looking slightly less suspicious. Summer must be upon us.

Insufferably, that means that many feel the urge to feign an interest in sport.  As a nation we may be forgiven for our sporting interests being a little part-time – American friends snigger at the seasonality of our enthusiasm towards most outdoor sports. (They usually live in Florida, and have never attempted to play tennis in the UK in December). However, there is one sport internationally that we may all unite around in our seasonality and inexperience – Formula One.

It takes very little sporting enthusiasm to enjoy F1. Warp speed cars, glamorous locations, chiseled drivers and lycra-clad grid girls; a sport so exclusive that having ‘a season’ does not matter, because we can’t take part in it anyway.

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Image 5: Guests were treated to a demonstration of the ultra-rare Jackie Stewart Tyrell F1 Car (Miles Willis/Getty Images)

What’s not to enjoy? Actually,  racing where tyre preservation governs speed – but let’s not get hung up on that. F1 is the sport for those who amongst us who get self conscious attempting to pontificate about the merits of e.g. Rugby, when it’s obvious that schoolboy experiences on the field were mainly composed of carefully avoiding contact with the big bloke who started shaving in Year 9. It feels a bit fraudulent. When it comes to F1, very few people in the world have experience of anything coming close – thus we can all merrily repeat lines from the sports section and no-one’s the wiser. They’ve not driven an F1 car either. It’s the perfect armchair sport. Which may give a hint at it’s enormous following around the world.

So integral are the off-track attractions of F1 to the sport that it was perfectly natural to hold several loosely sport related balls in London to celebrate the race coming to town (or just outside it, anyway). Well-heeled armchair enthusiasts everywhere get the opportunity to mix it with the immortals and perhaps pick up a few lines and stories to impress those back at the club.

In my case, an invite to the Hurlingham Club for the Grand Prix ball was too much to resist, as well as the opportunity to have dinner with a genuine racing driver, for whom I have nothing but the utmost respect. Many of us love to talk a good game, but it’s rather different beast when you’re in the driving seat, and perhaps one of the greatest displays of nerve and skill that sport has to offer.

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Image 7: Eddie Jordan entertained the crowd for the evening, including playing a set with his band, The Robbers (Miles Willis)

So let’s hear it for F1 and the Silverstone Grand Prix, the sport that we can all delight in, babble about, and opinionate on, comfortable in the knowledge we won’t ever get the opportunity, or be forced to, participate.

Jimmy Campbell – Smith was a guest of Veho at The Grand Prix Ball

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  • John Goatbirth

    Cool piece, thank you!

  • ElDronzo

    Uninformative, ignorant, illiterate, trivial.

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