Come on, Liberty Media, give us a proper London Formula One race. Sure, Silverstone remains the most iconic circuit on the calendar (and we’re confident it’ll remain on the calendar in the future following this week’s bombshell news), but seeing a crop of Formula One cars hammering, donuting and powersliding through the capital was a sight to behold.
Yep, last night, in a celebratory build-up to this weekend’s British Grand Prix, Formula One descended onto London’s narrow streets for a wee celebration. It was called F1 Live, and if you were anywhere near London – say, Edinburgh – you probably heard it.
It’s the first time all ten F1 teams have come together outside of a race weekend, and it’s also likely the first time you’ve got tinnitus from walking down a London road. Notably, because of the roster of machinery on display – from the modern era right back to the Renault RS01 ‘teapot’ and McLaren MP4/6.
Sebastian Vettel – coming out in 2015’s Ferrari SF15-T – clearly didn’t get the memo about a couple of gentle runs and back into the pits. The Scuderia star decided to donut the Ferrari for the assembled London crowd. If you’re travelling through central London today and see tyre marks all over the road, yeah, it was him wot done it.
“I didn’t hear that,” he later smirked, responding to a query about drivers being verboten from donuting.
About the season thus far, he added: “It’s nice to see the Ferraris back. Hopefully another [podium] is coming this weekend at Silverstone.
“Silverstone is a great track – I’ve been coming for many years. I have to say the crowd is very fair. I was racing against Jenson once, and I happened to win the race and got a lot of cheers, so it was nice the people appreciated we had a good race at the time. The track is great, the people are great…
“The corners at Silverstone are amazing, it’s really quick, and that’s when we really feel alive,” he added.
Daniel Ricciardo went one further – donuting the RB7 pretty much straight out of the blocks. In fact, the Aussie star was clearly having a whale of a time (does he ever not?), practically powersliding up and down the closed Trafalgar Square route. His smokey, slidey run was rewarded with rapturous applause. It even made Verstappen smile. See? The boy’s infectious.
“I didn’t do donuts,” the Aussie responded after being told he wasn’t strictly allowed to be a hoon. “I did controlled slides.”
Not to be outdone, Valtteri Bottas fired up the Mercedes-AMG W06 next, sliding around the route with aplomb, and then going into a full-on rolling burnout.
Jenson Button made a return to the world of Formula One too… in the two-seat F1 experience car. With Naomi Campbell in the rear seat. Oh Jense. Naomi was there for a reason, mind: in her hand was the British GP winner’s trophy, which she duly handed to former F1 world champion Damon Hill. (We’ll forgive the fact JB half span and stalled the thing in front of everyone).
Notable by his absence was three-time world champion Lewis Hamilton. No doubt he’s got quite a lot on his mind heading into this weekend’s GP…
Speaking about the event – and the UK’s position in the global F1 scene – Liberty Media’s Chase Carey later said: “We have a lot to do. We have a fabulous opportunity to take this sport to very special places. But in many ways, we think we can elevate it, and engage a whole new generation of fans. We do it for the fans. Today is a step in that direction.”
He noted the idea to have a week-long celebration of the sport leading up to the weekend, with the race at the “core”.
“We’re very proud of our British heritage. Our plans as long as we’re running F1 is to have a race in the UK,” he said.
So, come on, Chase, give us a proper London Formula One race.