Silverstone 2012 was a throwback to the old days; unfortunately that extended beyond the presence of each of the living British world champions – Surtees, Stewart, Mansell, Hill plus the two in the race – at the circuit on Sunday. Heavy, sustained rainfall saw Silverstone plunged into the kind of muddy congestion crisis that was the norm a decade ago, most notably in 2000 when the GP took place on Easter Sunday.
Rain on Silverstone's parade
Silverstone has pledged to refund any ticket-holders who didn't make it through the queues on Friday or, remarkably, were advised to stay away on Saturday. Most remarkable of all, however, was the reaction of Silverstone's foremost critic Bernie Ecclestone. The biggest sigh of relief of the weekend for Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips must have been when Ecclestone blamed the rain rather than the circuit for all the problems.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge and his wife Ann had a busy weekend, taking in Serena Williams' Wimbledon triumph on Saturday before heading north to Silverstone on Sunday. Rogge was a personal guest of Bernie Ecclestone, the pair having dined together in London earlier in the year. Rogge predictably brushed aside the inevitable questions about Formula One as a potential Olympic sport; of more interest will be how the IOC and Formula One work together on turning Sochi's Olympic Park into the Russian Grand Prix circuit in 2014.
Making a scene
It may have been what they call 'adding value to the spectator experience' but Formula One's new podium procedure was, to these eyes at least, gimmicky and a huge regression on what has gone before. Gameshow-style flipboard flags, glitter, unnecessary backing music were followed by Sir Jackie Stewart – a fine man and legendary driver but a downright bizarre choice for this role – interviewing the three drivers as they stood on the podium. The procedure is the new norm at Grands Prix the world over, apparently: two weeks, then, to hope those in charge see the error of their ways.
Friends in high places
Caterham owner Tony Fernandes brought a guest with him to Silverstone in the form of his Olympic torch, which he ran with on race morning in Cambridge. Fernandes was invited to carry the flame by GE, an Olympic TOP partner and premium partner of the Caterham team. Fernandes also brought along Philip Beard, chief executive of his English Premier League club Queen's Park Rangers. Synergy all-round.