Pitlane Diary: British young guns called to the BAR

Click to follow
The Independent Online

After the bomb atrocities in London, Silverstone Circuits issue a statement confirming their own security measures are adequate to safeguard racegoers. Crowd favourite Jenson Button says: "We are deeply shocked and saddened by what happened in London. My heart goes out to the victims and the victims' families. It's a difficult way to start the weekend for everyone but we will try to put on the best show for fans in the situation we have."

The FIA reveal the findings of a survey conducted prior to the US Grand Prix fiasco, in which 93,000 respondents gave their views. They want more overtaking, and three-quarters express their desire to see a greater emphasis on driver skill. Almost 70 per cent want more teams and 84 per cent call for 18 or more races. Only 15 per cent believe F1 incorporates the right balance of technology and driver skill. Monaco and Spa are the most popular circuits but Silverstone, Monza and Suzuka all score highly. Almost all the respondents watch the races on television, but only 76 per cent watch all of them. Up to 95 per cent have visited an F1 website but only 55 per cent express a willingness to buy an F1 publication. Nearly 50 per cent admit to having bought team merchandise, with America boasting the biggest market and - despite Michael Schumacher's success - Germany the smallest. Unsurprisingly, the FIA say the survey supports their long-term aims for the sport. But they would say that, wouldn't they?

BRDC president Sir Jackie Stewart launches a new subscription-only magazine entitled Silverstone, a glossy, full-colour bi-monthly published in conjunction with Barker Brooks Media of Harrogate to take readers behind the scenes of Britain's leading F1 venue.

Later in the evening, photographer and crash.net proprietor Bryn Williams hosts a party to celebrate the purchase of the annuals Autocourse, Motocourse and Rallycourse at their Silverstone Innovation Centre headquarters. All three titles had been in danger of closure before Williams came to their rescue.

Friday: normal service resumed

Oh dear! Entry problems as usual at Silverstone, as polite jobsworths deny access at the media gate because they have not been briefed properly. However, the smooth system clicks in after complaints and normal service is resumed before midday. In general, the access nightmares of yesteryear appear to have been alleviated.

BAR announce that upcoming British stars Adam Carroll and James Rossiter have been signed to long-term agreements. Carroll, 22, is fighting for the GP2 championship, while the 21-year-old Rossiter is chasing the European F3 crown. Both have already tested BAR's F1 car and will gain more track time in the coming months.

Project leader Jock Clear said: "We are delighted to sign Adam and James at BAR Honda, and to see that all of the effort that has been put into the Young Driver Programme is starting to reap rewards. They have both demonstrated the high standard of their racing skills this season, and we feel that the time is right for them to make the next step. While our Young Driver Programme will continue to focus on their all-round development, they now become available for testing duties, and with that comes the responsibility of making a contribution to the team's progress."

Yesterday: food for thought

Access is perfect but one gate guard turns down a bag proffered for safety inspection with the words: "We can't do that until the police have finished their breakfast." It transpires that James Rossiter will get a chance to follow the wheeltracks of British speed kings Richard Noble and Andy Green when BAR take a car to the Bonneville Salt Flats in October to discover exactly what straightline speed a current F1 car can achieve when "all the bits that help it to turn corners have been removed". Speeds of around 250mph are anticipated.