This is a guest-blog by fans who attended the recent FOTA Fans Forum at Williams F1 Conference Centre, UK in the lead up to the British Grand Prix. It gives first-hand experience of their trip and provides details on some questions covered during the event.
1) How did you hear about the event?
I check the FOTA forum website regularly and I got a reminder about it from Twitter. It was easy to register (just email and name)
2) Venue and Turn-Out
The venue seemed to be out in the middle of nowhere – unsurprising for a F1 team! But the bus service from Oxford Train Station stopped right in front of the conference centre so it was a fairly painless experience.
The registration took a few minutes and we had the opportunity to visit the Williams museum/collection of cars. Refreshments were served in the trophy room. I saw a long queue which I was a bit surprised to learn was for Pastor Maldonado signatures – especially given his “interaction” with British driver, Lewis Hamilton at the last race! Turn-out was very good obviously helped by some fans who were heading to Silverstone from this event.
3) What questions were asked / answered by the guests of honour?
The only driver present was Pastor; the other personnel there were team-principals and “The Legends” – ex-F1 drivers. Topics discussed ranged from the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA), DRS/Pirelli tyres, Development of new drivers and Stewards Consistency.
Lee McKenzie is known for asking pressing questions and getting very interesting responses! She did well as this event’s host; she picked out several people/questions from different parts of the room. She also supported the guests’ responses with her own personal experience with drivers and media.
5) Did you get an opportunity to interact with the drivers/team-personnel afterwards?
Derek Warwick and John Watson signed autographs and Lee McKenzie had a chat with some keen fans at the end of the event.
6) Would you attend another event and do you have suggestions for improvements?
I definitely would attend another event. Someone I was speaking to suggested keeping the mic close to fans after their initial question to enable a follow-up to a response if desired. Also, given the turn-out, perhaps more time should have been allowed to take more questions.
7) What was your favourite or “stand out” moment of the whole experience/event?
The whole event was an amazing experience, especially the free entry into the Williams museum/car-collection – but the thing that stuck in my mind was what John Watson said about racing drivers having to be able to accept that death is part of their sport, and if anyone didn’t think they could stay calm after seeing a fellow driver injured after an accident (as he saw Gilles Villeneuve’s body after his fatal crash), then they should not be racing.