By the admission of the most adamant of Formula One fans, Friday’s can sometimes be a tad dry. However, FP1 and FP2 in Silverstone today was anything but dry, with some major talking points and controversies which have had pundits talking well into this evening. Williams and Mercedes made most of the headlines today, with Susie Wolff’s race weekend debut being the epitome of anti-climatic and both Felipe Massa and Valterri Bottas running into trouble. Meanwhile, the battle between Hamilton and Rosberg has already began to sizzle, with the Brit suffering a decidedly annoying internal combustion engine failure in FP2, and Nico Rosberg giving Mr.Mansell and the stewarding team, some early work this weekend.
Could It Be Worse?
Williams’ day was perhaps one of the worst Friday’s I have seen a team suffer in a long time. Let’s start with FP1 shall we, and Susie Wolff became the first woman to compete at a Formula One race weekend for 22 years, yet her debut was cut short. After a mere four laps, her FW36 ground to a halt on the exit of the Vale chicane. A cruel twist of fate for the 31-year-old who has been waiting years for this opportunity. The one positive that Susie can take from today is the fact that she has another chance to demonstrate her talents in FP1 in Germany.
This particular failure was identified as related to a drop in oil pressure. However, Williams’ problems were about to get a whole lot worse as just moments after the failure, Felipe Massa crashed heavily into the wall on the exit of Stowe corner. The Brazilian struggled through the apex, ran wide on the exit and, applying the power on the astro-turf, (where grip was unquestionably at a premium at this stage of the weekend), and the subsequent spin led to the scene of the accident. For a man of Felipe’s experience, it was surprising to see him pushing so hard at such an early part of the weekend. A simple lift would have spared the team the extra work which will have to go into the tedious rebuild and the precious funds which are always a factor.
Just when Williams thought that all of their misfortune had been spent in FP1, Valtteri Bottas suffered the next issue and the most mysterious incident of the day. As he cruised along the Hanger Straight, the engine cover inexplicably failed, with an unsightly hole ripped into the bodywork. The cause of this explosion, (which is not overstating the incident by any stretch of the imagination), is yet unclear. What I will say, is that in 14 years of watching Formula One, I have not seen anything like that before!
More to follow…