There is a fantastic atmosphere here at Silverstone today, with over 100,000 people looking forward to a great day’s racing. We had 85,000 here on Friday, which is more than most Grands Prix get on raceday.
Bernie Ecclestone’s comments yesterday that we will be back at Silverstone next year if Donington isn’t ready have been well received by the F1 fraternity and the public and it has given some reassurance in a weekend of instability.
The weather is not as warm as predicted, it’s currently only 15 degrees, which is not going to help Jenson Button very much. He needs the track to be warmer to get the tyres working properly on his Brawn Mercedes car.
The crowd knows that Button is up against it today. Vettel and Red Bull are in such a strong position. That said, there is a 50% chance of a safety car here, based on the last 6 years, so if we were to get one of those at the wrong time it might make things interesting and give Button a chance to get on the podium. I think that is his best hope today.
The paddock is abuzz, as it has been all weekend. Mid morning Max Mosley arrived in a Mercedes van with Bernie Ecclestone. Notwithstanding Max calling the FOTA breakaway members ‘loonies’, the pair have been engaged in a lot of behind the scenes dialogue with the teams to try to find a solution.
Mosley is convinced that Flavio Briatore wants to become the Bernie of the new series. Time will tell. It’s probably not going to be sorted quickly, although the sponsors and TV companies desperately want it to be. I notice that the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson is here today, casting an eye over his corporation’s huge investment.
Personally I still believe that the key to it is Ferrari’s contract with the FIA and FOM. That is being looked at in a civil court in Switzerland at the moment. If it decides that Ferrari are free agents then a deal will surely be done.
FOTA is serious about a breakaway, but they would prefer to race in F1 if they can get the right circumstances.