Although this is different from my usual posts, I decided to write about my day at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, well-known in the racing world, due to the fact it was a brilliant day, and I met some fantastic people. (Crofty, Ross Brawn and Arturo Merzario being among them.) I also visited the FiA and saw a prototype of the proposed halo concept for F1 cars next season, which I will also comment on in this post.
I was lucky enough to meet David Croft, known within the sport as Crofty, and not only did I meet him, I had a conversation with him in which he gave me useful career advice which only cemented my belief that he is one of the nicest and most genuine people in the sport today.
I was passing the Sky Sports F1 paddock where I spotted him practising, and he was more than happy to give me some advice, let me take a photograph with him, and give me his signature. I still cannot stop smiling to myself now at the fact that I was able to meet him and I wholeheartedly recommend that if you see him, go and say hello, you will not be disappointed.
I was also able to meet Ross Brawn, if only for a brief moment when he gave me his signature. There was a big crowd of people surrounding the Brawn tent, and he was more than happy to give his signature to a great number of people, and let them take photographs with him. I was very happy that I was able to get his signature, which only improved my already good mood on this day.
Finally, I managed to bump into Arturo Merzario, sporting his iconic cowboy hat and also get his signature. He was willing to give it, even though he could have just brushed me off, which improved my mood even more; my list of signatures getting ever longer.
Merzario was a Formula 1 racing driver in the 1970’s, who is perhaps best known for being one of the drivers to rescue Nikki Lauda from his burning car in 1976. In an interview BBC Radio 5 conducted following the release of the film Rush, Lauda stated “there was a guy called Arturo Merzario who jumped into the fire and alone pulled me out of the wreckage so I survived… so he really saved my life there because a couple of seconds more I would have never made it.” It was brilliant to meet this true hero, who expressed such bravery by jumping into the flames in order to save Lauda.
I also managed to catch a glimpse of Stoffel Vandoorne and Nico Rosberg, however only from afar, so I was unable to meet them. I spotted Rosberg from a high point, upon the Tesla stand, sitting in the back of a golf buggy, probably going to the Mercedes stand to meet some fans. It was interesting to note that almost nobody spotted or recognised Rosberg, as he was driving along, which as a fan of F1, seemed unusual to me, as I recognised him almost instantly, and I thought many others would as well.
Whilst visiting the FiA stand, I noticed a prototype of the proposed ‘halo’ concept to improve safety of the drivers, beginning next season, if confirmed. It had been met with mixed reviews, Sebastian Vettel, Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds and Nico Rosberg in favour of the idea, whilst Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenburg have spoken out about their opposition to the concept. Even though all those who have spoken out about it agree that it does look unattractive, however it would improve the safety of the cars, and even save lives. Those opposed to the idea point towards Felipe Massa’s accident during the Hungarian Grand Prix, where a piece from Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn became dislodged and hit Massa.
I even saw several contemporary F1 cars and some Group C cars. Overall, it was a fantastic day, with a brilliant atmosphere, great food, and of course, great people and cars. I recommend that everyone should visit, it is definitely worth it, you get see some amazing cars, and get close to some of your favourite drivers.