DRIVER DIARY: ANTICIPATING SILVERSTONE

Well, the season is almost upon us! It’s just a couple of days before I make my single-seater debut and, as you might imagine, there’s a mix of anticipation and nervous excitement as I think about it.

Silverstone’s National Circuit is probably as good a place to start this stage of my career as any other. I know that I have tested the Fluid Motorsport Developments Van Diemen a lot since the end of last year, but racing it will be another matter and a layout with only four real corners will allow me to get to grips with things without too much too remember about the circuit.

Formula Ford is all about close-quarters racing, so there will be enough going on around me to keep my attention. Oulton Park, the venue for round two later in the month, will be a very different proposition, with a lot more corners, more bumps and more to think about.

Amazingly, I had never been to Silverstone before I started testing single-seaters, having never been to a race meeting there whilst I was in karts. My first visit came when I tested a Formula Renault car in 2010 – and, even then, the circuit was changed before I tried it in the Fluid Formula Ford!

The alterations to the F1 circuit has also meant changes to the other layouts at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’, with the run-off at Maggotts now grass not tarmac, and the entry to the start-finish straight getting tarmac beyond the kerbs. They’re not major changes, and didn’t alter that way I approached driving there, but it’s obvious that big changes are being made.

Of course, the biggest change at the track is the new pit building being constructed for this year’s British Grand Prix but, even though the Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain is the headline event this weekend, we’re using the shorter circuit and will be based in the original pit-lane. Still, it’s nice to be in the garages, even if we shouldn’t get used to it. When we’re on the same bill as British F3 and GT, we’ll be back in the paddock!

You ‘feel’ that Silverstone is different to the other circuits we’ll be visiting simply because of the grander facilities that are there for F1, and it will be exciting to race there. However, wherever we race, I only want one thing – to be fast and competitive!

We’re quite happy with the set-up we’ve worked on for the car during the various tests we’ve done at Silverstone in recent weeks, but I know that it’s going to be tough to be right at the front in my first meeting. Realistically, we’re hoping to be in the top 8-10 in qualifying and then make progress through each of the three races that take place over Saturday and Sunday. I won’t have a team-mate at Silverstone, which breaks both ways – there’s no-one to compare data with, but I will have the undivided attention of the team!

Of course, I’ll also be carrying the colours of the AirAsia Team Lotus Driver Development Program from this weekend, which is a very exciting opportunity for me. It’s not often that the chance to be affiliated to an F1 team comes along, and I’ll be looking to make the most of it. There’s no extra pressure to succeed this weekend – there’s enough on my shoulders anyway – but I’ll certainly be looking to produce the right sort of results. I hope that some of you will be there to see how we go….

Until next time,

Matt

 

Article created by Craig Llewellyn.