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F1 comes to London

“The DriveTo Be 1st – Wednesday 26th June 2013 4pm – Compete against the Lotus F1 Team drivers”

When I read this on twitter I knew where I wanted to be that day! Could this be an opportunity to meet Kimi Raikkonen?

I have to admit I was dubious.  Surely if Kimi was going to be there wouldn’t they have mentioned him by name? It would be a huge draw after all.  Instead, the term ‘Team drivers’ (of which Lotus has five) seemed to have been carefully chosen to cover all eventualities. But he hadn’t been at the last Lotus store event, so I remained hopeful.

Fortunately a second reason to be in London for Formula 1 that day also presented itself. The FOTA (Formula One Teams’ Association) Fan Forum would be in town ahead of the Silverstone Grand Prix; with both Team Principles and Drivers there to answer questions from the fans. I was fortunate enough to secure a last minute ticket!

London looked glorious in the sunshine! Having arrived early I had a bit of time to spare, so I decided to spend it in St James’ Park…

IMG_2428b

I wanted to get to the store early to see what the situation was and whether there had been any more news on the driver line up.  I was one of the first to arrive, and it wasn’t long before I got my answer as to which drivers would be there…

Lotus F1 reserve driver Davide Valsecchi was the first to make his way out of the store, where he began to run through a few rehearsals for the event later on.

Davide Valsecchi and his volume filled hair!

Quite a crowd had begun to gather and a queue began to form. It became clear that many had also made the journey here to see Kimi. The event was being held to launch a new range of Lotus merchandise and you would have the opportunity to have this signed by the drivers; but who would that second driver be?…

The answer to that question came soon enough, as next out the door came Lotus race driver…………. Romain Grosjean.

The ever expressive Romain Grosjean!

Whilst his arrival signalled to everyone waiting that unfortunately Kimi wasn’t to be there that day; it was still a great afternoon!  I got to meet some great people whilst waiting in line and it was fun to be a part of the product launch, taking in the atmosphere and meeting the drivers!

This mannequin was the closest I got to meeting Kimi Raikkonen that day

Hopefully next time Kimi!

After the Lotus event it was time to head in the direction of Tower Place near the Tower of London for the FOTA Fan Forum.

It was an exciting event to be a part of! Hosted by BBC Radio 5 Live F1 reporter Jennie Gow, the line up included Team Principles: Sam Michael (McLaren), Claire Williams (Williams), and Graeme Lowdon (Marussia) for the first round of questioning… followed by Formula 1 Drivers: Valtteri Bottas (Williams), Max Chilton (Marussia), Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso) and Martin Brundle for the second round.

Great questions and very interesting answers. Valtteri Bottas but particularly Daniel Ricciardo impressed me, coming across really well! I’m not sure Daniel ever stopped smiling; which everyone seemed to really appreciated with good applause for his responses!

After the event the drivers did a few signings, which luckily I came prepared for!

All round it was a great day, a fantastic experience and the perfect way to kick off the British Grand Prix weekend early!

Photo’s and a Video Stream of the Fan Forum can be seen over on the FOTA website: http://www.fota.co/2013/06/25/fota-uk-fans-forum/

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Categories: Uncategorized
Posted by tomclancy on July 1, 2013

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