Williams deputy chief Claire Williams says that Formula 1 should look to staging more fan events away from Grand Prix race weekends.
Friday saw the team host a huge event at Silverstone as part of the team’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Around 50,000 fans attended the event, which saw classic cars from the team’s past including the six-wheeled Williams FW08B and the 1992 title-winning FW14B on display.
Current drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll were in attendance, along with former stars including Nigel Mansell, Martin Brundle, Riccardo Patrese, and Keke and Nico Rosberg.
“When I went out for the pit lane walkabout so many fans were saying this is wonderful,” said Williams. “[They said] we’ve seen more Formula 1 drivers in the space of two hours than we’ve seen for the past 20 years at Silverstone.
“That tells you something. It is easy to do. Not so much work has to go in and people want to see it. So we should be giving more things like this for the fans. There is no reason why we can’t do more events like this.”
- Williams commemorates 40 years of F1 with day out at Silverstone
Williams did admit that organising an event for so many people wasn’t without its pitfalls.
“We’ve done events like this that we call our partner days that we haven’t invited fans to,” she explained. “One of the restricting factors is when you don’t know how many people you are going to get.
While the team thought it would be popular, even they didn’t expect the level of interest they got.
“When we did this we thought we would only get three or four thousand,” said Williams. “But within two days we had 30,000 registrations.
“I know that it is half term week so it is easier to get younger children here.
“For any circuit to have to manage that as an event organiser – with St Johns Ambulance, traffic management, the police – it suddenly becomes a mini Grand Prix weekend that nobody has budgeted for.
“There is the expense issue but we need to be doing more things like this,” she insisted. “I think it is so important.”
Also present for the event was Formula 1’s new sporting director Ross Brawn, and his commercial counterpart Sean Bratches.
“Sean Bratches and Ross Brawn have been here today and they wanted to come and experience what teams can do when they want to,” Williams said.
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