AW Repair Group’s management were treated to a rare glimpse into world behind the scenes of Formula 1 as invited guests to the home of Williams Racing, Grove, Oxfordshire to watch the recent Grand Prix.
Lincolnshire branch manager Steve Hoe is a self confessed F1 fanatic and shares his experience with us here….
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of AW Repair Group; James, Ian, Andrew and myself to thank PPG Paint Supplies for the invite and thank Simon Boulter, our area manager for making our ‘money can’t buy’ experience one never to be forgotten.
When I first arrived at the Williams Conference Centre the first thing I saw was their sculptured hedge – I couldn’t quite believe it, it put my perfectly pruned garden to shame! I then walked into the Centre where I found a suspended F1 car, all I could think was ‘wow!’
Throughout the day there were F1 activities to take part in, proudly I did quite well with all of them!
Firstly was the F1 simulator which is seated in an FW22 which was actually driven in 2000 by Jenson Button + Ralf Schumacher! The simulator is in the trophy room, so you could browse over all of the trophies won and all of the helmets from the drivers.(Ian Pearson, General Manager, Denaby – pictured right)
I was chuffed to beat the MD & the other managers on the giant 4 lane scalextric with F1 cars and my winning streak continued with the next two more energetic activities…
The Batak challenge, used to improve reaction, hand-eye coordination and stamina. Eight LED numbered targets are put under the control of a dedicated microcomputer. The goal is to touch as many of the illuminated lights as possible in a set time, a typical F1 driver gets 70-80 in a minute, I managed 41…still higher than the others!
Last but not least – The PitStop Challenge, a real-life experience being under pressure of an actual Formula One Pit Stop. We managed it in the end and what a laugh we had.
We were then escorted in to the conference room where the Williams chief engineer talked about the race, how they formulated their strategy with pitstop times, lane distance, track distance and various other timings. We also had a live link with Felipe Massa who was talking about his predictions of the race – which turned out to be pretty spot on!
The race was then on, the atmosphere was buzzing, it was like we were track-side! William’s Massa came 3rd in the race, however Lewis Hamilton was the winner, but what a race.
Following the race we enjoyed a three-course meal at the centre. The food was lovely plus we got a little something to take home – a master cylinder valve in a glass cube. Only 1000 were made so we got our limited edition number with it! A great keepsake for an F1 nut like me!
As we were leaving, I managed to find the wrong door – however it lead me into the collection room displaying all F1 cars through the years. That was really special and something I really enjoyed. I’m certainly glad I took that wrong turn!
Click here for a quick look at the Williams Conference Centre.