Steve Hartley takes the Historic Formula One race at Silverstone 2012.
The 2012 FIA Historic Formula One (HFO) Championship supported the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for the second time in its history.
The run up to the event, which is inevitably somewhat different from the regular HFO format, was stressful from an organisational point of view and involved some last minute changes to the timetable including the loss of one qualifying session. By Thursday night however, all the teams and cars were ticked up in the huge HFO marquee which served as our pits for the event.
Continuing the theme of this summer in the UK, the weather was appalling for most of the weekend and the drivers prepared for the Friday qualifying session in conditions which were the worst most had ever driven a race car in. At any other event, the session would probably have been stopped but with time so tight, HFO soldiered on and the only minor damage was to the front wing of Philippe Bonny’s Trojan which was quickly repaired.
Bobby Verdon-Roe secured pole but most of the grid reflected the terrible conditions with the likes of Joaquin Folch back in the midfield.
The race was scheduled for late afternoon on Saturday but following the delay to the F1 qualifying sessions, it was not until 7:30 pm that the race started! However, the drama started before the race got underway!
Operating out of the National pits but with the start line by the new F1 pits, the usual HFO start procedures were modified for the weekend. The plan was for all cars to exit the National pits, pass the F1 start line and then complete a full lap to arrive back at the start line. Thus all drivers would get a lap and a half to familiarise themselves with the track conditions which consisted of a damp track but with a dry racing line. All drivers had elected to start on slicks so getting off line would be interesting.
At other events, it is common for the cars to proceed slowly through the pits at the end of their first lap, therefore by passing the grid and allowing an additional acclimatisation lap. Since the start line was not at the National pits, it was decided the pit lane would be closed once all cars had left. Unfortunately, Bobby Verdon-Roe’s McLaren suffered an unusual wheel failure during the first lap and he had no choice but to retire into the National pit lane. Six other drivers duly followed him in, presumably expected to drive through the pit lane, only to find the pit exit closed!
The rest of the grid continued around to the start to find the front three rows missing and a confused John Felix, HFO’s regular Race Director, waving everyone around for another lap in the hope that the grid would be properly formed the next time around.
At the second attempt to form the grid, there was still some confusion with cars lined up in the wrong slot but the race got underway. With a couple of cars out of place and poor starts for Richard Eyre and Simon Fish allowed Dan Collins to go from 10th on the grid to 4th by the first corner. Steve Hartley initially led the pack but was passed early on by Bill Coombs and then Richard Meins following a small mistake. Hartley found his way back past Meins but Coombs was pulling away. Dan Collins suffered a clutch problem and then his engine consumed a valve which brought a promising drive to a premature end.
Bill Coombs suffered what was believed to be a fuel pressure problem which gifted the race and Class C win to a surprised Steve Hartley. Richard Eyre who had brake balance problems at the start and dropped back, finally adjusted the balance to his liking and began to reel in those ahead of him, securing an excellent third place behind Richard Meins. John Delane recovered from an uncharacteristic spin to claim the Class A win while newcomer Mark Higson claimed Class B honours. Patrick D’Aubreby, always quick in difficult track conditions, took the Class D win.
|Position||No||Name||Difference||Class||Class Place||Car||Time||Fastest||In Lap||Ave Speed KPH|
|1||31||Steve Hartley (GB)||C||1||Arrows A4||31:52:822||2:04:185||10||166.053|
|2||18||Richard Meins (GB)||37.624||C||2||Williams FW07||32:30:446||2:05:686||6||162.85|
|3||6||Richard Eyre (GB)||80.535||C||3||Williams FW08||33:13:357||2:06:363||12||159.345|
|4||7||Joaquin Folch (ES)||81.347||C||4||Brabham BT49C||33:14:169||2:06:978||6||159.28|
|5||15||Patrick D Aubreby (FR)||1 Lap||D||1||Tyrrell 12||32:51:137||2:06:774||12||150.382|
|6||77||Mark Higson (GB)||1 Lap||B||1||March 761||33:12:134||2:16:479||11||148.797|
|7||27||Bill Coombs (GB)||DNF||C||5||Tyrrell 009||27:13:285||2:02:046||12||168.504|
|8||37||Tommy Dreelan (IR)||2 Laps||B||2||March 761||32:21:913||2:25:256||2||141.724|
|9||34||Ian Simmonds (GB)||2 Laps||D||2||Tyrrell 012||32:26:615||2:25:831||8||141.382|
|10||5||Chris Locke (GB)||2 Laps||C||6||Lotus 79||33:03:394||2:27:693||11||138.76|
|11||1||John Delane (US)||2 Laps||A||1||Tyrrell 002||34:41:488||2:26:688||9||132.22|
|12||46||Rob Lamplough (GB)||2 Laps||B||3||BRM P180||34:43:874||2:29:425||8||132.069|
|13||30||David Abbott (GB)||DNF||C||7||Arrows A4||27:50:702||2:12:797||11||152.037|
|14||3||Terry Sayles (GB)||3 Laps||D||3||Osella FA1D||32:16:754||2:29:074||10||131.151|
|15||23||Phillipe Bonny (FR)||3 Laps||B||4||Trojan T103||32:25:511||2:33:573||8||130.501|
|16||14||Michel Baudoin (FR)||3 Laps||B||8||Hesketh 308E||33:04:772||2:32:459||11||127.978|
|17||47||Cenzig Artam (TR)||3 Laps||A||2||March 701||33:25:818||2:40:867||7||126.636|
|18||19||Simon Fish (GB)||DNF||C||9||Ensign N180||33:25:818||2:09:801||8||158.307|
|-||11||Dan Collins (GB)||DNF||C||Lotus 91||11:10:758||2:10:389||2||157.367|
|-||12||Andrew Beaumont (GB)||DNF||B||Lotus 76||7:47:642||2:27:358||2||135.018|
|-||2||Bobby Verdon-Roe (GB)||DNS||C||McLaren MP4|
|-||67||Richard Dean (GB)||DNS||A||McLaren M28|
|-||99||Zak Brown (US)||DNS||B||McLaren M26|
|Driver||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4||Rnd 5||Rnd 6||Rnd 7||Total|
|Mr John of B||-||-||-||-||4||DNS||-||4|
|Drivers||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4||Rnd 5||Rnd 6||Rnd 7||Total|
|Mr John of B||-||-||-||-||4||DNS||-||4|
DNS = Did not start
DNF = Did not finish
WD = Withdrew
NC = Not classified