You have to hand it to the Formula One World Champions – they sure know how to bring it back to the fans. This weekend, the Milton Keynes based squad held their annual Red Bull Home Run on the streets of their HQ, and I was there to witness it (thanks to being only 20 minutes away on the train!)
Getting there for the start at 11am, it was clear that there was going to be a lot of people turning out. The cars were going to be driving on Midsummer Boulevard, which is pretty much right next to the main shopping area, thecentre:mk. Even the casual Christmas shopper may take a gander, so after a brief and unsuccessful trip to the Paddock, I settled on a spot close to the road to see the RBR cars in all their glory.
Now, I know it’s December already, but it was cold. After fighting my way to a reasonable position where I could see the action, it wasn’t for another two hours before anything came on track – and that was the marshal truck from Silverstone. Thankfully, Mark Webber broke the anticipation with a track recon in an Infiniti 4×4.
Then we heard the distinctive start up of an F1 engine, and the cameras came out. People rushed to the barriers to get as close as possible, including climbing on nearby kerbs, monuments, trees and even wheelie bins! Then the car screamed past, and Mark Webber lit up the freezing crowd with displays of speed and fancy doughnuts.
Next up was Red Bull stunt rider Chris Pfieffer, showing some dazzling skills on two wheels, including one-legged, one-armed wheelies that wowed the crowd. David Coulthard, ever the showman for the energy drinks company, took a 2011 Toyota Camry NASCAR up and down the quarter-mile track, treating to fans to some doughnuts, extra smokey.
Then it was time for the Champ to appear. Taking the same recon in the Infiniti 4×4, Sebastian got the biggest cheer of the day from expectant fans, waving from the passenger window. Another roar of the Renault V8 and the crowd gathered closer to the barriers for a shot at the young German. Just like his Australian teammate, Seb didn’t disappoint with a great display of speed and car control.
Now, this is where I have a confession to make. With the cold getting to me, I had to dive into the shopping centre to warm back up again! I managed to catch the dual run of both Webber and Vettel at the same time, and the interview by Jake Humphrey and DC, before the drivers came back up the track in open-top cars.
With the event drawing to a close, the crowd – estimated to be a whopping 60,000 people – dispersed back to either the rest of their Christmas shopping or making a beeline for the train station (of which I chose the latter). All in all, a good day to see the F1 World Champions give something back to the fans that support them throughout the calendar and around the globe.