F1 London

It is the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone. There are plans to bring a Monaco style GP to London and to promote this idea there was a parade of F1 cars down Regent street on Tuesday night.

Working nearby and finishing at 4:15, I thought it might be cool to wander down after work and have a look. By the time I got there at about 4:30 Regent Street was already lined with people four-deep. So I stood around for a while staring at the same empty road as half a million other fans. Occasionally some security people would walk past. There was not a car in sight.

After about an hour of this, the crowd had grown even more and I was comforted by the fact that if all the blood were to drain to my toes and I was to pass out I wouldn’t actually fall over. Having run out of lamp posts, people were now scaling the scaffolding in front of a building site in amusingly reckless ways. The crowd, strangely bored with standing on one spot looking at nothing, voiced encouragement, pantomime style, as a tubby fellow had a go, exposing a builder’s cleavage on the way up.

My spirits lifted briefly as the safety car roared up regent street. Unfortunately, no F1 cars followed.

Fifteen minutes more of this and I gave up and headed for the bus stop. There were flashbacks to Millennium Eve as I was trapped by what seemed like a thousand bodies on all sides. Eventually I made it to my bus stop and after waiting for a bus for about forty minutes, I decided I may as well take some photos of what I could see as I had lugged my camera in especially. By this time I could hear the F1 cars and assumed them to be somewhere in the middle of the crowds. Piccadilly Circus was bursting with people. Not only were the roads overflowing, but it appeared the buildings were as well. A large number of people were actually on the roofs of the buildings lining Regent Street.

Having given up on the buses and Piccadilly Circus tube being closed, I headed for Leicester Square tube station. It was there I found all the buses and jumped on an exceedingly slow 19 that took the most diverted route imaginable. Not only did it not link back up to its normal route until it turned on to Battersea Bridge, but it didn’t stop once and if I hadn’t leaped off at the traffic lights I would have finished up at the Battersea depot.

So, I didn’t actually see any cars. But hey, I got to stand around a lot and take some photos of a whole bunch of people. Yay.

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