Vodafone VIP Live in Manchester – F1

Vodafone came in Manchester this bank holiday weekend and on Bank Holiday Monday, Jenson Button was in town to drive through the streets of Manchester city centre. There was a special fanzone with various things like pit stop challenge, F1 simulator and go karting. I checked it out on Saturday just to see what it was like but then went with couple friends on Sunday.

We had a go at the pit challenge – which was a tyre change – which we were “OK” at. Tyres were light but when un-doing the wheel nut I ended up pulling the wheel gun away too quick and the wheel nut went flying! There was also the chance to sit in an F1 car and then have your photo taken. That was OK. The other main thing was the F1 simulator. It was basically just the front end of an F1 car with the steering wheel and pedals and hooked up with 3 monitors and an F1 game (probably F1 2010 on a PS3) – the track was the Barcelona track. I was really good as the steering had “force-feedback” so when you went round the bends it was moving about and it was tough to steer – compared to just a normal computer game steering wheel. Anyway, I did pretty good. I stayed on the track but was a bit cautious I think. Top time was 1:40 and 5th place was 1:45 – I got 1:46.629 so not too bad. If its really that tough for F1 drivers with the steering wheel constantly tugging away and moving about then no wonder F1 drivers have to be fit and strong these days.

Even if we wanted to do the go-karting we were not able to since it had been raining and the track was being dried. Also, the United v Arsenal match was on so we went to watch that. We ended up missing the first 20 minutes but saw all the 10 goals! I would “8-2” be an Arsenal fan!

On Sunday, it was the day Jenson Button was going to drive down Deansgate and into Albert Square. I first found a place near Peter Street but didnt see much. Safety car went past and say a blur. We decided to change place and ended up going up on the bridge at one end of Deansgate. A good view of the F1 car zooming up Deansgate and the noise was awesome. After about 4 runs, we moved to Albert Square for the Q&A with Jenson. In the end, he did a 2nd set of runs so got to be closer to the car – the noise was amazing. Considering he wasnt going anyw near full speed near Albert Square it was incredible. The guy talking on the PA said Jenson would go 70mph up Deansgate but in the Q&A, Jenson mentioned about doing 120mph 🙂 He also made a comment about seeing Arsenal fans yesterday when he got back to the UK and for some reason they didnt look to happy. Hehe. There were 1000s of people on the streets of Manchester city centre – lots of F1 fans. Granada Reports said there were 60,000 people! There was also a little feature of it on BBC North West news and I made it on to the TV – just! It was talking about people getting vantage points from everywhere and they showed the bridge at the end of Deansgate which we were on – my friend was just out of shot.

A good weekend. Watching an F1 car go down Deansgate, seeing Jenson Button drive down Deansgate and through Albert Square, changing an F1 car tyre, sitting in an F1 car, driving a F1 “simulator” and of course United beating Arsenal 8-2. Not bad!!The actual GP was good in Spa. Jenson drove really well with some great overtakes and went from 13th place to finish 3rd. The best bit of the GP though was when Webber and Alonso went side by side into Eau Rouge!! 

Here are some photos

Here are a few vids

Jenson driving down Deansgate in the MP4-12C road car

IMG_1092.MOV Watch on Posterous

Driving down Deansgate

IMG_1104.MOV Watch on Posterous

Through Albert Square

IMG_1107.MOV Watch on Posterous

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