London, 4 July – These are very intense days for British sport. This is the final week of the Wimbledon tennis tournament and there are not many days left until the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. This event seems to be about to turn life in the capital on its head, at least to judge from the firm but polite instructions that dominate the luminous signs on the motorways, telling drivers not to go into the middle of the town by car from 15 July onwards.
This is also the week of the British Grand Prix, one of the historic rounds of the Formula 1 World Championship. Silverstone is preparing to welcome the 12 competing teams with its usual mix of rain and sun and plenty of promotional initiatives. At one of these, organised today by Shell – the long-time partner of Scuderia Ferrari – the protagonists were driver Felipe Massa and Chief Designer Nikolas Tombazis.
There was an unusual location in the shape of the Science Museum, for an event aimed at promoting scientific studies along with the employment and career opportunities on offer to youngsters. The guest of honour was David Willets, the British Government’s Minister of State for Universities and Science, while the President of Shell UK Graham Van’t Hoff showed the attending media what Shell is working on in terms of innovation and technological research.
Felipe also had the chance to put the finishing touches on his preparations for the next grand prix, carrying out some laps of the Silverstone track on the Shell simulator that has been created in collaboration with the Scuderia. He also tried playing the part of judge of the journalists’ driving talent, while acting as their instructor.
“It’s always a pleasure to come to England for a historic event like the British Grand Prix,” said Felipe. “Today I had an unusual but interesting start to my week here at the Science Museum and took the chance to speak to Shell technicians about the importance of their scientific studies and their training. To be honest, I have a few memories about my studies but they certainly weren’t as entertaining as the experiences of our guests here at the simulator today!” For Nikolas Tombazis this was a return to his past. Just a few steps from the Science Museum is Imperial College where the Greek engineer studied for his PhD in Aeronautical Engineering between 1990 and 1992. “I’m happy to have had the chance to return to this part of the world, especially for an event like this: I know how useful it is to be able to communicate to the younger generations the importance of scientific studies for their training, but above all for the future itself.”
Felipe’s day out in London ended with a visit to the Ferrari Store in Regent Street where the Brazilian driver was warmly welcomed by a group of Ferrari fans – among them several of his countrymen and some Italians, who are always to be found in great numbers in London in the summertime.