When David Coulthard and Mark Webber roll down the Silverstone pit lane at the start of Friday free practice, their Red Bull Racing RB3s will be sporting a unique one-off livery. The "Faces For Charity" initiative was announced at this year's Monaco Grand Prix with the aim of raising money for Wings For Life, a charity that supports research into a cure for paralysis caused by back injuries. The charity was set up by Austrian motocross rider Heinz Kinigadner.
A total of 30,000 photos were uploaded onto a special web site by fans who have pledged money to the charity. These photos were then turned into finished artwork, transformed into decals and applied to David's and Mark's cars. The stickering process was complicated by the fact that the British GP weekend follows straight on from the race in France. Coulthard's car was rushed back to the UK on Sunday night so the work could begin, with Webber's car following on the race truck. Fans chose where on the car they want their photo and a template for each car was produced before being printed onto one large sheet of vinyl. Of course, the race engineers had their say, which is why there are no decals on the front and rear wings and the leading edges of the various parts are also devoid of stickers, to ensure the aerodynamic integrity of the cars.
In the build up to the British Grand Prix, some of the fans who have their photos on the car were invited to the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes to see the livery going on the cars. The final part of the stickering process will not be completed until Wednesday in the team garage at Silverstone.
David Coulthard about his home Grand Prix at Silverstone: "I camped at Silverstone as a boy and can remember one year, maybe 1989 or 1990, standing at the inside of Stowe watching the Ferraris coming out of the mist down Hanger Straight during a Sunday morning warm-up and just thinking 'wow, that's incredible'. That's why, even today, I can still understand what it's like to be a fan. I can relate to these people that have made the journey to the circuit who want to be entertained and see a great Formula One spectacle.
"A race track doesn't always deliver that every time, but when it does, it's very impressive. If you look at Turns one to five at Silverstone, there's no faster sequence of corners anywhere in the world. It's humbling to go through there as you have to have the bit between your teeth to hook it up and get through there well. If you go to that section and watch drivers though those corners, it's so impressive. We don't have many circuits with corners like that in the world. Eau Rouge in Spa is a great corner, but Silverstone has four corners of that level of speed and difficulty.
"My two British GP wins are right up there in my memories of my 13 GP victories. As a young lad going to Silverstone to watch grands prix, if someone said you're going to win the British GP one day, I'd have been delighted. Therefore, to win it twice was fantastic. My most memorable British GP moment is actually not one of my two wins, but is from 1995. I was going into Stowe corner, which was a ninety degree right hander at the time and I passed Alesi to take the lead. I could hear the crowd cheering above the noise of the engines, which was incredible. I'd never heard that in my life before, and have never heard it again since. I didn't win the race because the electronics failed and I had a ten-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane, so I finished second I think on that occasion.
Much is made of what it means to be racing at your home GP, but I think the reality is that it shouldn't make any difference to how you perform, as you should be trying your best at every race, so I don't think it adds any more pressure. Also, when you're in the F1 paddock you're so removed from the outside world you could almost be at any race anywhere in the world. But you do realise you're at home when you go out onto the track and see lots of union jacks in the crowd - and sometimes also a few Scottish Saltires!"