He may be studying BA (Hons) International Football Business, but last weekend Goncalo Silva stepped foot inside Silverstone race track to work at the British Grand Prix. The event played host to an astonishing 350,000 people over the weekend, with the UCFB Wembley student helping to ensure it ran as smoothly and safely as possible. Here, he tells us about the experience and how it’s improved his knowledge of major sporting events…

Tell us about your role at this year's Silverstone GP. How did this come about?

My role was to assist the event team at Pro-Excel in their preparation of the ceremony before the F1 sprint races on Saturday, in which close to 1,000 dancers from various schools across the country were performing for the crowd at Silverstone. My role ranged from greeting schools from the car park and guiding them to the backstage area, to assisting in the logistical activities throughout the day. The position came from an opportunity presented to me on UCFB’s Job Teaser. I’ve recently got into F1 and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to attend and assist Pro-Excel. After I applied, I waited about a week before hearing that I was one of six people accepted for this role from UCFB.

What were the highlights of working on the GP? What did you learn from working at the event?

The main highlight from working at the Silverstone GP was the final performance from all the dancers attending as the event was one of the biggest performances in the world at the time. It was amazing to see the progression from practicing on Zoom at the beginning to being together at Silverstone. I learnt a lot from the logistical side of these types of performances from Pro-Excel. I have come to understand all the hard work done behind the scenes, from bringing over the performers from the car park and getting 1,000 people in their places for the performance, to smaller logistical activities such as putting up the signs and setting up the area before the performances.

As a BA (Hons) International Football Business student, tell us the significance of Formula One as an international event and what makes it unique on the sporting calendar.

As a student studying International Football Business, it becomes clear that F1 is very significant internationally especially as it isn’t set in one location throughout the year – every race is in a different place around the world with different tracks and different audiences. This presents an amazing opportunity for F1 as it can attract a much larger audience which will attract brands from all over the world. This is true for brands that want to grow such as Crypto, becoming major partners of the sport.

I think that the unpredictability of the sport makes it exciting for fans to watch as they don’t know who will finish first or who will get points and especially as someone might crash – this can happen in any second if the drivers are not careful.

An impressive 350,000 fans attended the GP over the course of the weekend – how does an event cope with that number of fans, given the pandemic, to ensure a safe and successful weekend?

Of course with that amount of people at Silverstone over the weekend it does bring up concerns of safety, especially given the pandemic. However, I think that certain factors allowed the number of people to attend at Silverstone to do so safely, including high vaccination numbers, everyone needing to have a negative test result beforehand and the event being held outside which reduces the risk of transmission. Also, Silverstone is a massive track and so even with 350,000 people attending it allowed fans to be more spread out.

Tell us about your highlights from your time at UCFB so far. What have you taken from your time here that will benefit you in the workplace?

The major highlights have been mostly from my first year at UCFB with the amount of opportunities presented to me from the extracurricular activities, such as basketball and public speaking, to the workshop sessions attended by key guest speakers including Neil Doncaster, CEO of the Scottish Professional Football League.

However, my second year has still been eventful as I was fortunate enough to gain a work placement at Maidenhead United as a Commercial Intern throughout the pandemic, which has enabled me to learn more about the football industry by gaining first-hand experience. I am looking forward to my final year at UCFB as I am going to complete my first term as Education Officer for the Students’ Union, as well as hopefully returning to on-campus learning where I can take part in more activities. I think from my time at UCFB so far I am able to bring more knowledge of the football industry through my studies as well as additional skills such as public speaking that I learnt from taking part in workshops and other activities.