It's full throttle at Silverstone Ball

Racing's what they do best, but how do F1's drivers let their hair down? Jeremy King partied with the speedsters at the Silverstone Ball

Whether you're a fan of Michael Schumacher or Nigel Mansell,there is an undeniable glamour about F1.To celebrate the start of the British Grand Prix weekend,Stowe School in Northamptonshire played host to the annual Silverstone Ball on Friday 9 July.

The stunning grounds of Stowe School,its architecture and the acres of rolling greenery created the perfect backdrop for the party organised by Event Vision Marketing Services.

Now in its ninth year,the ball is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the sport's social calendar.This year's event,in a De Boer Structures' temporary venue, was attended by 1,400 people. Guests enjoyed a champagne reception, fireworks display, meal and entertainment by Kid Creole and the Stranglers, as well as a club area, complete with chill-out room, run by London's Pangaea.

Event Vision Marketing Services commercial manager Sam Van Niekerk says: "This is the second Silverstone Ball I have organised and it is something I really enjoy."This despite having to put preparations in action a year in advance.™I have to book suppliers and the marquee almost immediately after the debrief of the last event," she says.

As part of her preparation,Niekerk and the rest of the Event Vision team have to decide on a charity that will be supported by the event. She explains: "When selecting a charity I have to look at the support base and the type of patrons they bring.This year we have gone with Great Ormond Street,which is quite good as Bernie Ecclestone [F1 boss] is trying to establish a good link between the charity and the sport. It's the crowd,F1,the money, glamour, style and the down-to-earth approach of all the people attending that make the Silverstone Ball better than any other F1 ball."

In the 10 years since it launched,Event Vision has staked its ownership on a number of events including the Silverstone Ball and the La Dolce Vita balls, which take place at both Silverstone and Monaco.Niekerk adds: "La Dolce Vita was the brainchild of the team sitting down discussing what they would do if they had one night left on the earth."

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