Formula One’s big-hitters are turning out in their droves to urge Bernie Ecclestone to offer Silverstone the contract to host the British Grand Prix in 2010 following the failure of Donington Park to come up with the necessary funding.
Donington Park won a 17-year contract to host the event but the failure of Simon Gillet’s Donington Ventures company to demonstrate it has put Silverstone back in the frame.
However, a 2010 British Grand Prix is still by no means certain since the circuit-owning British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) are once again loggerheads with Bernie Ecclestone over the fees to host the event.
Mark Webber has become the latest figurehead to lend his support to Silverstone, joining team principals Ross Brawn (Brawn GP), Christian Horner (Red Bull Racing),
Here’s what they had to say:
MARK WEBBER (Red Bull Racing): “We have to have the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. It’s a total no-brainer,” he told the BBC Look East. “It’s a sensational circuit. And it’s always been very well attended.”
“I know all the other F1 drivers love coming here. It’s got that amazing feel about it in terms of the very, very quick corners. It’s a challenging circuit. It’s one that is back to the roots of what F1 is all about.” Source: BBC Sport.
ROSS BRAWN (Brawn GP Team Principal): “We saw a fantastic event at Silverstone this year, with the huge support it had. I think it was (BRDC President) Damon Hill who made the point, with which I completely concur, that F1 is what it is because of the balance of races it has, the history it has, the heritage it has.
“The reason that F1 as a championship and as a series is so attractive to countries like Abu Dhabi and the new races we’re going to is because of that heritage and that history, and if we destroy that, then perhaps we don’t remain as attractive for countries in the future.
“We’ve got to get a balance between keeping the history and heritage of F1 and the new opportunities we have at fantastic circuits like [Abu Dhabi], so I think it would be a tragedy if we lost Silverstone and I hope Bernie can find a solution with Silverstone to keep the race there. The Donington episode has been an unfortunate distraction, but let’s hope that he can find a solution for the BRDC to run the race at Silverstone in the future.â€
CHRISTIAN HORNER (Red Bull Racing Team Principal): “You have to consider the difference in resources available to the different circuits,â€ added Horner. “[The new Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi] has a nation behind it; Silverstone is effectively a private entity. I think Silverstone and the British Grand Prix is a very important and significant part of the calendar. It’s a historic race, it’s been there since the start of the world championship, it’s a great circuit, the drivers love it and it’s a local grand prix to probably more than fifty per cent of the teams.
“I really, sincerely hope that now that the Donington bid appears to have stumbled, a solution can be found between Silverstone and FOM, and I’m sure that every effort is being made to achieve that. We would certainly see Silverstone as a great loss from the calendar should it not be there in 2010.â€
BOB BELL (Renault Team Principal): “I totally agree with Ross in that I think one of the great strengths of F1 is its diversity,â€ the Englishman stressed, “and it would be very, very wrong to threaten that with an all-new era. That’s important and equally, as Christian said, it is the home grand prix for probably the majority of people who work in F1.
“I know how important that is to the ordinary members of staff in the factories that turn out the pieces for F1 and provide the entertainment, and I think it would be a great shame for all of those people and their families if they weren’t able to enjoy it locally. I’m a great supporter of it, the team is a great supporter of it and it would be a great shame if it was lost.â€