The hills around Silverstone…don’t exist. The paddock is being rebuilt. The infrastructure serving the place pales in comparison to the newer, flashier grand prix venues. There is a raw feel about the new parts of the track.
But you would be a fool to underestimate this old airfield in a corner of Northamptonshire. There is history oozing from the tarmac that will play host to arguably the greatest showing of talent this sport has ever seen this Sunday.
Whether you are standing at the majestic Maggotts/Becketts/Chapel complex, one of the best places in the world, past or present, to see an F1 car in action. Whether you are down on the Hangar Straight, where a crazed priest ran on the track in 2003, or down at Stowe Corner where Nigel Mansell slipped past Nelson Piquet in 1987 after a 30-lap chase. Or where Michael Schumacher ploughed into the barriers in 1999, ending his first real chance of a third world championship.
Whether you are at Club and Vale, where Schumacher and Hill used to dice, or at the new Abbey kink celebrating its glorious racing line. Whether you’re mourning the loss of Bridge or loving the complex up at Luffield, where the cars go slowly enough to see the drivers’ facial expressions.
Or whether you’re at Woodcote, where, in its various incarnations, Ronnie Peterson and James Hunt used to slide their big-tyred beasts in demonstrations of raw power controlled, and where Keke Rosberg flew to set the fastest lap ever, which would stand until 2004.
The fans must play their part, too. For all the pennies it costs to stay in their seat, they can make a difference to the English boys who will be racing on Sunday. Mansell used to say home support was worth a tenth of a second per lap, and although he was prone to the odd bit of hyperbole, he had a point. A driver will hear the crowd if they are loud enough, and will be spurred on.
There is history in this track, and let us hope more is made this weekend.