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GP Week : Issue 50
their own Silverstone memories. For me, it’s sitting in traffic at 5am listening to The Beatles with my Dad on the way to watching the Grand Prix and debating whether or not we should just leave the car by the side of the road and walk the remaining two miles. It’s the first time I saw an F1 car in the flesh. It’s eating soggy burgers for breakfast. It’s hearing the crowd in 2006 applaud so loudly when Lewis Hamilton overtook two cars in one move through Becketts in the GP2 race that their cheers drowned out the noise of the cars. It’s welling up under the podium as he celebrated the win. It’s 36 jumping for joy with the crowd as Damon Hill took pole in 1996. It’s all this and more. But it’s all this and just 60 more laps of memories. It seems a bit silly getting carried away and all emotional about a circuit. After all it’s only a bit of asphalt in the middle of the countryside. Only it’s not. And one feels that it needn’t have got this far… that there have been ample opportunities to have saved the circuit from itself. Ultimately one has to point the finger of blame for the loss of the track from the sport at the management of the British Racing Drivers’Club and their inability to negotiate with Bernie Ecclestone… or the local community… or the British Government… or anyone for that matter. The BRDC sees Silverstone as the jewel in its crown, as its circuit. But what it seemed to forget was that Silverstone didn’t just belong to them. It belonged to all of us. It belonged to Formula 1. But now Formula 1, in the 21 Century, no longer belongs at Silverstone. The sport will move on to pastures new, and it is a huge shame. While Donington is set to be an exciting new venue, there are very few drivers in F1 who are looking forward to the move. Silverstone is a special place to race for them all. It’s a proper track, a tough challenge, and a bit of tradition. You can’t buy that. You can’t create it with funky new buildings. And yet that’s all it would have taken to keep it where it was. So goodbye Silverstone. We’ll still visit the track regularly, be it for club meetings, F3, or the MotoGP that’s due to arrive in 2010 along with circuit upgrades which just might have kept the F1 around a bit longer, but sadly we won’t be going to watch the F1 there any more. But at least we’ve got the memories. And what memories they are.