Why Britain should share its Grand Prix

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Nico Rosberg, Williams-Toyota, Silverstone, 2006, 3When Bernie Ecclestone suggested to the British Racing Drivers’ Club that they share the running of a their Grand Prix with France, the idea understandably got short shrift.

And the arrival of Lewis Hamilton on the scene is not likely to have made them change their minds.

But sharing the British Grand Prix between two venues has a lot of merit – and I have an idea exactly what the perfect second venue would be.

Silverstone should consider sharing its Grand Prix with another track. Ecclestone’s Grand Prix fees are not cheap, and only having to pay them every other year would be welcome respite even if it meant losing out on the gate receipts.

It could give the circuit time to arrange the much-needed development of its pits which are widely regarded to be among the worst visited by F1.

It would also bring much-needed variety to the Grand Prix calendar. It is an entirely viable option – many Grands Prix have done it in the past, and Germany will be rotating their round between the Hockenheimring and N??rburgring as of this year. The British round was shared between Silverstone and Brands Hatch until 1987.

Of course, Silverstone should not share its round with a circuit in another country. But there is another excellent venue near Silverstone that’s only six years old and has brilliant facilities.

Rockingham Motor Speedway would be a fantastic venue for the British Grand Prix.

I don’t suggest they could race on the oval – that would clearly be too dangerous. But if they can race on the part-oval Indianapolis circuit, then surely Rockingham’s excellent Sportscar circuit is an option?

Rockingham Sports Circuit, 2007It includes the banked turn one which would look utterly spectacular, it has a long straight leading from a tight corner to a hairpin for overtaking, and the infield is a million times better than that at Indianapolis.

The venue has been woefully under-used since it held two CART races in 2001 and 2002. Imagine its enormous grandstands packed with fans able to see practically then entire circuit – that would be a sight truly worthy of a Grand Prix.

OK so it’s probably not the most realistic idea – Rockingham’s owners almost certainly could not afford it.

But it’s fifty times better than the idea that Britain should share its Grand Prix with – of all countries – France. Especially if the UK is about to be swept by Hamilton-mania.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Why Britain should share its Grand Prix”

  1. But aren’t they removing the banked Turn 13 from Indy because it IS too dangerous? If Bernie and co. apply the same logic here, we might not have much of a circuit. Rockingham will also have to spend a lot to get on the level of Silverstone in terms of the track and spectators.

    But returning to Brands Hatch or Donington? Now there’s an idea…

  2. I strongly agree with Journeyer about Brands Hatch (although A1GP’s event there made the track look a bit small) or Donington, because Donington is just plain beautiful.

    I suppose renovations would be necessary, but aren’t they always?

  3. The track at Donington is excellent, but having been there this weekend at GP Live, I can definitely say that the facilities leave a lot to be desired.

    I can’t imagine them hosting any big event there, let alone an entire F1 weekend.

    It has potential, but needs investment to make it worth a look.

  4. I’m sure we all recall the great Senna exhibition at Donington in 1993 when he passed everyone in the rain in a McLaren Ford, a good car but a customer engine. Donington did the job then and could do it in the future with a little investment, after all the F1 circus was pretty big then too.

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