Silverstone, Monday: British Racing Drivers’ Club president Damon Hill has vowed that he and his organisation will “stop short of nothing” to save the “history and tradition” of the British Grand Prix after Donington’s plans to host the GP from 2010 onwards took a further step towards realisation today.
Early reports from Leicestershire suggest that the planning application for Donington’s circuit upgrades, which will bring the venue to Grand Prix standard, will be approved on Thursday, leaving developers clear to begin construction on the exciting new project.
Hill, however, was less than optimistic about the prospect of a new era for the British Grand Prix: “For many years, the British Grand Prix and Silverstone have been synonymous,” he said. “Furthermore, these two terms are also synonymous with laziness, complacency and pisspoor organisation. The BRDC has prided itself on preserving the history and tradition of the British GP over the years by consistently refusing to bring Silverstone into line with other top-class GP venues, such as Interlagos and Monza.
“By taking the British Grand Prix to a world-class venue such as Donington promises to become, Britain risks losing its long-held aura of relaxed nonchalance towards Formula One, and the total indifference of the BRDC towards whether or not we have a Grand Prix in this country at all.”
Hill denied that the BRDC could have saved the British Grand Prix at Silverstone by making minor upgrades to the circuit’s safety and facilities, stating: “That is not what we are about at all. We know that we can trade on our past reputation to secure the future of the British GP; after all, Bernie Ecclestone wouldn’t dare take F1 away from the UK.”
Reports that Mr. Ecclestone himself had to undergo emergency surgery to repair the sides he had split after hearing this last comment appear to be wide of the mark.