Silverstone, Monday: The recent deal to keep the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for a further 17 years was assisted by a last-minute intervention by the United Nations, it has been revealed.

Flushed with success: A Silverstone toilet

The deal, between F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Silverstone owners the BRDC, was not completed until late last week due to disagreements over the fee charged by Ecclestone, and the refusal of the BRDC to upgrade the track’s facilities.

However, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) contacted the BRDC this weekend to inform them that the historic toilets at the Silverstone circuit were being designated a World Heritage Site.

“Documentation exists to suggest that these toilets have existed in more or less their present form since the fourteenth century, and in reality they are probably many centuries older than that,” a UNESCO spokesman said. “This is an unparalleled example of medieval-style sanitation in Europe, and for that reason we have bestowed World Heritage status upon the facilities.”

Silverstone’s toilets have been the bane of many motorsport fans’ existence for years, but the UNESCO announcement means that planned upgrades will have to be cancelled. “It’s such a shame in one sense,” BRDC president Damon Hill said, “because we had all these plans ready about how the toilets were going to be improved, and we were really going to implement them this time. Honest.”

However, reaction to the news has been mostly positive: “On the other hand, I’m very pleased that the UN has decided to recognise the historical relevance of Silverstone,” Hill continued. “It’s very important that fans gain a true medieval experience when they come to Silverstone, right down to the periodic outbreaks of plague.”