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Silverstone, the British GP and Cloud Cuckoo land


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#1 LOTI

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:47

While I quite expect to be shouted down straight away, I am more and more coming to the conclusion that the BRDC should resign themsleves to the fact that they are going to lose the British Grand Prix at some stage in the near future and to put them selves and presumably all their members into debt by borrowing millions just for a new Formula One paddock is totally mad. When was the last exciting British Grand Prix? perhaps with the new regs it could get better, but relying on the weather is really not ideal. In fact, someone soon will mention the Emperor's New Clothes when it comes to Grand Prix in general, How many pole to flag wins last year? Far too many. How many exciting [dry] races.....I can't remember. What with silly FIA regs and a worldwide financial slow down is this really the time to commit to an event which only seems to be able to generate head lines for all the wrong reasons.
If I were them I would thank Mr E very much for his kind offer but regret they must decline.... but then what do I know? Save the money and concentrate on good racing and promotion of up and coming talent.
Thats all.
Loti

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#2 Yellowmc

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 10:59

I would agree with you if there was no Lewis Hamilton.

Seeing as there is though, they will not let it go.

#3 Hames Junt

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:03

Is it true that they're moving the pit straight to that straight before bridge?

I wonder if they'll change the layout apart from that...

I think they'll keep the GP though, when are the improvements scheduled to start?

#4 howardt

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:06

I'm beginning to think that Bernie, for all his games of brinkmanship, would actually back down on this one. When it came right down to the wire, he worked hard behind the scenes to make sure that Spa was on the F1 calendar. You know why? Because F1 wasn't F1 in the year without Spa, it was a pale shadow. Do they pay Bernie 10 gazillion dollars every time they stage a race? (Really, I don't know). Same goes for Monaco. Bernie would gladly drop the megabucks from the Chinese government in preference to losing Monaco from the calendar.
Silverstone, whilst admittedly holding a lesser position than these two, does still have some privilege because of the history, and proximity of so many teams.

If I were Damon I'd front up to Bernie and say "Oi half-pint! We ain't gotcha ten mil, but we're having the race anyway!" as an opening gambit in the negotiations.
Not much to lose, really.

#5 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:08

Spa also came back with new facilities.


Which is a shit way to decide which tracks they race at; but Spa did something Silverstone has (thus far) not.

#6 Suzy

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:14

Improvements cannot begin until planning permission is granted - and planning permission for the improvements won't be granted unless Silverstone is guaranteed to host the British Grand Prix. The problem is that the British Grand Prix cannot be hosted at Silverstone (according to Bernie) until planning permission is granted...

There are lots of ideas, lots of plans, lots of rumours and very little fact. On 02 April there was a large meeting between many of the major players and the planning permission request was referred back to the UK Government for a decision. There is one other potential sticking point which seems to relate to the plans for additional housing development on the other side (village side) of the A43. Regrettably there have been a couple of new NIMBY families move into the village who take great offence to having a race circuit nearby. :rolleyes:

#7 Clatter

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:17

Originally posted by Suzy
Improvements cannot begin until planning permission is granted... and planning permission won't be granted unless Silverstone is guaranteed to host the British Grand Prix. The problem is that the British Grand Prix cannot be hosted at Silverstone (according to Bernie) until planning permission is granted...

There are lots of ideas, lots of plans, lots of rumours and very little fact. On 02 April there was a large meeting between many of the major players and the planning permission request was referred back to the UK Government for a decision. I gather that a major sticking point is additional housing development on the other side (village side) of the A43. Regrettably there have been a couple of new NIMBY families move into the village who take great offence to having a race circuit nearby. :rolleyes:


Why does planning permission depend on the GP?

#8 Suzy

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 11:22

Originally posted by Clatter


Why does planning permission depend on the GP?


I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question. Sorry about that. :( I can try and find out though.

#9 tidytracks

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:24

Originally posted by Clatter


Why does planning permission depend on the GP?


No GP, no point in making the changes.

So, it's chicken and egg.

Bernie says he'll keep the race if they gurantee to make the changes.

Silverstone says it can't gurantee the changes unless its guaranteed the race.

Basically, nobody wants to do an Imola... those poor bastards have spent millions on updating their track, and will they get a grand prix in the next decade? No, not unless they pick the track up and all its new facilities and fly them out into the middle of a desert in a country nobody wants to visit.

#10 Clatter

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:25

Originally posted by Suzy


I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that question. Sorry about that. :( I can try and find out though.


Just curious as I can't see any reason why the planning dept would only let this through if the GP is there.

#11 Clatter

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:28

Originally posted by tidytracks


No GP, no point in making the changes.

So, it's chicken and egg.


I can agree with that, but that's not any business of the planning dept. It's up to the circuit owners what they spend their money on. Planning permission is to ensure the regs are met, and the buildings safe.

#12 tidytracks

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:36

Originally posted by Clatter


I can agree with that, but that's not any business of the planning dept. It's up to the circuit owners what they spend their money on. Planning permission is to ensure the regs are met, and the buildings safe.


Yes but there's also a lot of land around there which would need to be developed, so I would imagine that the local council have put a veto on unnecessary development unless its benefits outweigh it not being built.

From what I understand of the situation, the problem lies just there.

Planning department won't allow all of that countryside to be developed for no purpose. If the grand prix was to be guaranteed for the next however long, then fine, there is a reason to develop the land.

But if all you're going to get is a bunch of useless buildings, hotels, a race track and grandstands that go largely unused (should the grand prix go elsewhere) then what's the point? It's just better to keep the land the way it is.

#13 Clatter

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:49

Originally posted by tidytracks


Yes but there's also a lot of land around there which would need to be developed, so I would imagine that the local council have put a veto on unnecessary development unless its benefits outweigh it not being built.

From what I understand of the situation, the problem lies just there.

Planning department won't allow all of that countryside to be developed for no purpose. If the grand prix was to be guaranteed for the next however long, then fine, there is a reason to develop the land.

But if all you're going to get is a bunch of useless buildings, hotels, a race track and grandstands that go largely unused (should the grand prix go elsewhere) then what's the point? It's just better to keep the land the way it is.


I can see what you mean, but still think it's wrong for the planning permission to depend on the GP. It's either right to develop the land, or it's not. An event that happens for a few days once a year should not influence them.

#14 Ian Stewart

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 12:58

Originally posted by Ross Stonefeld

Spa also came back with new facilities.


Ross, you will know the answer to this one.
Did Spa receive local/national government financial help?

#15 Suzy

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 13:02

The redevelopment around the circuit (on all sides) is a huge issue. The housing is the one that is causing the most consternation. There are a lot of other intended projects in the pipeline too which can only begin to be considered if/when the GP future is confirmed.

It's not a straightforward process at all. I have listened to all sides of the story so far and there's never going to be a solution where all parties are happy with the outcome. My opinion (and I'll stress that it is an opinion) is that planning permission should be granted for the majority of the projects as it will secure Silverstone for other reasons rather than relying solely on the Grand Prix. There are events taking place nearly every weekend at the circuit and during the week too. If there were improved facilities then we may see even more people come through the gates but that is amy optimistic viewpoint.

#16 Peter

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 13:18

If Bernie is as much against Grand Prix in Europe as is made out, why does he insist on the ones in the "Far East"/Asia are run at times that suit a European audience?

I suspect it is a different agenda altogether (e.g. his dislike for the GPDA).

In any case, I thank Silverstone for a much improved road network in the area, appreciated by millions of motorists with no interest in going into the circuit, which would not have happened if it were not for the Grand Prix.

#17 undersquare

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 20:49

It's hard to imagine F1 with no British race. Alternating with France would mean all of the investment with half the return, hard to see that being accepted. Also the government would have a hard time justifying giving taxpayers' money to Bernie and CVC. Private equity companies are pretty unpopular here at the moment.

The market that F1 sells to is maily European, and so is the status. The US race is gone for now, if F1 became too much an Eastern championship, the sponsorship would dry up.

At the same time Bernie and Max are p*ssed of with Damon and the BRDC.

Max is weakened, Bernie's position may be weakened, and four of the F1 manufacturers have come out openly against Max, who looks set to cling on. That will really annoy them, I suspect.

Renault show no sign of winning and Carlos Ghosn is not a racing fan, he hasn't said anything in favour of Max and we might think that makes it likely he's against him. Add those factors to the races in France and Britain being alternated - Renault's biggest markets, Renault might pull out. That would leave Ferrari isolated.

I can see this going right to the brink. Possibly even, the trigger for end of F1 as we know it.

#18 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 21:57

The end is nigh! Put the A-Board away Loti. Britain is in large responsible for the F1 we know and love today. Regardless of most problems with the venue Britain should have a race as long as F1 exists and the BRDC should do all in their power including taking risks to secure it's future.

#19 scheivlak

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 22:13

Originally posted by LOTI
When was the last exciting British Grand Prix?

2003.
Just get someone to jump and run across the track ;)

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#20 F575 GTC

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 23:32

Yep, according to what my FIA GT programme says...

The new pits & paddock will be between Club and Abbey, with a new pit straight and reconfigurations of both corners. It's the first step in a 10-year proposal that will see a new manufacturer test centre, business park, extreme sport and lesiure complex, two hotels, a new university campus, a "Welcome centre" and some new homes near the circuit.



There also considering having a new heating & power system for the entire site. The new pits is designed by sport architects, HOK.

Damon's also stated as saying that "The British GP alone generates £30 million a year for the local area and it's vital we do everything we can to maintain this income"

Personally i think the new pit building looks ugly though. :lol:

#21 gshevlin

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 01:04

What I fail to understand is how for many years Silverstone's configuration was basically unchanged, then all of a sudden they started tinkering with it, and it has been revised several times in the last 10-15 years. Now they are going to revise it again...can't somebody get anything right?
If the FIA and FOM want to strike Silverstone, then I say call their bluff. They will soon discover that the losses in terms of prestige, money and interest will outweigh the benefits of a replacement race in Nowhereistan.

#22 repcobrabham

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:26

Originally posted by scheivlak
2003.
Just get someone to jump and run across the track ;)


damn, beat me to it! :lol:

#23 Foxy

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 03:55

Originally posted by howardt
When it came right down to the wire, he worked hard behind the scenes to make sure that Spa was on the F1 calendar.


Bernie has a vested interest in having Spa on the calendar. He owns all the concessions there I beleive

#24 Kooper

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 17:07

Originally posted by scheivlak
2003.
Just get someone to jump and run across the track ;)


What is Father Horan up to these days I wonder? ;)

#25 hajolyn

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 17:18

Originally posted by scheivlak
2003.
Just get someone to jump and run across the track ;)


In fact though the actual reason that race was good was because of the very high winds that meant all the cars' aerodynamics were less efficient and predictable, so in fact we have something even less easy to contrive, we can't just run around on the track, we actually have to make some sort of wind machine installed. Hopefully 2009 will allow better racing around the sweeping turns with the new aero rules... that's if there's still a race there :(.

The sad thing is that Bernie's tyrannical money-grabbing approach to forming the racing calendar is so familiar to us now that we don't even complain, we just all sit quietly and watch him slowly ruining the whole sport so that he can pocket some more money from his sheikh friends.

#26 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 17:48

The "British Grand Prix" does not have to be a formula one race. The event can be run to whatever formula or category the RAC -- or whoever owns he title these days -- wishes to run it to. Neither the FIA or Ecclestone owns the title, although they seem to think that they do. The run could run as an IRL event as the British Grand Prix. Few in the stands would realize or even notice the difference, since all the cars of today look the same from the grandstands. Not having a formula 1 race in Britain is scarcely the end of the world, indeed, it just might be what is needed to restore some level of sanity to a forumla that is clearly a legend in its own mind.

#27 LOTI

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 06:34

That is a really good idea.... what we need now is a lookalike Lewis and think of the money saved.They could even...... no that's just silly, I was going to say improve facilities for the long suffering paying public. If anyone thinks that borrowing millions and building a new paddock will keep the Grand Prix then, as someone said earlier, they should look at Imola. CVC want their money, they don't give a toss about racing. I know of people leaving the BRDC because they don't want to be involved in a massive bank loan, which in its self is a shame as the BRDC is the ultimate good old boys club.
So what we need is: a sprinkler system, a wind machine [although this is just a tad unnecessary at Silverstone] a pedestrian crossing, cheap tickets, an open paddock and proper support races. Thats all.

#28 Andrew Ford &F1

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Posted 30 April 2008 - 23:24

While I understand your resentment and share your fear over the fate of the British GP, I'd like to say a couple of words in defence of Mr E's actions. First of all he a businessman and, like him or hate him, you've got to admit that he's a bloody good one. Some of the events in the Middle East aren't that bad, races in Baharain are usually very exciting and the venue is unique both due to it's location and architecture, while the circuit in Malaysia is widely admired by drivers and fans. Guys, this is a global sport and for it to be one, it has to go to different places and not concentrate solely on Europe, even though I don't like the idea of having 50% of GPs held in the Middle East either.

The race in Britain has a siginificant historical value and should stay on the calender. Therefore I sincerely hope that both Bernie Ecclestone and Damon Hill do whatever it takes to continue the event. And may God help them.

#29 StefanV

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 00:30

They should cut down the amount of people allowed to work on the car with 50%. That would free up some space in the paddock. Then they must decrease the corner speed so that the run offs can be kept as is. Another alternative would be to let the organizers keep some of the money they generate. Then they could invest.

#30 pingu666

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 00:50

they probably have 1/4th less of teh staff and equipment? they did last year with the new 3rd car rules