autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
F1 NEWS 

Hill: Silverstone upgrade was needed

Damon HillSilverstone believes the risk it has taken on with its planned 30 million revamp of the track over the next few years is more than justified because it has helped save the British Grand Prix.

With the track having officially opened its new Arena Circuit layout on Thursday, and plans well underway for a new pit and paddock complex to be finished as early as next year, Silverstone chiefs are investing heavily in making the venue better.

And although there is no guarantee Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, will recoup its outlay swiftly, BRDC president Damon Hill has said there really was no other choice open.

"It's a necessary risk," he said. "The alternative was very possibly that the British Grand Prix would have gone off the calendar.

"There is a justification to demand first-class facilities if you have a first-class event like Formula 1, and others like MotoGP, but it has to make financial sense.

"We have been through one experience with Donington Park and it could be quite feasible that if the wrong financial decisions were made that you would end up with no British GP."

Hill admitted that the BRDC's finances were being pushed more to the edge than they had ever been before - and also said the club was pinning its future hopes on British drivers continuing to attract large crowds to Silverstone.

Speaking about how far the budget was being stretched, Hill said: "Not to the absolute limit but certainly stretching further than it has been stretched before. There was an understandable reluctance to take on too much risk, but event promotion and venue operating is a risk business.

"I've made my points clear I think over a number of times that I think that there is a case for some venues, particularly historical venues that have provided a really unique challenge in terms of the challenge to the sport, to be given a deal that given them a chance to develop.

"But we are where we are. It is all full steam ahead, there is no way back from here. And we've been lucky and we are really relying a little on this country's tradition of producing world-class drivers who potentially drive people through the gate.

"We've had them on a consistent basis since before the last war, and the whole time grand prix racing has been in existence, but there was a lull between Hunt and Mansell but we are trusting that we will continue to be at the front of the sport."

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON
FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON TWITTER
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
  RELATED STORIES
Coulthard gives Arena the thumbs-up
Q & A with Richard Phillips
Silverstone eyes '11 for new pit complex
Webber: Arena layout good for Red Bull
Silverstone unveils new Arena layout
Silverstone works near completion
Silverstone to use new track for 2010 GP
Silverstone close to 'Arena' go-ahead
Q & A with Richard Phillips
Silverstone set to decide on GP layout
Silverstone confident over ticket sales
Silverstone plans new British GP layout
Button glad Silverstone is staying in F1
Hamilton delighted by Silverstone deal
Q & A with Damon Hill
Hill feared for British GP future
Ecclestone welcomes Silverstone deal
Silverstone secures British GP from 2010
British GP fate to be known on Monday
Donington could still host British GP
Time running out for Silverstone deal
Ecclestone sets deadline for Silverstone
No government funds for Silverstone
Silverstone closing in on GP deal
Ecclestone: Donington hopes are over
Whitmarsh: F1 needs British GP
Final deadline passes for Donington
Ecclestone warns Silverstone over deal
Silverstone already in 2010 GP talks
Donington admits bond plan has failed
Donington appoints Sir Rodney Walker
Donington's bond rated high risk
Donington unveils funding plans
Ecclestone denies Donington's deadline
Donington gets new deadline extension
Ecclestone pessimistic about Donington
Donington handed extended deadline
Donington confident over track progress
Ecclestone issues Donington ultimatum
Hill 'anxious' over Donington plans
Ecclestone: British tracks could share GP
Donington rebuild to begin in August
Donington gets final planning permission
Donington not concerned by F1 crisis
Ecclestone open to Silverstone return
Mosley: Silverstone may keep British GP
Q & A with Donington's Simon Gillett
Donington gets legal document boost
Silverstone fears for British GP future
Gillett confirms 17-year British GP deal
Donington's legal dispute resolved
Gillett insists British GP is not in doubt
Legal bid prompts new British GP doubts
Haymarket