Silverstone now 'equals world's best'
|By Simon Strang||Monday, April 4th 2011, 12:32 GMT|
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that Silverstone's new pit facilities, being built in time for this year's British Grand Prix, will ensure that the venue is now a match for any that Formula 1 races at around the world.
The new £27m 'Wing' pit facility, which is situated between Club and Abbey corners, will form part of the new startline area at the 3.67-mile circuit and is set to be completed and furnished in time for its official launch on May 17.
And Horner, who took a tour of the three-storey 16,500 square-metre building today, says that the new pit and paddock complex - which is 30 per cent larger than its predecessor - can give Silverstone the status it requires to silence its critics for good.
"I think it's fantastic," said Horner. "It puts Silverstone right with the best circuits in the world.
"It's quite staggering the scale of what has been built here in a very short space of time, but it gives the circuit a whole new feel and dimension to it and from a facility point of view obviously Silverstone has come in for criticism compared to some of its rivals, certainly in the emerging markets, and I think this investment in the Wing is phenomenal.
"It's great for British motorsport and makes Silverstone the world class facility it deserves to be."
According to Horner, the new building - work on which began in earnest early last year – fully complements changes to the circuit layout which were introduced in time for the GT1 World Championship and MotoGP events in 2010 and also used for F1's British GP.
"Circuit-wise, in terms of the track there has never been a problem here, it's one of the last remaining serious challenges on the grand prix calendar," said Horner. "Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka are the types of circuits that the drivers revel in and love competing at.
"With the facilities that have now been put in place, it makes the infrastructure of the circuit also comparable with any circuit on the grand prix calendar."
Asked if F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone – who has been highly critical of Silverstone's facilities in the past - would approve of the new complex, Horner replied: "It takes a lot to impress Bernie, but I think he would be very pleased with we've seen here.
"He has obviously given the circuit a bit of flack over the last few years, which if that has helped trigger this investment has been worthwhile.
"The facility that Silverstone will now enjoy is comparable with any in the world and it will be a great pleasure to come here. I think it will have a new feel to it, albeit with the track being the same, but seeing what we've seen today with the pit infrastructure and the facilities for the drivers, the media, for the stewards and so on it's going to be fantastic to come here in July and see it all up and running."