Hill: Silverstone Should be Treated Like Ferrari

Former World Champion Damon Hill believes Silverstone should be treated in the same way that Ferrari is treated, due to the circuit's historical place on the Formula One calendar.

Hill: Silverstone Should be Treated Like Ferrari

Former World Champion Damon Hill believes Silverstone should be treated in the same way that Ferrari is treated, due to the circuit's historical place on the Formula One calendar.

The owners of the Northamptonshire circuit, the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), have learned yesterday that the British Grand Prix will not be part of the 2005 season and has been taken off the calendar that is set to be ratified by the FIA's World Council in two weeks.

But Hill, the last British World Champion, who retired from racing in 1999, says the decision is a mistake and lacks historical pespective on the part of the sport's organisers.

"The British Grand Prix has a special place in the history of motor sport but there is no sentiment any more in this business, as I found out as a driver. The only time F1 plays the history card is when it suits," Hill wrote in a column today in the Daily Telegraph.

"For example Ferrari is given special status. It is the oldest competing marque and is a key element in the identity of the sport. The British Grand Prix should have the same standing because of its history. Silverstone was the venue for the first World Championship race in 1950. This country has staged a Grand Prix every year since.

"Unfortunately business simply takes priority. Bernie Ecclestone holds all the cards. He decides where races should go and looks only at the commercial side. I think that is a big mistake."

Hill, son of British World Champion Graham Hill, added: "It is a very sad day for me. No one should be under any illusions about the way the sport is going. The show goes where the money is. That ought to worry every true motor racing fan, not only those in Britain."

Hill's compatriot, 1992 World Champion Nigel Mansell, also criticised the decision to axe the British Grand Prix, telling The Sun: "It's an utter disgrace. Silverstone is the home of British motor sport. This is a dreadful loss not just for Britain - but for Formula One in general.

"All the British drivers will tell you how great it is to race in front of their home fans. I'm especially grateful for the lift they gave me over the years. I won five Grands Prix in Britain and the scenes at Silverstone in 1992 will remain with me for ever.

"Silverstone is the original World Championship circuit. It's got history and tradition. I don't know if there are still negotiations going on behind the scenes but I certainly hope so.

"I can't imagine Formula One without a British Grand Prix. But if the race is axed, I will be disgusted."

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