• British Grand Prix

Silverstone ' a track for the future' - Hill

ESPNF1 Staff
April 25, 2010 « Schumacher 'an ordinary man of flesh and blood' | »
Silverstone's Arena Circuit under construction in March © Silverstone

Damon Hill has said that Silverstone will be a "racetrack for the future" as a result of the multi-million pound investment which culminates in the re-launch of the circuit next week.

"There were sleepless nights and many stressful moments," Hill, who heads the British Racing Drivers' Club, told the Mail On Sunday. "We think we have produced a racetrack of the future. It looks like it has the potential to be a real corker."

Less than five months ago Silverstone's future was in doubt. Donington had been identified as the future venue for the British Grand Prix and the historic track's days as England's premier venue for F1 appeared over. But Donington's finances proved to be false and Silverstone not only found itself back as host for the British Grand Prix, but secured a 17-year deal as well. That enabled the owners to raise capital to make needed improvements.

"The boat has been pushed out and, as usual, Bernie was right when he asked us to pull our socks up," Hill told the newspaper. "But we must stress that a risk is being undertaken by the circuit owners, the BRDC."

The work done since Christmas includes a track redesign, with six new corners and an increase in the length by almost half a mile. However, it will be faster, so much so that the longer course is only expected to add four seconds to lap times.

"Drivers have historically loved Silverstone, and we hope we have designed a challenging, exciting track for them that will make them like racing here more than ever," Hill explained. "I'm not sure drivers will ever be satisfied with what they get, but we've create some challenging corners as well as overtaking opportunities. What's important is that we have a circuit to test the world, at a track that has a rich history and heritage.

"But we can't be complacent. You only have to look across the Channel and see the effects on French motorsport now that it doesn't have a grand prix any more."

The revamped Silverstone will hold its first event next weekend when the highlight will be a round of the FIA GT1 championship.