British Grand Prix
Last year history was made at Silverstone by the home favourite Lewis Hamilton. Anthony Hamilton, Lewis’ dad brought him a radio-controlled car when he was just 6 years of age. Lewis finished second in the national BRCA championship in 1992. Following this success for his 6th Christmas present his Dad brought him his first go-kart and promised as long as he worked hard at school he would support his racing career.
As a youngster Lewis also enjoyed playing association football for the school team with Ashley Young, the England International midfielder. A lifelong Arsenal fan, previously Lewis commented that if F1 had proved unsuccessful he would have played football. He was also played for his school cricket team.
Driving at speeds over 200mph his biggest fear, you might think would be obvious. However, it is reported that being eaten alive by a great white shark.
As a confessed devout Christian Hamilton’s Philanthropy is worthy of mentioning. With his considerable F1 earnings he supported no less than four charities; including Great Ormond Street Hospital, UNICEF, The honeypot children’s charity and Children of Africa.
In 2016 his fourth triumph in Great Britain tied Lewis level with Nigel Mansell for wins on home soil. As well this achievement he is just the second driver to have won three British Grand Prix in a row. Only Alain Prost has won more times at Silverstone than Hamilton with a tally of five. In an F1 career that has lasted 10 years to date, he was named BBC sports personality of the year in 2014. From an eight-year-old karting in 1993, could 2017 be the year Lewis equals the Silverstone record?
Now onto the famous British track where Hamilton his setting records. Jack Williams an avid Formula 1 Fan goes Inside the Home of British Grand Prix for Your Letterbox prior to the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand prix to find out more.
Located in Northamptonshire, Silverstone is a circuit like no other. First used by Bomber Command in WW2 this humble airstrip has gone through many changes in its transformation into the Home of British Motor Racing! Its beginnings stretch right back to 1948. Silverstone was seen as an ideal location to bring British motor sport back to Britain. Having been given just 2 months to make it race worthy, the first race started on the 2nd of October 1948, pulling in an estimated 100,000 people to its debut race. Crops in the middle of the circuit, a roped off piggery and hay bales were all used to make it work for this first race – well that’s what you get if you ask a farmer to get it ready! Silverstone racing history had started!
Since the very first Formula One race in 1948, Silverstone has remained The Home of British Motorsport, captivating fans from around the Globe. No other Motorsport event in the UK attracts as much attention from fans as the British Grand Prix.
Silverstone has hosted the event a total of 55 times and has been the venue for some of the most historic races. In 1950, It was the venue for the inaugural championship race, won by Nino Farina in an Alfa Romeo. Having remained the only venue of the British Grand Prix for 8 years, in 1955 it began to share the event with Aintree lasting for another 8 years. Change came in 1963 as Silverstone continued to share the British GP but this time it was with Brands Hatch, running until 1987. Since then Silverstone has once again been the soul home of the British GP, even when the European GP was held at Donnington Park in 1993, Silverstone still held onto the British GP that year.
Remaining the Home of British Formula 1 is no easy task. There are three main reasons it has kept its title so solidly.
Firstly, no other circuit in the United Kingdom has the facilities or funds required to be able to host a Grand Prix successfully. In addition to this Silverstone is located right at the heart of ‘Motorsport Valley’ where 6 of the F1 teams are based, meaning that local interest in the event is far greater which enhances the revenue made from the event.
Finally, and most importantly Silverstone has gained a reputation for providing the spectators with memorable racing moments that has made the event one to remember for a lifetime.
Jack’s Personal Experience of Silverstone
It’s the summer of 2004, Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher has dominated the first part of the season, winning 9 of the first 10 races as he moves towards a record breaking 7th Formula One World Drivers Championship. And F1 comes to Silverstone.
Now being a massive fan of Schumacher at the time, I really wanted to go and see my racing hero race in the flesh. I was only 8 years old and never thought that I would be able to go to a F1 race simply due to cost alone.
However, my dream was realised when my Father was given 2 tickets and come the Friday morning I was raring to go. We arrived at Silverstone shortly before the first free practice session and sat on a grass verge on the inside of Copse Corner.
I will never forget the moment the first car came out of the pits with its V10 engine screaming as it entered the track. In those few seconds the Spirit of the British Grand Prix had lured another young race fan into its clutches.
That weekend was spectacular not just because it was my first time at an F1 Race but the race itself was fantastic with Michael Schumacher eventually beating a rejuvenated McLaren of Kimi Räikkönen.
The atmosphere was breath-taking, I will never forget it! The weekend was so spectacular that I’ve since been many times and each time the experience was first class.
I would seriously recommend that if you are a F1 Fan but have never been to a F1 race you should go to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone simply because the spectacle is insane.
Since 2009 Silverstone has seen massive changes both on and off-track to ensure that the British Grand Prix remains on the F1 calendar. Developments started in 2009 with rumours that the British GP may not be held at Silverstone from 2010 onwards. With this possibility Donnington Park, who you may remember hosted the 1993 European GP, expressed an interest to host the race. Even going as far as to begin redevelopment to meet the deadline. However, a deal was eventually struck that would allow Silverstone to continue to host the British GP until at least 2026.
The changes made to the circuit have enhanced the overall fan experience of the event. These include a new section of the circuit called ‘The Loop’ which consists of a new Abbey Corner as well as Farm Curve, Village Corner and Aintree which leads onto the Wellington Straight. A stunning new Pit Straight was built along with a spectacular Wing building which runs directly above the Pits.
These spectacular changes have ensured that Silverstone maintained its rightful position as The Home of not only the British Grand Prix but the home of British Motorsport, you can take this on the word of a true fan!
Silverstone itself has hosted some of the legends of Formula 1 such as Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark, and more recently Michael Schmuacher, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton from a local team who has previously dominated recent championships. With the beginning of 2017 seeing Sebastian Vettel lead and Nico Rosberg 2016 Champion now retired, it leaves me and many others to wonder if Hamilton the previous 3 time Grand Prix, Brackley based Champion will make it a fourth?
As for Silverstone, with the 2017 Formula 1 Rolex British Grand prix drawing close ensure you have your ticket for not only an amazing race but one spectacular spectacle, in a place steeped with racing history!
2018, Your Letterbox