Yes Lewis Hamilton is a Formula One god, having finally won three races in three consecutive years at the same circuit, he now joins the pantheon of elite drivers in the sport. The class includes Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Mika Hakkinen, Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg – who has won 3 consecutive Monaco GP, something Hamilton will most likely never achieve.
Just to rub it in, Lewis’ hero Ayrton Senna, won 5 consecutive Monaco GP.
The 2016 British GP was dull and Charlie Whiting’s decision to start the race under the safety car and then waste 10% of the lappage behind Bernd Mylander was woeful. Charlie is of course facing legal action from Jules Bianchi’s family and so belatedly now, safety is his priority.
Some say… shame he didn’t apply the same standard of care at the Japanese GP in 2014 when he was pressurised by Bernie Ecclestone to start the race in weather conditions too awful to describe. This act did of course ensure contractual arrangements were complete and forced Honda to pay the $40m hosting fee.
But we digress.
The story of the demise of the British GP begins in 2016. The escalator on the fee means the management of the circuit needed to raise an extra £1m this year., almost £2m next year.
It was plain for all to see that today there were a number of empty grandstands at the Northamptonshire circuit, around turn one and behind the Wellington straight. Driving extra numbers on race day appears to have failed.
Fans with general admission tickets were upgraded on race day for as little as £10, to make the seating areas appear full. Others had paid 3 times the price for a similar seat.
To put this in perspective £1m a year more for Bernie and FOM means a 7% increase on revenue is required to cover this escalator. 2015 saw a record crowd of 140,000, so lets see where the numbers come in this year.
Nowhere will be the answer. And despite the soon to be made announcements of the Silverstone circuit, the chance of a hosting fee ‘paid up’ on time 2017 event is almost zero.
So w is doomed.ith nothing to lose and an ever diminishing profit margin, its time the Silverstone management to tell Ecclestone to ‘do one’. Given the infrastructure facility demands required by FOM to host a GP, there is no other track at present could host the British GP.
The circuits new Chief Executive, Patrick Allen, knows the score and realises unless F1 changes its ways, his event is doomed. “The access that people have [in WEC], unlike Formula One, is second to none,” says Allen. “I think F1 can be a bit too precious sometimes and I think a bit more access for the fans who are paying good money to watch their heroes battle it out like gladiators on the track, [and] they want to get up close to these people.
“We used to do it in the past, [although] I don’t think we’ll ever get back to the Colin Chapman throwing his cap in the air as a Lotus crosses the finish line, but there should be an opportunity for fans to get close to the action.”
The problem is, people in the sport know Bernie Ecclestone hates the British racing establishment, who facilitate F1. Having been ripped off by in the past years, Ecclestone appears to prefer to see the event fail on a point of principal.
When billionaires decide… there’s little can be done.