Silverstone officially opens its new pit and paddock complex today (even if it's not quite
ready - see photo), just under two months before the British GP, and with a host of star drivers in attendance, including British world champions Damon Hill and Nigel Mansell.
It’s been a tough few years for Silverstone but, after a difficult few years during which the circuit came under constant criticism from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone for the poor state of its facilities and when the GP oh-so-nearly moved to Donington Park, the Northamptonshire circuit is finally officially back in F1’s good books.
“Thank God I persisted because now we’ll have a super circuit,” Ecclestone told the Telegraph. “One that when people say ‘We are building a circuit; can we come and have a look at Silverstone?’ I can happily say, ‘Yes, build it like this’. Whereas before it was the last place I would encourage them to see.”
The rejuvenation of the circuit, which is owned by the BRDC (British Racing Drivers Club), began last year with the new Arena section of track and is completed by the new 41-garage building, designed by the same architects responsible for the 2012 Olympic stadium.
Speaking on Radio 4’s today programme about the £27m new facilities, BRDC president Damon Hill said: "This year's Grand Prix and all the major international events will take place using the new facility. Silverstone has got a right to a permanent place on the calendar and so we hope this is a long-term thing that will make the circuit smart."