Marbles ~ Laura Marieee: 12-9-09

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The weekend was one big celebration for us Brits in the F1 world. On Sunday night, Button won two Autosport Awards, and on Monday, the British Grand Prix was secured at Silverstone for the next 17 years. Hurrah! After months of uncertainty, its confirmation was a huge relief for the teams and the fans, and I for one was excited to hear the news! As for Button winning awards for British Competition and International Racing Driver, it certainly makes me feel proud to be British. And who got in and commented on all of this news? The Prime Minister! He even said that Button’s success makes him a ‘brilliant’ ambassador for F1. Not bad! So just what has this done for British motorsport? And from the fan’s perspective, isn’t this just what we’ve been waiting for? I could argue that Britain is once again in the forefront of F1, and with two back-to-back world champions and this weekend’s news, I’d be inclined to say that’s not far from the truth… As always, this is my opinion, this is Marbles…

Marbles

In the last two years, Britain has had a lot to get excited about in the world of F1. Over the years, drivers such as Mika Hakkinen have won world championships for British teams such as McLaren, but it doesn’t quite beat the euphoria when a British driver such as Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button wins the championship for a British team such as McLaren or Brawn. And next year we have a fair bit to get excited about as well- both drivers will be in the same team- the same British team.

Over recent years, with drivers such as Schumacher and Alonso dominating the sport, British fans can be forgiven for feeling like they were following a sport that while having British roots, didn’t feel overly British as far as being successful was concerned. And this weekend’s news has gone some way to pivot that. Two back-to-back British champions have put Britain back on the map in terms of F1 heroes, and one thing all fans were having their say about, was that after two successful championships, an F1 calendar for 2010 with no British GP would be a kick in the teeth, and when you think Hamilton and Button could be dominating again next year, it really wouldn’t have gone down well if Silverstone hadn’t been given the green light.

When the news broke about the Northamptonshire track on Monday, Andy took the ‘but what about those who lost out?’ approach, but on the flipside, what about the hundreds of thousands of British fans who just wanted the news that their GP was safe? At the end of the day, if Silverstone hadn’t been given the go-ahead, plenty of fans would have moaned that with champions in Hamilton and Button, it would have been a farce, a big joke, that Britain wasn’t favoured for its F1 legends. And the fans outweigh Donington’s losses by a mile.

The way F1 has been over the past few years- a near British champion one year, who succeeded the next, and a favourite who finally achieved his dream a year later, to have lost the British GP altogether, would’ve been somewhat more catastrophic than Donington trying, then failing, trying, then failing, to secure the funds to simply develop a track fit enough to host one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar. Ticket sales for Silverstone in 2010 will no doubt go through the roof. This year had a big turn out, and most of this is down to our drivers’ successes. Next year, with the GP’s survival and its British team with both Hamilton and Button, Silverstone will certainly see more fans throughout the weekend. It proves we have something to be proud of. It puts us well and truly on the map. New circuits such as Abu Dhabi and Singapore may provide the glamour that Silverstone lacks, but with its rich history, it is tracks such as the one in Northamptonshire that are iconic. The atmosphere will no doubt be electrifying, and hopefully with Lewis and Jenson fighting for the championship once more, it’ll be something to do the home crowd proud.

Of course, next year is a new year, but the British GP is secure, and McLaren will be hoping one of the sport’s top two drivers gives them the win. Exciting things are set to happen in 2010 for F1, and with the way things are going, Britain is going to be right in the mix… Anyway, hurrah for Silverstone, and congratulations to Jenson! Until next week… Over and out…

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