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Silverstone’s history is buried under a characterless concrete desert | Richard Williams

The grand prix circuit is now full of meaningless passion-killing twiddly bits and the biggest symbol of its failings is the misshapen Wing

A lot of tears will be shed this weekend over the potential demise of Silverstone as a grand prix venue in two years’ time, but they will not be universal. To some, the old second world war bomber base has outlived its era, ruined not so much by outdated facilities as by cack-handed attempts at modernisation. A glass pyramid might not have spoiled the Louvre courtyard, but the addition of the monstrous pits and hospitality complex called The Wing six years ago symbolises Silverstone’s failure to integrate past, present and future.

This week’s activation of a break clause in the contract between Formula One and the circuit’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, appears to signal the ending of a relationship that began in 1950, with the very first round of the inaugural FIA World Drivers’ Championship. The demands on the BRDC of the 17-year contract signed in 2009, and in particular the annual 5% increase in a hosting fee that started at £11.5m a year and is currently £16.2m, could yet be renegotiated. But Liberty Media, who bought F1 from a private equity firm this year, will be reluctant to grant Silverstone a reduction that might encourage other promoters to demand similar treatment.

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