Hill backs Button for Silverstone podium

Hill backs Button to claim British Grand Prix podium Damon Hill, the newly elected President of the BRDC and last British driver to win the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, joined rock legend Rick Parfitt, of Status Quo, and ...

Hill backs Button to claim British Grand Prix podium

Damon Hill, the newly elected President of the BRDC and last British driver to win the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, joined rock legend Rick Parfitt, of Status Quo, and Silverstone Managing Director Richard Phillips, at the London Marriott Hotel, County Hall, on Tuesday 23 May, as the build up to this year's Formula 1 Fosters British Grand Prix (9 to 11 June) went into over drive.

With just over two weeks to go until the British Grand Prix -- one of the biggest events on the British sporting calendar -- Hill was making his first public appearance since taking over from Sir Jackie Stewart as BRDC President, and was keen to get behind the jewel in the crown of British motorsport, “It is a real honour to be elected as President of the BRDC - it’s a big job, but our immediate focus is on delivering another successful British Grand Prix in just over two weeks time.”

Hill, the youngest ever President to be elected by the prestigious club’s members, continued, “This has been one of the best starts to an F1 season for some time. Alonso and Schumacher are locked in battle at the top, but it would be great to see Jenson get on the podium at Silverstone. He’s under pressure from the British media and public to get that elusive first win, and if Honda can move up a few places in Monaco, he could definitely make it on to the podium at Silverstone in front of a hugely passionate home crowd. Maybe even get his first win – it’s a serious possibility.”

Circuit bosses recently announced that this year’s British Grand Prix was unlikely to sell out, due to hype surrounding the football World Cup and the change of date – the event was moved forward a month to prevent clashes with TV schedules for the World Cup. However, ticket sales have soared in recent weeks and, whilst a sell out is still only a possibility, Silverstone will be opening its gates to an 80,000 plus crowd on raceday, which will be just a few thousand off capacity.

Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, commented, “We have gone to great lengths to communicate the June 11 date for this year’s British Grand Prix, but there are still people out there who think the event is a month later. The public and media focus has been on the World Cup and Mr Rooney – understandably – but, with the British Grand Prix just over two weeks away, public interest is growing and there’s been a significant increase in the number of people purchasing tickets.

“Fans coming to this year’s British Grand Prix will benefit from a number of improvements to the circuit’s viewing facilities. The 2005 British Grand Prix took place in front of a 100,000 sell out crowd. The atmosphere was incredible, but we recognised that comfort levels and the viewing experience of fans could be improved. As a direct result, we decided to reduce capacity to 85,000 for this year. In addition to freeing up space for our General Admission ticket holders, we have also built a brand new grandstand at Club corner, and have either updated or increased capacity in almost every other grandstand around the circuit.”

Damon Hill continued, “Richard and his team have done a fantastic job preparing for this year, and fans coming to the British Grand Prix will enjoy a fantastic weekend in a far more comfortable environment. The new road system has made Silverstone one of the easiest and quickest circuits to get in and out of in the world, and the hard standing car parks, traffic management system and Park & Ride scheme have made traffic problems a thing of the past. The facilities around the circuit rival many of the circuits in Europe; while the reduced capacity, and new and improved grandstands, will significantly improve the fans’ viewing experience. I came in by car last year and it was fantastic.

“While the circuit remains one of the fastest and most challenging in the world, the venue and its facilities have changed beyond recognition since I was a driver. We are currently in year two of a five year deal between the BRDC and FOM, and we know what needs to be done to keep Formula One and the British Grand prix at Silverstone. Over the next few weeks and months we will be working as a Club to outline a plan for the long term future of both Silverstone and the British Grand Prix. But there will certainly be a British Grand Prix at Silverstone until 2009.”

Rick Parfitt and legendary rock ‘n’ roll band Status Quo will be ‘Rocking All Over Silverstone’ at this year’s Grand Prix Party. The traditional post-race celebration, which takes place on a purpose built giant stage in the centre of the circuit, and is free to all ticket holders, was attended by 18,000 fans in 2005, and featured a host of driver and celebrity appearances.

Speaking ahead of the British Grand Prix, Parfitt commented, “We actually played for fans at the first Grand Prix Party to be staged at Silverstone in 2003. We had an absolute blast in front of a huge crowd, and can’t wait to do it again. We’re all big F1 fans, so to meet the drivers at the Party, and play at Silverstone was a massive buzz for us. It should be a fantastic finale to a great weekend.”

Richard Phillips continued, “The Grand Prix Party has become a firm favourite with fans at the British Grand Prix. Its blend of music and appearances from drivers and F1 personalities provide fantastic entertainment for the fans and a perfect end to the British Grand Prix. We expect a great turn out again this year and I’m sure fans will flock to the event.”

Silverstone has also made arrangements to ensure football fans, heading to the Northamptonshire based circuit, won’t miss a single kick of England’s opening game of the World Cup, scheduled to take place on the same day as qualifying for the British Grand Prix. 65,000 fans are expected to head to Silverstone for qualifying on the Saturday where they will be able to watch the whole match ‘live’ on three giant screens located in prime locations around the outside of the track, including Pits Straight, Stowe and Abbey.


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Series Formula 1
Drivers Damon Hill