Heart of 'Stone



Sir, It must have come as no surprise to regular readers that Bernie Ecclestone has finally called time on the British GP. He has been looking for an excuse to do it for years with his annual demands on the circuit until, finally, he has broken its bank. We now have a situation where 100,000 spectators pay exorbitant amounts to view occasional flashes of giant-rollerskate advertising hoardings as they go by, yet the track can’t make a profit, or possibly not even break even.

At the heart of this, of course, is the fact that Mr Ecclestone doesn’t care about motorsport. He doesn’t care whether anyone turns up at a grand prix as long as the TV rights roll in. Those who granted him a 100-year franchise may live to see the heart of the sport disappear before their eyes.

 I must confess, however, that the demise of the GP doesn’t actually break my heart. As a spectacle, I view it as marginally better than watching paint dry. With the never-ending chatter about one-stop or two-stop strategies and who has the best computer programmer, I have even stopped watching it on TV.

My real concern is what happens to Silverstone now? For the best part of 20 years, I’ve attended club, vintage and classic meetings, and love the atmosphere of ‘serious fun’ with lots of folk using, in many cases, their own money to give the rest of us the sights and sounds of fabulous cars of past and present. These  people and machines are the heart of motorsport, and Silverstone is at the heart of it all. Club meetings like these are the breeding ground for GP drivers of the future.

I can only hope that the moneygrabbers haven’t done, or won’t do, too much damage to all of this.

Brian Wylie, Blcester, Oxon