Duke of York to open 'new' Silverstone
26 April 2010 – His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, will be at Silverstone on Thursday in order to officially launch a new era for the Northamptonshire circuit, which will debut its brand-new Arena complex for this year's Grand Prix.
With much doubt having surrounded the future of the British Grand Prix through the second half of the last decade, Silverstone finally agreed a 17-year deal with Formula 1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone last year after Leicestershire's Donington Park lost the F1 race as construction work came to a halt through a lack of finances.
"There were sleepless nights and many stressful moments," 1996 World Champion Damon Hill, President of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC, owners of Silverstone), told The Daily Mail of the circuit overhaul. "We think we have produced a race track of the future - it looks like it has the potential to be a real corker.
"What's been achieved at Silverstone is down to the determination and hard work of a dedicated team but we can't be complacent; you only have to look across the Channel and see the effects on French motorsport, now that it doesn't have a Grand Prix anymore. We think we have the world's greatest race track and I'm fighting tooth and nail to make sure it stays that way."
Hill is confident that drivers will enjoy the new track configuration, despite the much-loved Bridge corner no longer being part of the Grand Prix setup.
"I'm not sure drivers will ever be satisfied with what they get," Damon continued, "but we've create some challenging corners as well as overtaking opportunities; what's important is that we have a circuit to test the world at a track that has a rich history and heritage."