Debate: Should Ecclestone buy Silverstone?

Nigel Mansell, Ferrari, FIA GT, Silverstone, 2007Nigel Mansell made a return to racing action at Silverstone last weekend at the wheel of a Ferrari F430 in the FIA GT championship.

He and Silverstone were synonymous in the Mansell-mania years of 1987-92. In that time he scored some of the most memorable home victories the circuit ever saw, and the crowd mobbed him after his wins in ’87 ad ’92.

Now he is speaking out in defence of the British Grand Prix, which has been held at the circuit every year since his momentous defeat of Nelson Piquet in 1987.

The circuit’s contract expires in 2009 and it’s doubtful that its owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, can afford the substantial sums necessary to upgrade the circuit’s facilities to the high standard demanded by Bernie Ecclestone.

Nigel Mansell, Ferrari, FIA GT, Silverstone, 2007, 2And it’s not simply the case that Ecclestone wants better VIP areas for top-dollar corporate guests – one mechanic at Rockingham recently told me he thinks Silverstone’s garages are the worst in the country.

Mansell believes Bernie should dip into his capacious wallet (lately valued at ???2.25bn by the Sunday Times), buy the track and make the upgrades himself.

It’s not unheard of – Ecclestone recently completed the purchase of the Istanbul Park in Turkey he had Herman Tilke build in time for its debut in 2005.

Is this the long-awaited solution to the Silverstone saga we’ve been waiting for?

What would the other recent British F1 champion, Damon Hill, President of the BRDC, make of it?

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