Your favourite Silverstone memory

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jenson Button chases Jacques Villeneuve in the 2003 British Grand Prix
Jenson Button chases Jacques Villeneuve in the 2003 British Grand Prix

The British Grand Prix this weekend is set to be the last at Silverstone.

I’m going to be doing an interview for BBC Radio 5 for their Sunday programming about the track’s final Grand Prix, and they want to talk about people’s memories of F1 at Silverstone.

So, what’s your favourite Silverstone moment? Have you been to the track for the Grand Prix?

The world championship began at the circuit in 1950 and since then Silverstone has held 42 rounds of the championship – more than any other circuit bar Monza and Monte-Carlo.

Although it took seven Grands Prix before Silverstone finally greeted a home winner – Peter Collins for Ferrari in 1958 – since then they’re come thick and fast.

Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell were both triple-winners at the track – Mansell setting fastest lap on every visit to the track from 1987 to 1992. The most prolific winner, however, was not English but French – Alain Prost, winner in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1993.

There have been some crazy races, too. The 1973 Grand Prix was red-flagged after Jody Scheckter spun at Woodcote on lap one, triggering a multi-car crash that blocked the straight.

Two years on the red flags came out again as a late downpour sent cars spinning off in all directions. Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, James Hunt and Mark Donohue all crashed – but because of the stoppage were classified second, third, fourth and fifth (Emerson Fittipaldi won).

My Silverstone memories

Perhaps the strangest Grand Prix was the one I saw at the track in 2003. Two appearances of the safety car threw the race into disarray – the first because David Coulthard’s car had shed its cockpit shroud, and the second when a man ran onto the circuit towards the cars…

Mercifully no-one was hurt – but another shuffling of the running order left the most competitive runners stuck at the back. In a virtuoso performance, Rubens Barrichello clawed his way to the front of the field quicker than anyone else and sealed a memorable win.

Of my own memories of Silverstone – this weekend is my sixth visit for the Grand Prix – the first time sticks in my mind especially clearly. The 1998 race was run in conditions similar to those we saw last year – i.e. heavy rain – and won by Michael Schumacher in bizarre circumstances where he contrived to take a stop-go penalty in the pits on the final lap – after he had crossed the finishing line. The strange spectacle left most of us in the crowd rather bemused.

But perhaps the oddest thing I ever saw at Silverstone was in 2005. Daily Express journalist Bob McKenzie made the mistake in 2004 of declaring that if McLaren won a race that year he would run naked around Silverstone. Kimi Raikkonen duly obliged with a victory at Spa, and come the 2005 race at Silverstone Ron Dennis successfully pressed McKenzie into coming good on the bet.

Sporting only a small pair of underpants and some body paint, McKenzie gamely took off around the track on foot, though by the time he passed me at Woodcote he was down to a weary trot…

Those are three of my most memorable moments from Silverstone. Please share yours below, and I’ll do my best to put some of them across to Radio 5.

Join me and other F1 Fanatics at the British GP this weekend (Update)