Silverstone’s new ?é?ú28m pit and paddock complex, known as The Wing, was formally opened today by HRH the Duke of Kent.
The new pits and paddock will be ready for use next month and will be used for the British Grand Prix this year.
Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club which runs the circuit, said the new construction was essential to ensure the circuit’s future and place on the F1 calendar.
He said: “Around the world people are putting up palaces to motor racing.
“This cements the Grand Prix contract and kept Britain at the forefront of motor racing around the world.”
Unusually, the pit lane does not run level with the track. It stays flat while the tracks rises, meaning the pit wall is higher than the garages towards the end of the pits.
The pit lane exit slopes upwards and the drivers rejoin the track in the revised Abbey and Farm corners.
The old Abbey corner is no longer available for use as the previous Grand Prix circuit configuration has been decommissioned.
The repositioned start/finish line leads into Abbey. Jenson Button predicted a lot of action at the start with drivers going through the first two corners flat-out before braking for the next corner:
“Turn three is going to be interesting. The first time through with 24 cars nose-to-tail we’ll get a queue of cars on the inside, and it’s going to be who’s brave enough to go around the outside. You’ll see a lot of action.”
While Button praised the new circuit configuration, Stirling Moss couldn’t resist teasing host Jake Humphrey, saying “the original circuit was better”. “You weren’t supposed to say that”, replied Humphrey.
Derek Warwick praised how quickly the work had been completed, saying: “Three weeks ago there was no way we were having this today. This is the next phase of Silverstone.
“I don’t know if Bernie got square feet mixed up with square metres but it is rather large!”
Bernie Ecclestone was not present for the opening, but sent a statement saying the circuit’s facilities were now “state of the art”.
He added: “It’s a great shame it couldn’t have been completed ten years ago.”
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn hailed the changes, saying: “The history of Silverstone cannot be manufactured. We had to preserve it.
“The fact the BRDC have preserved the future of Silverstone is magnificent.”
Silverstone Wing pictures
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