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The history and future of the British Grand Prix

 

With the Grand Prix season slowly reaching the halfway point and Lewis Hamilton currently leading the way for Mercedes, attentions are turning to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The British Grand Prix is regarded the most prestigious race in the Formula 1 calendar and the circuit in Northamptonshire is held in the highest esteem. There’s little doubting that Silverstone is the spiritual home of British motorsport, although it wasn’t always where the race was held – and who knows what the future holds for the circuit and the sport. Before we go through the history and future of the prestigious competition, take a look at all the latest odds with Formula 1 betting

Beginnings at Brooklands

As we mentioned, the British Grand Prix wasn’t always held at Silverstone and in the early stages, the race was held at Brooklands near Weybridge, Surrey.

The inaugural British Grand Prix was raced in 1

926 and won by French duo, Louis Wagner and Robert Sénéchal (for Delage), before the second (and final) Grand Prix at Brooklands was won by another Frenchman in Robert Benoist (again driving for Delage).

Moving to Silverstone

Extensive damage to the Brooklands circuit during World War 2 left it abandoned and a new venue was required to host the British Grand Prix – step forward Silverstone. The first race held there was the Royal Automobile Club International Grand Prix in 1948, which was won by Italian Luigi Villoresi for Maserati.

Two years later and the World Championship of Drivers was introduced, with the British Grand Prix, the first World Championship Formula One race. The chequered flag was won by Alfa Romeo driver Giuseppe “Nino” Farina. Silverstone went on to host five further races, before other tracks were introduced to the calendar.

 

Alternating with various other racetracks

The 1955 race was held at Aintree, more famous for hosting horseracing – but it had a racetrack too. The British Grand Prix then alternated between Silverstone and Aintree, with four races battled in Liverpool. The first British Grand Prix at Aintree was won by British driver, Stirling Moss for Mercedes; and he was also successful at the 1957 race, this time for Vanwell.

1964 saw Aintree decommissioned and a new track introduced to host the British Grand Prix on even-numbered years. Brands Hatch was home to 12 British Grand Prix races over the years, between 1964 and 1986. The circuit was popular with drivers because unlike Silverstone, it wasn’t flat and had plenty of elevation changes. Jim Clark won the 1964 race and shares his records for the most British Grand Prix’s (five) and consecutive British Grand Prix’s (four) won, with current champion, Lewis Hamilton.

From 1987, Silverstone was the sole home of the British Grand Prix and over the years, has undergone a number of changes.

 

The future of the British Grand Prix?

Speculation is rife that London is vying to host a Grand Prix, while negotiations are still underway between Silverstone and Formula 1’s owners Liberty Media. So would the British Grand Prix leave its spiritual home, or will an extra date be added to the race calendar? Liberty are keen to expand the calendar from 21 races to 25, with Vietnam hosting its first ever race next year, in Hanoi; while Dutch city Zandvoort will be returning to the calendar, also in 2020.

One of the people keen to see the race stay at the iconic circuit is five-time winner of the British Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton. “I truly believe Liberty have got to keep Formula 1 in the UK and particularly Silverstone,” said Hamilton, before continuing: “It is an awesome track, an awesome place, with one of the biggest attendances of the season. You can’t turn your back on that.

“There are some really awesome circuits and Silverstone is one of those. The UK is the foundation of what this sport is. If you take away the legendary races and you are left with only new ones, you lose all of the history and culture of what makes Formula 1 what it is”.