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David Coulthard column

David Couthard
By David Coulthard
BBC Sport at Silverstone

Coulthard was victorious at Silverstone in 2000
Coulthard was victorious at Silverstone in 1999 and (pictured) in 2000

Silverstone is one of the true classic races; right up there with Monaco, Monza and Spa - it is the Wimbledon of Formula 1's Grand Slam.

The former American Air force base staged the first ever world championship grand prix 59 years ago.

Over the decades, it has remained largely unchanged which means drivers, from first-time winner Giuseppe Farina to 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, face the same set of unique challenges.

For a start, Silverstone is so testing because of its high speed. For the first 20 seconds or so of the lap you go flat out through Copse, Maggots and Becketts.

You don't really use your brakes until you get to Stowe - nearly halfway through the lap - and even then you are still racing at 120mph.

Its unique location set amongst acres of farmland and on a former airfield means the wind can also be a challenging factor.

When the wind is gusting it affects the cars' aerodynamics in the same way that aeroplanes move around during turbulence.

The cars become less stable and if you get lucky with a gust of wind that can seriously play a part in your performance.

F1 Mole Blog
F1 Mole

For all those reasons I think it is the correct place to hold the British Grand Prix.

Will there be a British race on the calendar in 2010? Yes, I think there will.

Whether it will move to Donington Park or not, well, a few things need to be sorted out first but Silverstone is ready to turn it back on if necessary.

This won't be the last time we come back to Silverstone, it's a great venue, with great facilities and an unbeatable history.

There is so much more to a Grand Prix than just being a facility and a piece of tarmac and Silverstone has that magic quality.

I won here twice in 1999 and 2000 for McLaren but it's mainly my childhood memories that draw me back.

This is where I came as a kid to watch the Grand Prix, I remember kart GPs at the circuit and by 1990 I was racing here in the support races with Vauxhall Lotus.

There's a lot of emotional attachment to Silverstone that's wrapped up in my love of motorsport and the British Grand Prix.

Any driver wants to win their home race but even foreign drivers love to win here because Britain has played such a huge part in motorsport.

A lot of the teams are based here and many of the sport's key designers, as well as those who govern and own the sport, are British.

It always seems like there is so much more at stake than just the regular 10 points.

Championship leader Jenson Button has won the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix and if he wins here then he will feel he has have achieved everything that's possible this season except the championship.

Monaco and Britain are the classics; the rest of the races are just steps on the ladder to the championship now.

What I remember most about my two victories at Silverstone are the great parties afterwards.

I always stay at the campsite - and I'm back there again with a number of the current drivers, who have parked up their motorhomes.

There's a real festival feeling because once the race has finished everyone is still there, you are sitting out on the grass having a beer and a burger and if it's a nice British summer's day it's a great way to round off the weekend.

When I'm away I don't really think about Silverstone but I am excited about being back here, there's no doubt about that.


David Coulthard won 13 Grands Prix in a 15-year F1 career. He is a BBC Sport pundit and a consultant for Red Bull. He was talking to BBC Sport's Sarah Holt.



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see also
Vettel on pole as Button stutters
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Button downbeat on victory chance
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
British GP qualifying as it happened
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Vettel beats Button to grab pole
06 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
British Grand Prix qualifying results
16 Jun 09 |  Results
Mosley confident of F1 resolution
21 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
British GP is secure - Ecclestone
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
David Coulthard column
23 May 09 |  Formula 1


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