While it may not much have been a weekend to celebrate for Lewis Hamilton, for those of us that went to the British Grand Prix it was notable just how much the UK has to celebrate when it comes to technology and innovation, and most importantly firing up the kids of today into becoming the motorsport brains of the future.
As well as Lewis fighting his way from the back following a collision to a worthy second place, we saw two British hopefuls come second and third (George Russell and Lando Norris) in the Formula 2 sprint race. Russell and Norris now head this series and no doubt will be knocking on the door of F1 next year.
British driver Billy Monger, who now races in Formula 3, was a regular sight around Silverstone at the weekend. He demonstrates a different kind of courage which is equally inspiring to people of any age. Having lost both legs at the knee in a huge race accident in September 2017, he amazingly returned to a racing career only months later – having never lost his optimistic outlook nor his ever-present smile.
Of the ten teams that enter Formula 1, seven of them are British based (only Ferrari, Sauber and Toro Rosso are not); in fact Force India is based across the road from the main gates of Silverstone.
You may not know that there is a Silverstone University Technical College, operating from within the circuit. Opened in 2013, the college is a centre of excellence for young people wanting to break into the specialist fields of high performance engineering and business and technical event management.
The college has also worked closely to the team developing world land speed record challenger Bloodhound SSC (which was on display during the grand prix weekend).
During the grand prix weekend youngsters had the chance to carve their own mini-land speed vehicles out of foam and race them against each other. There were also fun demonstrations helping to bring science to life to thousands of fascinated children.
In terms of inspiring the next generation, sadly the showcase of Formula 1 looks rather uncertain. Next year all live F1 races (apart from the British one) will exclusively be shown on a subscription service on Sky TV, while it’s possible that 2019 will see the last F1 race at Silverstone as the issue of staging fees get discussed.
For the sake of the future of British motorsport innovation, let’s hope something can be worked out. It would be a crying shame to lose such a professional, historic, well equipped and fun facility as Silverstone to the F1 calendar.
By Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart senior communications executive