BBC BLOGS - Andrew Benson
« Previous | Main | Next »

Silverstone lifted by new wing

Post categories:

Andrew Benson | 14:32 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

Bernie Ecclestone will not be able to believe his eyes. For years, decades even, Formula 1's impresario has derided Silverstone, criticising one of the sport's most historic venues for being shabby and behind the times, at times effectively calling it a national disgrace.

No longer.

The full scale of the track's ambition to upgrade itself into a cutting edge 21st century facility to rival any on the grand prix calendar became clear on Monday, when Silverstone's managing director Richard Phillips gave a tour of the spectacular new pit complex. It was something of a culture shock.

While Ecclestone's criticisms of Silverstone were always exaggerated for effect, it is fair to say that in certain ways the circuit was a touch outmoded. Inevitably, perhaps, for a place that has grown organically over the years from its initial role as a World War II airfield, it has long felt a little cobbled together and rough around the edges.

Silverstone

The Silverstone Wing towers over the Northamptonshire track (Photo: Getty)

But the new pit complex, while still a building site, changes all that. Designed by the same architects as the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, the massive new structure bears comparison with those at some of the state-funded new generation of tracks in places such as Bahrain and China.

There may be no gleaming white hotel lit up with multicoloured LEDs such as in Abu Dhabi, but Silverstone's new 'Wing' is impressive nonetheless.

Whether you deem it attractive will be a personal opinion. Its angular roof, with an upturned 'blade' at one end, was intended to evoke a sensation of movement and speed, although the building reminded me a little of an aircraft carrier. But imposing it certainly is.

Three stories high and 390m long, it has cost £27m - a tiny fraction of the money poured into places such as Shanghai and Abu Dhabi, which have a dual role of also being monuments to their governments' global ambition.

There is no shortage of ambition at Silverstone, but it is a more modest one - to keep the British Grand Prix and host it in a facility of which F1 can be proud.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner joined the media on the tour, and was undoubtedly impressed, even if as a member of the British Racing Drivers' Club which owns Silverstone he was hardly unbiased.

"It's fantastic," he said. "It puts Silverstone right up with the best in the world. It's quite staggering, the scale of what's been built here.

"It gives the circuit a whole new scale and dimension. Silverstone has come in for criticism compared to rivals, certainly in some of the emerging markets, and this is phenomenal.

"It's great for British motorsport. It makes Silverstone a first-class facility. There have never been any question marks about the track itself. It is one of the last remaining serious challenges - Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka are the type of circuits the drivers revel in. And with the facilities now in place it makes it comparable with any other circuit in the world."

The redevelopment of the track followed negotiations with Ecclestone that led 18 months ago to a 17-year contract that should keep the grand prix at Silverstone until 2027.

Replacing the ageing old pit building was a non-negotiable part of the deal from Ecclestone's point of view. But Silverstone argued that it needed a long-term contract, previously unavailable, to give it the stability and security to commit to such a mammoth project. The 17-year deal complete with commitment to rebuild the facility was the result.

The first stage was a new track layout, which made its debut at last year's British Grand Prix. This new building, complete with new pit lane and paddock, is the final step, although a new visitor centre is also planned in the future.

Silverstone

Christian Horner and Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips praised the new developments

It needed to be impressive - but it also needed to be cost-effective. Silverstone does not have the luxury of open-ended government finance to fund its development and, as Phillips put it, the new building must "pay for itself".

Much emphasis was put on the number of kitchens, and the building's ability to host up to 4,000 guests for hospitality events, the income from which is needed to balance the books in the face of the £300m Silverstone needs to find to fund the full duration of the F1 contract.

On Monday, the place was very much unfinished. Huge areas of what will be grass were churned up mud. Hard hats were required to go into the building. The pit lane was still being built. But already it is possible to see what a spectacular venue it could become.

Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into it.

The new pits are between Club and Abbey corners, at the other end of the track from the old pits. The architects have used the contours of the land to create an interesting situation where the pit-lane entry is above the level of the track, but the exit is below it, in a fashion not dissimilar to Abu Dhabi, but without the tunnel.

Team personnel will walk to the pit wall from the garages down paths between areas of lawn in what for some will be an echo of the old Silverstone 'village green' F1 paddock, which was replaced by a characterless asphalt one in the mid-1990s.

For spectators, there will be a new viewing area towards the end of the lap, complete with giant TV screens, which Phillips hopes will become Silverstone's version of 'Henman Hill' at Wimbledon.

And the redevelopment will have an intriguing impact on the racing.

Moving the pits means Copse will no longer be the first corner, but does create the enticing prospect of a full field of cars streaming together into the brilliant new flat-out Abbey right-hand kink, which last season immediately entered the track's list of great corners.

On the old layout, after Copse, the cars veered through high-speed bends at Becketts and Stowe and did not reach an overtaking point until Vale - more than halfway around the lap. Now, a quick left-hander, which is barely a corner, is quickly followed by the slow Loop hairpin, by which point the field will still be bunched together. As Horner put it, with raised eyebrows belying the understatement, it should be "fairly exciting".

And that seems a pretty fair summation of the future for Silverstone. Frustrated by short-term contracts and the constant threat of the race being taken away, this much-needed new development has been a long time coming. But now it's here, it seems the track can look forward to many successful years of Formula 1.

"It takes a lot to impress Bernie," Horner said, "but I think he will be pleased with what he sees here. He's given it a bit of flak in recent years and if that is what has provoked this, it's been well worth it."

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Copse hasn't always been the 1st corner. The very first British GP started from the Farm Straight. !st corner was Woodcote and the last was Abbey.

  • Comment number 2.

    Sure it'll be fine once it's finished and someone has taken a spirit level to it.

    And if it impresses bonkers Bernie...nuff said!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Re #1 - thanks for reminding me of that. Text now changed.

  • Comment number 4.

    Personally I always liked Silverstone's 'cobbled together' look, it felt still connected to it's glourious history, a bit like Monaco. The new development does look impressive however and if it helps good old blighty stay on the F1 callendar then best of luck to it all.

  • Comment number 5.

    Whilst the new development looks impressive, when running round the track you notice exactly how much of the view and areas for general entry spectators has been removed by the new developments.

    I agree that F1 needs to improve and that Silverstone was in need of updating, but it needed to not be at the expense of the fans who will be there in all weathers to watch the racing and not just for those who buy the more expensive tickets for a Sunday. The true fans somehow lose out by the 'improvements' that have been made as the development needed to be more sympathetic to the levels of ticket pricing.

  • Comment number 6.

    Great article, one small thing you missed though is the new pit lane will also be maybe the shortest time deficits on the calendar as it misses out all of club corner. New layout could mean more pitstops too...

  • Comment number 7.

  • Comment number 8.

    Now all we need are the water sprinklers left on from Luffield to Copse for random periods during the race and Barmy Bernie will be a happily bouncing bunny.

  • Comment number 9.

    I echo silverstonefan regarding reduced viewing opportunities. The BRDC could have probably bought the now decomissioned Ark Royal for less money and plopped that on the infield! One thiny I've never quite understood is why they have almost no spectating from the in-field areas during the GP weekend. You see this at other tracks too. Just seems such a waste of space, when others are stretching for a glimpse of the action from the general admission areas outside the track.

  • Comment number 10.

    I feel it needs something like a Michael Jackson statue to attract 'pilgrims' from across the UK. I'll have a word with a connection of mine in SW London.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great new pit building but Silverstone still suffers from being the worst circuit in the world for viewing. A combination of little elevation change and terrible grandstands means you very often miss all the best action, I got a very good view of a fence post, mesh fencing and the back of a bald man's head last year! Look at other circuits around the world, they have proper permanent grandstands made from concrete, Silverstone has scaffoldingones placed miles from the circuit! General admission ticket holders need huge grass banks to view from and some shelter would be nice! The circuit needs cleaning up, grassing areas over and laying new paths for the spectators would be a good idea, cheer it up by planting some trees etc!

  • Comment number 12.

    I think an update was well over due i just hope it does not change the racing to much its always great to watch. Can anyone tell me when this 606 post your comments is shutting down as it is the only one i have found that hits the spot all the others are to much like facebook which i cant stand thank

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for your comments so far.

    Re the criticisms of viewing, I think you should bear in mind that Silverstone has made efforts to improve the track on this front.

    Last year, they raised the Becketts grandstand to improve viewing, and from there you can now see half the track.

    This year they are introducing the new infield spectator section in the complex, as detailed in the blog.

    And you have to bear in mind that while it's all very well to criticise the new pit building for blocking views, without it there would be no views at all because there would be no grand prix.

  • Comment number 14.

    Brands Hatch had great viewing.
    How about scuttling Ark Royal there?

  • Comment number 15.

    If the aim of this was to bring Silverstone into the 21st century and showcase British architecture.... it looks like a massive failure. Architecturally speaking this looks like a cross between a Mcdonalds and Tescos.
    From a distance it may loom flashy... obviously intended to square up to the new kids on the grand prix bloc.... but on closer inspection this is shabby cheap design.
    Clearly chose the wrong designers, gave a bad brief, and did not have enough money.

  • Comment number 16.

    Have to agree with comment 15. I don't feel it represents Silverstone which is in the heart of the British country side, it may be a technological marvel, it may have lots of glass and a roof that was thrown on at all angles to make it "designed", but what is 'good' British about that. It does look like a tesco, it also looks like a tesco profits graph. I don't think it looks smart like Abu Dabi, or even China. Because it is one lost building in basically a field. The whole circuit would need re-themed to ultra modern. Well at least for 11 months in the year they can rent it out as a technology park, but does it look like it belongs in the middle of a British racing circuit, I don't think so, no history or sense of history.

  • Comment number 17.

    I actually love the new Track layout. Its kept the high speed character of Silverstone and left the best 2/3's of the circuit untouched. Was never a big fan of the 'complex' at the end of the circuit anyway.

    When i've watched it on TV i've always noticed the odd bit of concrete and the odd bit of tarmac here and there and wish they spend a few hundred quid (literally) and dig this bits up and get some more grass down so hopefully they will wjich will make the place look less tatty (and i'm not talking about the access areas for Marshalls to wheel the cars off - they are obviously required).

    As for viewing, it still tends to give the impression of looking at a Motorway from distance, so lets hope this could be improved. If they were given planning permission, i'd love to see some man-made slopes, turfed, in some sections for people to sit on like the last section at Imola.

    The pit box does look a bit like a Supermarket, but you can't have everything. Wish it looked at bit more 'Traditional British'. (No, not a thatched roof!!).

    Anyway, all in all, things are looking up for this circuit at last. One of the classics left on the Calender. And the best news of all?? They didn't let Herman Tilke anywhere near it!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Does it double up as an airport terminal. Where's the check in desk and duty free bit

  • Comment number 19.

    Ref #9
    Back in the mid-80's until it all went seriously corporate, one could get an in-field pass for about a tenner. I remember either '88 or '89 standing at the inside of Club in the pouring rain watching - only for 30 mins or so. I was then fortunate to go back to the paddock area and as Andrew said, it was like a village green....you could walk into the Benetton hospitality marquee (and have a meal from Stuart and Diana Spires :-D), the Williams marquee etc etc. Unfortunately now it is Corporate Hospitality to the enth degree and all this has been taken away. Ah well, I'll just watch Jake & The Boys (and the gorgeous Lee M.) in HD from the comfort of my armchair these days.

  • Comment number 20.

    I saw the new pits during the Britcar 24 in November and I must say that they look bloody impressive in the flesh! The pictures don't do it justice at all. And if you're worrying about the views, I tried all the grandstands and the viewing banks. All have been improved dramatically. Why does everyone have to bash the place before they've been there?! Yes, shelter is limited (plant trees to solve this) and as regards access to the infield, just take a look on Google Earth to see how many obstacles there are in there!

    Would everyone prefer Silverstone to go all out and mess it up like what happened at Donnington? I think not. The step-by-step approach they are taking seems the best to me. Give the BRDC some constructive feedback and we could end up with a circuit to be proud of and a joy to be at.

  • Comment number 21.

    Looks good, but if it still results in boring races then it's pretty much pointless for everyone. But then again this is the problem with Bernie - it's all about the glamorous image that F1 portrays and not about the quality of racing.

  • Comment number 22.

    The pit complex looks world class set amongst the backdrop of the glorious drenched history of Silverstone. This is proper formula one - not the corporate, passionless, soulless dirges of racetracks like Abu Dhabi and Singapore that are springing up all over the place these days.

  • Comment number 23.

    Looks great and we built that for £27m? Wow, we are doing it on the cheap and making it look grand.
    But what happens to the old pitlane? Will that be demolished and a new Grandstand built there or will they build a grandstand over the pitlane buildings?

  • Comment number 24.

    is it just me or does the contour of that roof line exactly match Bernie's bank balance?

  • Comment number 25.

    @23 The old pit lane will stay there and be used as a secondary pit lane for GP2/ other support races, and when the National circuit is used for club meetings. Not sure if they'll use the old start/finish point to start the support races from on the GP circuit but in theory it's possible.

    Silverstone has been an eay target over the years with road infrastructure/ spectator facilities/pits all lagging behind new circuits a bit. But now it looks amazing. The only reason new places didn't get traffic problems was that nobody turns up to watch anyway, whereas 80 000 of us go to Silverstone just for Friday practice. F1 needs to look after the fans in it's heartlands much more, and it's good that Silverstone's place is secure.

  • Comment number 26.

    Article: "Its angular roof, with an upturned 'blade' at one end, was intended to evoke a sensation of movement and speed"

    #24: "is it just me or does the contour of that roof line exactly match Bernie's bank balance?"

    Both of these are wholly incorrect; the roof, with it's ups and downs before a final out-of-control peak, is a graphical depiction of a British economic boom ...... and if you wander round to the other side you get the inevitable bust. :)

  • Comment number 27.

    One thiny I've never quite understood is why they have almost no spectating from the in-field areas during the GP weekend.
    ----------------

    Considering nobody can cross the track during the day because of the racing and security you would need two sets of facilities for everything, there are also problems with emergency access if there is a problem.

  • Comment number 28.

    Andrew, I agree without improvements we would not have a race, however that does not take away from the fact that for general entry viewers the places to get good seats has been lost.

    You mention Becketts and that is still a grandstand. I love the new layout and concepts just think that more consideration is needed of those who cannot afford those types of seating. As grandstands are being built over old general entry veiwing for corporate reasons ie. the old vale.

    I love Silverstone and have spent every race weekend there since I was 12 and wouldnt dream of missing one, but the range of ticket prices need to be considered.

    I think it is moving forward, but needs to remember what the average spectator can afford as well as progress, if some grandstands were cheaper maybe they would be full all weekend rather than just race day etc or general entry may feel that they could afford it.

    Great new layout, building and pits as you can see it all when the half marathon took place, is just a thought from a keen fan to still be able to see the race!

  • Comment number 29.

    #9, 15: my one visit to Silverstone was in 1960, my brother and I hitch-hiked down from Newcastle, paid a shilling to get in on practice day, and pitched our tent near the Lotus cars just off the old runway. Race day was 6s general, a pound in the paddock, free to us. Different in those days, we had great access to drivers and pits. I got a great photo of Stirling Moss after he was choppered in to start the race (recovering from severe crash injuries), going elbow to elbow with the press photographers with my Box Brownie - even got good pix of cars in motion. I decided I'd only get the winner's autograph, so approached Jack Brabham on practice day. A few weeks later, off to the Rome Olympics, not a bad summer for a schoolboy with only paper round income.

  • Comment number 30.

    #10, how dare you!!...if you don't like it, you can go and watch your motor racing at Brands...rumoured that a mystery benefactor has ordered a Lady Di statue....

    PS.... will 'the pits' do anything to increase overtaking?

  • Comment number 31.

    I've got to agree with the comments re the sad lose of general admission areas at the track.... I sat at Club Corner/Vale for MANY (20 odd) years... but no more... I really don't want to sit on a straight... so what are the alternatives - VERY expensive grandstand seats...

    I'm afraid our solution has been to head abroad... Silverstone is now TOO expensive. Went to Turkey 2 years ago - flights, tickets and accommodation same price as Silverstone Grandstand seats. A great weekend. Monza last year...

    PLEASE BRING BACK DECENT GENERAL ADMISSION SPECTATOR AREAS SILVERSTONE...

  • Comment number 32.

    "Last year, they raised the Becketts grandstand to improve viewing, and from there you can now see half the track.

    This year they are introducing the new infield spectator section in the complex, as detailed in the blog."

    Firstly, the new raised Beckett's grandstand does not overlook half the track, and even if it did it still wouldn't justify the ridiculously priced tickets in a stand that is essentially a huge Meccano set. The covered section is preposturously priced. I don't blame Silverstone for the ticket prices - they're passing on FOM's financial demands.

    Secondly, the viewing area by the complex is not infield. For those who weren't at the Britcar 3 hours a couple of weekends ago (where were ya?) let me explain the area to which Andrew refers. The gravel trap between Bridge, Priory and Brooklands is no longer a gravel trap. This area will be shaped and grassed to create general admission (I hope!) to watch the cars thunder down the Wellington (ex-National straight) in to Brooklands - shurely the best over-taking spot nowadays, remember Rosberg on that Torro Rosso last year?

    Good comments in general, there's some real Silverstone affeciandos and experts talking a lot of sense. See you all over there this season I hope.

  • Comment number 33.

    As long as there isn't a Michael Jackson statue erected than all bodes well.

  • Comment number 34.

    Silverstone had to upgrade its facilities in light of the oversees competition. it would have been a travesty if there was no British GP and I hope the improvements will safeguard its future. But I must state my sadness at it being yet another traditional track being tinkered. Appreciate that many have been altered for safety (and rightly so) but can't help but hanker for the days of unaltered fast-tracks like Hockenheim, Spa and Monza (even Nurburgring although that was before my time).

    For info on the progress of Austin GP for 2012 head over to The Chequered Flag: "Austin powers ahead ready for 2012": http://tinyurl.com/5tur4md

  • Comment number 35.

    It looks very much like Winchester Services on the M3. I guess it serves a similar purpose. I hope the sausage and egg brunch is better.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sitting at Vale last year in the general admission seats i have to say the area that was allocated for the general admission was very small, granted there is that massive area down near to the barriers but they are low down and only can see a tiny bit of the track. However i've promoted myself to Stowe C this year, first time in a stand, lets see how it goes :)

  • Comment number 37.

    Could not agree with the majority more.... Love the new track layout we needed a high-speed turn tempting drivers to take it flat out (lewis tired it last year and went off a couple of times).... and when the race starts from the new position it will be a great first lap into the new section.

    Thank you for destroying my general admission position on club corner that i have been sitting at for years!... there are hardly any other places to sit now that are reasonably priced.... and I say reasonably priced £150 for a weekend GA ticket is a disgrace and with less and less GA areas to sit now I think that silverstone could find itself in trouble to pay for the brand new TESCO'S it has plonked right in front of everyones view it blocks the end of hanger straight all the way round and to the end of club straight (1/3 of the track)

    By the time i have paid for camping, the cheapest ticket, food, beer and petrol there and back I can fly to spain, germany, italy, hungary or even spa with change from this years silverstone costs

    Thanks Bernie for pushing me into watching F1 else where..... Singapore last year, Maylasia this year the rest of europe to follow!

    rant over!

  • Comment number 38.

    I'm going to the F1 this year. Chose Becketts grandstand for myself and family. It any good as never been to Silverstone before??
    Will be cheering on Paul Di Resta as a fellow Scot!

  • Comment number 39.

    How about a Phil Collins statue instead?

    Seriously, good race last year with plenty of overtaking into the final complex section from the new section.

  • Comment number 40.

    I appreciate some of the comments about the new lay-out sacrificing some of the old views and spectacle for the 'ordinary fan' but you have to bear in mind that there's more seating than ever before, more general access space than ever before, the large screen TVs coming in give good value for money, but there's also new viewing opportunities created. I watched the MotoGP from Luffield B last year and to see the bikes on the screen tackling the new hairpin complex, then look up and see them blasting onto Wellington straight, braking hard into the old brooklands/luffield complex, then powering off down the pit straight was simply incredible and offered a good 15 or so seconds per lap of uninterrupted viewing and with real overtaking opportunities too - and for my money few circuits I've been to in the UK or Europe can offer such excellent views of top class racing or with comparable facilities. Most you get a fleeting glimpse of a vehicle appearing and disappearing, and rely on crackly tannoys to know what's going on.
    Modern day Silverstone is a real jewel in the crown of British motor sport.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sometimes I really despair of my fellow-countrymen/women. What Silverstone has done is quite simply secured the British Grand Prix for 17years. That means until I am 75 years old I will not have to travel abroad to see the one sport at which the UK remains the absolute World Leader, and so many of your bloggers simply winge & complain. What really do they want? Yes, I too would like to get a Pit Pass as I did in the 1960's & stand alongside World Champions in awe, but it simply is not going to happen. Yes, I too would like to get really close to the action, as I did in the 1960's, but it simply is not going to happen. What Silverstone has done is simply fantastic and from all F1 followers in the UK they should receive an unqualified thank you. So stop the carping. And no, before you ask I am not a member of the BRDC, nor do I work for Silverstone, I am simply an extremely relieved F1 fan.

  • Comment number 42.

    A great race track is not defined by how well the hospitality suite can serve lunch for 4000 people (and how often is that going to happen) but by things such as - will Abbey still be the fastest part of the track, will Woodcote and Stowe still be the greatest corners in racing, will Rosberg's 160 mph lap record ever be broken ?

  • Comment number 43.

    @23 - Agreed, it might not be the best out there, but for £27m it's a great achievement. People have to accept that we don't have the money to compete with the Abu Dhabi's of this world, so we have to do what we can to keep the GP here and as they've acheived that I'm delighted.

    @42 - Greatest corners in racing? Mad as a hatter.

  • Comment number 44.

    The Olympic stadium is one of the ugliest building on earth, why on earth did is designers get the job of designing this?

  • Comment number 45.

    We have to remember that if Bernie had not offered the GP to Donington Park, who unfortunately went bust due to their upgrading the circuit to F1 standards during the recession, Silverstone would have continued to turn a blind ear to Mr Ecclestone's constant criticisms and cajoling. It is therefore to Donington's great misfortune that Silverstone have secured the long term F1 deal and have finally been dragged into the 21st century.

  • Comment number 46.

    Turning a blind ear is as complicated as closing a deaf eye Steve! However, you make a good point!
    Silverstone consistently made promises and didn't deliver and were 'fortunate' that Donington was a damp squid of a dream. I wonder if Bernie & Silverstone never believed in Donington and almost knew what would happen? Weren't a shock to me!

    Let's have some proper paths instead of gravel & dust and maybe even some decent WC's?!
    I love F1 and Silverstone is the spiritual home of the British Grand Prix, but I'm hoping that this years experience is worth waiting for and not just a bit of spin. I'm sure the pits an' all are great, but let's not forget the true fans that turn up year after year and impress the ones yet to attend!

  • Comment number 47.

    Amazing isnt it? Silverstone actually improves itself and people criticise it. Remember we nearly lost the GP altogether and at best it would have been at Donington, where the facilities really would have been tested. Remember what Silverstone was like and I've been going since 1974, it was grim and shabby. Now we've got a facility to be proud of and in a couple of years it will look better when grass and trees have grown. Times have changed and yes I used to sit at Club but frankly a grass bank (if that) just won't do any more and Silverstone needs to be comparable with other sports venues not just circuits.

    Roll on July - it is always a great weekend and the new facilities can only improve it - face it some if not all of the new F1 venues won't be around in a few years time (and I went to Zandvoort, Oesterreichring and Zolder) but somehow I feel Silverstone will always be on the calender and to do that it has to evolve with the times.

  • Comment number 48.

    You know, that new wing.

    I cant help feeling its too close to the ground, and may have to be banned :-)

  • Comment number 49.

    @#8 Also you could have spring loaded pedestrians popping out similar to a gun range. I think Bernie did once say we need more random swerving.

  • Comment number 50.

    "At 19:32pm 4th Apr 2011, Lyla wrote:

    Have to agree with comment 15. I don't feel it represents Silverstone which is in the heart of the British country side, it may be a technological marvel, it may have lots of glass and a roof that was thrown on at all angles to make it "designed", but what is 'good' British about that. It does look like a tesco, it also looks like a tesco profits graph."

    Had to laugh at the profits graph comment, mainly because I cant disagree with it.

    However, I'd say the building itself looks more like a Morrisons than a Tesco's. All these new buildings look the same to me. Seems to me if you throw a lot of glass, scaffolding and cladding together, you can call it anything you like, a football stadium, a shopping centre, an office block.......just seems to me that everything we design these days seems to look the same, and whilst the shape is different, the materials make it seem as generic as everything else we build.

    But it's okay, because if you give it a funny shaped roof, then its "quirky" and "british" and even "innovative".

    It's not. It's just a building that looks like every other new building, with a funny roof. The roof is the only thing that distinguishes it from anything else, and quite frankly I think its a cheap gimmick.

  • Comment number 51.

    One thing we can be sure of is that whatever the weather Silverstone will be rammed with the faithful as usual - did anyone happen to notice the half empty stands and terracing at Sepang today?

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.