A long time ago, when I was much younger, I remember there being some talk of an attempt to get a Scottish Formula 1 Grand Prix going, and if my flaky memory serves me right Jackie Stewart was involved in the attempt somewhere.
The plan was to try and get some world class F1 track near Edinburgh and explode tourism. Yet it never got the backing it needed and it failed, probably because it would then start competing with the British Grand Prix which has always been held in England. Now though Scotland has its own government, couldn’t we give this a go again?
I remember my Father and I having a politically charged discussion sometime ago, this usually involves intense slagging of some stupid politician who is more intent on earning their salary, hearing their own voice and face on TV, and taking the exact opposite stand to some other politician they don’t like without thinking about what the public who elected them would like.
Anyway, he brought up that the Royal Air force base at Edzell was up for sale and had been derelict for several years. The base was located near Brechin and is a short journey from either Edinburgh or Aberdeen and was named after the local village of Edzell. The base was used for American “Intelligence” officers during the Cold War.
The 440 acre site contained housing, an airstrip, and many anciliary buildings, and would have made a perfect site for a Grand Prix. Use some of the location for the track itself, expand the airstrip for a local airport where the teams and visitors could fly directly into, adapt the buildings for amenities and hotels, and you would have a self contained location all for racing.
However the sale went through to a property developer, and now I think the site is most definitely gone. A missed opportunity indeed.
Yet all is not lost. There are two locations near Edinburgh which are quite possible. The first is Knockhill which is located just north of Edinburgh off the main dual carriageway out of the city and across the bridges, which would make a lovely tourist trip from the capital. It is currently home to a lot of racing from Touring Cars to British Superbikes, and with investment and expansion it could be a Formula 1 home.
Then there’s Ingliston. It already has a small race track which is used for Moto GB, RC racing, road rallying, etc. It’s within walking distance of the airport and airport hotels, and therefore not a stones throw from Edinburgh itself.
I think developing one of these locations and the transport around it could well bring an exciting Scottish Grand Prix to the event calendar.
Now I can see people snorting with laughter at their computers already, yet we have a great racing history here in Scotland and some stunning drivers. Jackie Stewart perhaps being the pinnacle of that great history, and currently we have David Coulthard – snort again if you wish, but he boasts a stunning driving history. Then there’s the great talent we have in other racing, particularly in rallying with the likes of Colin McCrae.
Then what’s so strange about having a Scottish Grand Prix? We know how to party and entertain in Edinburgh and Glasgow, it’s already a superb tourist location and there’s so much to do in Edinburgh, nevermind Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.
Weather? Perfect. You want a continually hot and sunny track? Well I suspect then you are one of those people who like the lengthy fuel burning sessions and parade lap like races with your favourite driver at the front. You’re boring and you’ve lost touch with what racing is about. Get those driver aides off and let’s have changeable and unpredictable weather, sort out the drivers from the button pushers.
Still laughing? I think we’ve got the potential to have a Scottish Formula 1 race circuit, the infrastructure is already here, Edinburgh is already home to many international festivals and is a great international tourist location, all it would need is some commitment and cash.
If the Goverment can waste billions on a building that’s falling apart and only they use to stand up and call each other names day after day, then surely they could invest the millions required to create a world class Formula 1 circuit?