Scottish Formula 1 Grand Prix?

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?

6 comments on “Scottish Formula 1 Grand Prix?”

  1. pablo Reply

    F1 as a sport is unfortunately dead and buried.

    It is sooooo boring with every thing done to ensure that certain teams win(or are given an advantage). I think scotland is too good for F1(or more accurately, not suited to the plastic-ness of F1.) The glamour and the glitz and the excitement of F1(yawn)… excuse me i think my paint has just dried.

    Scotland should indeed host a form of world class motorcar racing, it should not host an F1 race.

    I’d like to see a word rally event in scotland, now thats exciting racing.

  2. Richard Brunton Reply

    Pablo you’ve missed the last two years I’m guessing. It’s been good because Ferrari’s sometimes forceful and rule-bending dominance has been halted by Renault with Alonso taking the title twice.

    Now we see the departure of the best Ferrari driver and Technical Head, with the distinct possibility that neither will return to their former seats…I’m actually thinking the playing field is beginning to level out again.

    The rise of Renault, Red Bull, Toyota, Honda and the arrival of a new team. This next year could be an interesting one.

  3. Pablo Reply

    I have watched formula one racing since i could turn on the tv. My brother and i used to watch it in south africa in the wrong time zone, on delayed telecasts, in black and white etc and watching nelson piquet and friends entertain us with their amazing abilities was surely one of the greatest moments of my childhood.

    Perhaps i am being unfair in comparing today’s money making F1 sport to the good old days(oh dear i sound like my dad).

    I have watched F1 on(and mostly off)over the last few years and the tyre, qualifying and engine changes have made a massive difference. I just can’t remember enjoying an F1 weekend like i used to. You know what i mean, when you watch the practise sessions, the qualifying AND the race and its all exciting.

    In recent years i have enjoyed the Motogp instead and can’t begin to describe how exciting it is to see four guys heading flat out down a straight and jostle for the sharp bend, only to be overtaken by some crazy bugger who has left his braking to an unbelievable moment.

    I’ll be watching F1 next year(on and off again) and i agree with you that scotland does deserve some recognition for the talented drivers it produces.

    Just not sure if it should be F1.

  4. Richard Brunton Reply

    The MotoGP is stunning to watch and really does carry the excitement of the old Mansell and JPS days. That’s when I really loved F1 too.

    However I think you are being unfair to compare it, technology has moved on and these cars are very different from those days. Yet not all of the changes have been good, the safety is going mad. Now these guys can survive crashes at crazy speeds they are still cutting out corners and chicanes because they are too fast, then they’re slowing the cars down, slowing down the tracks, it’s just too much. Even the drivers are saying so.

    The sport needs an element of danger, not death, but danger. That and passing. Two things that have been slowly removed from the sport over the years.

    These are the elements that MotoGP really does have in bucket loads.

  5. Murray Reply

    Hello,I would love to see a Scottish Grand prix.How about a street circuit through Edinburgh city centre.The castle would be an amazing back drop for a grand prix and i’m from Glasgow! Sadly i doubt this will ever happen as Bernie wants to deepen his Shallow pockets (cough) and old Silverstone is on the brink of one year on/off affair with mangy cours.

    Ps. You forgot to mention the greatest scottish f1 driver and perhaps f1 greatest of all time.The legend Jim Clark.

  6. Richard Brunton Reply

    Actually, I don’t think it would happen because Edinburgh’s streets are sooo bad!

    No, I think you’re right Murray, Bernie would never allow it. He wants out of Britain and that’s obvious as he once again threatens the British GP with being dropped from the calendar. He wants richer countries.

    How could I forget Jim Clark? My apologies!

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