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Grosjean and Warwick join Damon Hill for Silverstone 50th Grand Prix tribute

NEWS STORY
15/05/2014

With three races to go until the 2014 British Grand Prix, 1996 world champion Damon Hill, Romain Grosjean and Derek Warwick, were at Silverstone today looking ahead to this year's event, the 50th Grand Prix to be hosted at the Northamptonshire circuit.

The three F1 greats were joined by a host of iconic cars, which have either won the British Grand Prix, or played a significant role in the sport's glorious past, including:

The historic Renault RS01; the first turbocharged Formula 1 car which made its debut at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1977

The Renault RE40; Alain Prost's 1983 British Grand Prix winning car

The Lotus 98T; Ayrton Senna's spectacular 1986 car in iconic John Player Special livery

The Williams-Renault FW14, which Nigel Mansell drove to victory at the British Grand Prix in 1991

The Williams-Renault FW14B, which also won the British Grand Prix in 1992 in the hands of Mansell, who went on to win the World Championship in the same car

The Williams-Renault FW16, in which Damon Hill won the 1996 World Championship

The assembled cars provided a real taste of what fans can expect to see at this year's Grand Prix. As part of the circuit's 'Silverstone50' celebrations, a host of iconic winning cars are being assembled to feature in three commemorative parades - one on each day of the event – and will be driven by some of the biggest names in British and world motor sport.

Also present at Silverstone was Rob White, Renault Sport F1's deputy managing director (technical), who was on hand to provide a wealth of technical information on the original turbocharged cars. An original 1984-1986 Renault EF 15 two-litre engine and Renault's modern day Energy F1-2014 hybrid power unit, were also on display.

Earlier in the day, Grosjean took to the track in Alain Prost's Renault RE40, and was able to compare first-hand the 'then' and 'now' of Renault's pioneering turbocharged Formula 1 power units.

"Driving the RE40 felt the same, yet different at the same time," said the Frenchman. "Downforce, power, braking, the car itself, the behaviour, that's Formula 1 - even though it's 30 years old it feels the same as today. But then of course the 'H' gearbox was a bit difficult to get used to at first, and the turbo lag was quite big, so you can't imagine how tough it must have been to warm the tyres up in the race and get the throttle application right. There are less buttons on the steering wheel though, which is nice! The noise felt like an engine from the past. The unburned fuel in the exhaust made a really nice noise and vibration; it was a really great feeling."

"The British Grand Prix is always one of the best Grands Prix of the year, because England is the home of Formula 1 and our team is thirty minutes from here," he added. "I live in the UK, so it's like a second home Grand Prix for me - and the fans are great. They love cars, they love motor sport; they are here very early in the morning and they leave late in the evening. It's great to see that people love to come here. They enjoy the Grand Prix and they love the show - they are here to enjoy it all."

"It's great to be back here and reunited with the car that I won the World Championship in in 1996," said Hill. "Although I didn't win the British Grand Prix in this one; that was two years before in 1994, also in a Williams-Renault. I'd like to think that winning the British Grand Prix is great for any driver, but particularly if you're a British driver, there's nothing like it. It is one of the biggest events of all the Grands Prix we go to. There's such a massive crowd, and to get all that satisfaction and give people satisfaction with a victory at your home grand prix, you just can't beat it."

"The heritage of Silverstone is so special, and it's fantastic to be celebrating having 50 Grands Prix here. Silverstone remains crucial to the Championship, it's a world famous circuit and it keeps Grand Prix racing here where it should be, in the centre of Great Britain. I think the atmosphere is the thing I'm most looking forward to, I just love the buzz. It's a great celebration and it's also a fantastic sporting event. There'll be extra excitement this year with the strong possibility of seeing a British winner."

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