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Roy the Boy: Silverstone Memories

NEWS STORY
03/07/2014

Silverstone '94. Now there's something that evokes some serious memories.

1994 was, of course, the year Aerosmith's classic video accompanying their song Crazy hit MTV's screens. Its star was the ultimate object of teenaged lust and desire, Alicia Silverstone.

I have to confess the part of my home-recorded 'best of 1994' VHS tape which features this Silverstone video is all but worn away. Meanwhile the Grand Prix that goes by the same name, can be found midway through my '180-minute Scotch Lifetime Guarantee' cassette, remains pristine.

It shows Damon Hill driving off into the distance ultimately scoring by over a minute in a race where 22 cars were lapped. There wasn't a World Champion in the entire field.

The highlight was HRH Princess Diana presenting the winner's trophy. The problem was she wasn't really a HRH then having formally separated from the [royal] family 19 months beforehand.

Nevertheless, as the promotion of a British product now worth £2 billion annually in revenue, her efforts even as a non-royal, were a watershed moment.

I'm already questioning who are we going to send to represent the United Kingdom this year? In 2012 Italian Frankie Dettori, subsequently supended from hosre racing for drug use and politician Kenneth Clarke fulfilled the roll. Clarke has actually been generically dispatched to represent Queen and country for the past two decades.

Last year, with a liberal sprinkling of the royal family opting to watch the well-known Scottish Referendum YES vote advocate Andy Murray play in the Wimbledon final there were no royals or a Prime Minister in attendance once again.

In mitigation, if you did not blink you may have seen Prince Michael of Kent at the Silverstone circuit 24-hours before race day. Does anyone have the faintest idea what his relationship is to HM the Queen? It is distant enough to mean he is not considered to carry out approved royal duties domestically. Although, in some instances, foreign commonwealth countries are given him.

So his visit was not on an official basis rather a personal commercial one. Managing a consultancy business, a Freemason, fluent in Russian with Sputnick blood flowing through his veins, maybe he was shooting for Graeme Lowden's CEO job at the Marussia team.

Alas, the best British ambassadors Formula 1 could muster last year were actor Rupert Grint (never heard of him but I've never watched a Harry Potter film either); model Jodie Kidd (fresh from her appearance in Celebrity Antiques Road Trip - better known for selling and supplying something other than antiques); Amanda Holden (not certain what she did before becoming a panellist on Britain's Got Talent or how she got that job); 70's musician Leo Sayer (who loves his country so much he moved to the other side of the world and became a naturalised Australian), singer Geri Halliwell (a standout as Nelson Mandela described meeting the Spice Girls in 1997 - not being release from 27 years imprisonment - as the best day of his life); Goldie (who I think is the dog from Blue Peter); a pair of chefs, James Martin and Nathan Outlaw (never heard of 'em) and politician Peter Hain (never want to hear of him).

Resultantly the starting grid looked like a refugee column of folk that had been and that wanted to be... but failed.

Admittedly Northampton is not Monte Carlo where an itinerant collection of mega-wealthy wasters, drifters and self-delusionists can fill the starting grid with consummate ease. But, when it is all said and done, only a few of the characters listed above would be known outside the bounds of a mindless British televisual wasteland.

So who will be the highest profile British global brand ambassador on display at Silverstone this Sunday? I'm going 500/1 HM the Queen. After all she will doubtlessly be very tired following seven days of official horseracing engagements during June.

Furthermore she is still probably irked at Bernie Ecclestone suggesting he makes a racetrack out of her driveway by tabling a London City Grand Prix. Not the kind of horsepower one appreciates.

It has to be said Prince Harry is a contender, albeit a big outsider, and so from a royal standpoint Clare Balding OBE will be the closest we will get to a royal visitor popping up. Let's face it she pops up at most places.

Historically, before disappearing into the night due to over-exposure, female television presenters (Anthea Turner, Ulrika Jonsson, Carol Smillie, Selina Scott, Claire Sweeny et-al) have had the girl-next-door appeal. Balding, who Queenie reportedly dotes on, doesn't. Unless you live next door to a castle that is!

With what was a banker bet, athlete Jessica Ennis, unavailable due to child birth commitments I'm now predicting the highest profile celebrity to appear on BBC's F1 coverage to be Rowan Atkinson closely followed by Jeremy Clarkson. On the other side, presenter Kirsty Gallagher is a possible for Sky F1 allied to the requisite little known actor and a soupcon of celebrity cooks.


In all seriousness there is an irony that, in a year when Lewis Hamilton will be crowned Britain's Sports Personality of the Year, Formula 1 is still ignored by those who are supposed to embrace such a valuable global sport and industry.

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1. Posted by Paul C, 04/07/2014 1:57

"Why not Mike Lawrence for the representative British citizen? "

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