Numbers game

The Northamptonshire economy is set for a boost of “tens of millions of pounds” as the Formula One circus rolls into the county next weekend.

The British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone from July 6 to 8, with more than 300,000 people expected to descend on the circuit for the jewel in the county’s sporting crown.

And F1’s industry monitor Formula Money suggests £40m is spent over the course of the weekend.

The presence of F1 at Silverstone, at the heart of Northamptonshire’s famed “motorsport valley,” helps drive the economy all year round.

One prime example is Mercedes basing its F1 engine building division in Brixworth, where 90 per cent of its 400-strong workforce are county residents.

Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby hosts scores of conferences and exhibitions alongside its racing events, and famed engineering outfit RML races cars all over the world which are fettled at its base in Wellingborough.

And the people filling these skilled jobs in the future could be the students of Tresham College’s National College for Motorsport, which is based at Silverstone.

Plans were also granted last year for a University Technical College at the circuit.

Tresham College principal Stuart Wesselby said: “Silverstone and Tresham have developed a fantastic partnership over recent years and last October we were delighted to hear our flagship Silverstone UTC was given the go-ahead to offer a technical curriculum focussed on high performance engineering and technical events management.

“Each year hundreds of our students progress into the motorsport industry and with the developments planned there will be even more young people equipped with high quality skills for work vital to the local economy.”

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber, said: “Silverstone is one of the leading motorsport venues in the world and has really put Northamptonshire on the map.

“Every time the Grand Prix is held, Northamptonshire’s economy benefits from the influx of fans it attracts and the tens of millions of pounds it generates. As well as bringing a lot of visitors into the county, the Grand Prix also gives local businesses, such as hotels, restaurants and pubs, the chance to get noticed.”