Mark Webber has joined the list of voices lamenting the loss of Silverstone as a Formula One venue, claiming that the British venue is better than several others still commanding a place on the F1 schedule - and a preferable option over new British GP host Donington Park.
This weekend's world championship round will be the last for the foreseeable future at the former airfield, with Donington having been handed a ten-year deal to stage the British Grand Prix at last year's UK event, and then handed a seven-year extension to that agreement on the eve of this year's race - despite the fact that it has yet to successfully prove that it can even be ready to welcome the F1 circus in 2010.
Donington's development problems have been well documented - with legal rows, financial worries and problems surrounding the earthworks designed to bring the circuit up to scratch all hitting the headlines - but F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone insists that the Leicestershire venue is the only option for keeping Britain on the F1 schedule, discounting a return to Silverstone whatever the state of the replacement next summer.
Webber, however, speaks for the vast majority of his rivals when he says that losing Silverstone from the calendar is a serious disappointment, as the circuit provides one of the biggest challenges - and bet atmospheres - of the entire season.
"This weekend could be the last F1 grand prix at Silverstone for a very long time - and that is very disappointing," he wrote in his regular BBC
column, "We've had some fantastic races over the years, with the Nigel Mansell era and Lewis Hamilton in the wet last year, for example. Silverstone is a great track, especially for F1 cars."
The Red Bull Racing pilot insists that Silverstone deserves its place on the schedule ahead of many other venues around the world, including some of the supposedly superior events added to the calendar to take F1 to previously unexplored territories, such as Turkey, where Webber panned the low attendance at the last round of the 2009 championship.
"Bernie Ecclestone has made it clear [that] he thinks the facilities at Silverstone are not up to scratch, but they are a whole lot better than Brazil," he said, confirming many suspicions that Interlagos continues to receive preferential treatment when it comes to retaining its place on the calendar, "The traffic is better than Istanbul and China too, so it's a shame it won't continue.
"On top of that, Donington is looking a bit shaky, so there might not even be a British Grand Prix next year - and that's a concern. Not to have a British Grand Prix would be totally wrong. It's one of the two or three counties in the world - like Italy, France and Germany - whose motorsport heritage and history should guarantee a race."
Ironically, the Australian feels that swapping Silverstone for Donington will be wrong for both
of motorsport's senior categories, with the MotoGP series having been snapped up by the former as a replacement for F1.
"Donington Park is a bike track, so it's a shame both categories are swapping because the bike guys love Donington and we love Silverstone," Webber maintained, "And the track changes they're making at Donington [for the arrival of F1] are not going to make much difference."