JULY 10, 2002
Rob Bain departs Octagon
ROB BAIN, the man who was running the British GP operation for Octagon, quit his job on Monday but while the timing may seem to be related to the criticisms about the British Grand Prix the reality seems to be rather different. For a start there was very little negative comment about the huge amount of work that has been done at Silverstone to ensure that the race remains in the future. For the first time the facility felt like a modern race track and not an old airfield. Admittedly Bernie Ecclestone made some remarks about signposting after getting lost but this is a minor issue in comparison to the problems that used to exist and the traffic flow this year seems to have been pretty good. If nothing else the fact that the press corps was able to drive in and out of the circuit without trouble meant that they were not personally stuck in the jams and so were instantly less critical of the place. The only evidence we could find of problems were a big jam on Saturday night as people tried to get into the circuit when the new roads being used on Sunday were not yet operational.
The timing of Bain's departure is also a sign that this was not a spontaneous move but rather a planned departure and our sources say that it may have more to do with the internal politicking in Octagon than the running of the British GP. Octagon is under scrutiny from its parent company Interpublic at the moment with a review of motorsports, in particular. We hear that in recent months a former employee from the rival IMG has been retained by Octagon to look at the motorsports activities of Octagon and make a report on how the division can improve its financial performance. There was a talk a few weeks ago of a shake-up coming within Octagon and this may be the first sign of that.
Political issues aside, one must salute the achievement of the company in relation to Silverstone and as work begins on a new pit complex and media center we can look forward to next year with even better facilities.
The chances of the race being dropped from the F1 calendar are thus limited and, as Bain pointed out, Octagon does have a contract until 2010.
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