Dean Smith wins the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award; stand by for ‘Venison-gate’
Formula Renault UK champion Dean Smith is the 21st winner of the McLaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award, bagging a test in a McLaren F1 car, free Puma racewear, a cheque for £50,000 and a watch that’s big enough to see from space. Smith made the shortlist in 2007 but lost out to Stefan Wilson.
The judging was reportedly very tight. The standard of driving during the Silverstone test days was very impressive, as was the aptitude of the candidates during interviews. The decision finally came down to a choice between Smith and his FRenault rival James Calado, and Smith came out on top by dint of being fastest during the test.
Smith is hoping to land a seat in GP3 next year and the prize purse will give him a tremendous boost. The junior formulae aren’t cheap nowadays (a season in Formula BMW will cost you around £120,000) and his career nearly stalled last year when he failed to land the necessary finance for a Formula 3 campaign.
Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis was at the next table along from us, and she made the draw for the annual charity lottery. The prize of a Peugeot 207 S16 went to Mike Conway, prompting one wag to comment, “Only thing he’s won all year…”
Also during the evening Formula 1′s new hanger-on of choice, James Corden, delivered an uproarious comic turn that will have come as a surprise to anyone who’s seen Lesbian Vampire Killers. Then he committed a rather crass diplomatic blunder, following in the footsteps of Martin Brundle last year: while presenting Jenson Button with the British Competition Driver Of The Year gong, Corden made it quite clear that his venison steak had been on the griddle for longer than he considered necessary.
When did it become acceptable etiquette to come to a party and scorn the hospitality of your hosts, even if you’re a demi-inebriated sitcom co-writer? Answers on a postcard, please…