Stewart still fighting for Silverstone

While the focus in the last few days has been on the future of the Canadian Grand Prix, Jackie Stewart is still campaigning the British government to step in and help resolve the uncertain future of the British race. Bernie Ecclestone and FIA ...

While the focus in the last few days has been on the future of the Canadian Grand Prix, Jackie Stewart is still campaigning the British government to step in and help resolve the uncertain future of the British race. Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley have both publicly declared the Silverstone circuit not fit to host a Grand Prix and want improvements to the track to secure its place on the calendar. The estimated financial outlay is in the region of £40 million.

The FIA has made an offer to the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), that owns Silverstone, which includes the Club not having to foot the entire bill for the developments if it agrees to lower the rent charged for the circuit. BRDC president Stewart agrees to this but insists the government should support his case as the BRDC doesn't have the money available to pay for the improvements.

"I think the British Grand Prix will be safe, but it will not be safe if we don't do anything," Stewart told BBC radio. "We have got to invest in the facilities at Silverstone. The problem is that there is no money at the present time from the landowners, which is the British Racing Drivers' Club."

"I think the whole essence of Government action is to get all four parties to deliver so that the accumulated amount of money allows us to do the things that are required. The British Racing Drivers' Club don't get money from the grand prix because they lease the circuit for 365 days a year to the Brands Hatch Circuits Limited."

"The money goes into, very largely, Mr Ecclestone's companies, so there has been no revenue coming in to allow redevelopment of the area that everybody is talking about."

It has been reported in the British press that the government is looking at the situation and the Department of Trade and Industry is preparing to step in with a cash fund to secure the future of the British GP. "We would like (the motor sport industry) to flourish as it represents the cutting edge of UK manufacturing," a spokesman for the department told the Independent newspaper. "Silverstone is a hugely important part of the industry as a whole. If it fits the regional priorities then financial backing will be looked at. The Government is willing to help."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Jackie Stewart