Honda website
Honda website

DECEMBER 12, 2000

...and looks for government funding

SILVERSTONE has yet to approach the British authorities about funding for the planned rebuilding of Silverstone but the organization which decides on whether or not money should be given for the project says that there is a provision for "world class events" which have "national significance".

Sport England, the organization which would make the grant from National Lottery funds, has done very little in the way of funding motor racing because the facilities being funded normally need to have an element of community use. However if there were facilities to help develop British talent - such the motor racing academy that Martin Brundle has been talking about in recent days - money could be forthcoming.

There are dangers, however, as Sport England's involvement in the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium has shown. Sport England agreed to supply Wembley National Stadium Ltd. with a grant of $190m while the football authorities had to raise the remaining $570m. Most of the Sport England grant went to buying the land (which cost around $170m) but there was then considerable government interference with claims that the stadium would not be capable of staging the 2012 Olympic Games, which had been part of the planning. As a result the company was told to return more than $30m and athletics was removed from the redevelopment scheme. After further wrangling the company finally got planning permission to build the new stadium in May and demolition began recently.

With the Silverstone redevelopment expected to cost something in the region of $150m the grant to Silverstone could be considerably less than that made to Wembley although Silverstone would probably need to provide other uses for the local community if the redevelopment is to go ahead. This would probably mean that other sporting facilities would need to be built on the site but there is no reason why the track should not have a velodrome or an artificial ski slope as part of the rebuilding plan and there might even be the possibility of a watersport facility in the infield at the south end of the track. All this is speculation at the moment but the fact that Brundle is talking about a motor racing academy would suggest that Silverstone will eventually bid for National Lottery money.