Brands Hatch chief executive Bain says circuit will not be neglected

BRANDS HATCH chief executive Rob Bain vowed on Tuesday that the Kent circuit will not be neglected in the wake of Silverstone Circuit's acquiring of the British Grand Prix for the next 15 years.

Brands Hatch's owners Octagon struck a deal this month with Silverstone's owners the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) to lease the rights to host the British Grand Prix to Northamptonshire circuit Silverstone.

Octagon had acquired the rights to host the race from 2002, but after plans to develop Brands Hatch were thwarted by the Government an alternative deal had to be struck. BRDC members voted to support the deal on Monday.

"Everyone is a winner with this deal," said Bain. "Octagon will make a profit from the British Grand Prix over the next few years and that will mean more investment for Brands Hatch.

"Most drivers consider Brands Hatch to be their favorite track in the world and we intend to develop the circuit both on and off the track.

"There is a lot of work that needs doing, but the development will coincide with the work at Silverstone, but not on the same scale. It was our plan to host the British Grand Prix there, but now we have a new focus."

Octagon, the BRDC and Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management company will all invest "tens of millions of pounds" to develop and improve Silverstone, according to Bain.

Bain said that the three parties aim to turn Silverstone into the best motor racing circuit in the world and will banish the memories of this year's British Grand Prix where rain wrecked facilities.

He added: "Everyone accepts Silverstone needs a lot of work. There will not be many changes for next year, but by 2002 people will see a marked improvement.

"Nothing will happen overnight and we hope to submit planning applications in March or April next year. Work could then start by the winter of 2001.

"We want to make it the best circuit in the world and the pride of Britain. By 2005 it will be the best. It will have the best facilities and will run operationally better than anywhere else."

BRDC president Jackie Stewart has called for financial help from the government with developing Silverstone and Bain backed the former World Champion.

"Every other new circuit in the world has backing from their government," said Bain. "I'm sure Jackie Stewart has a meeting arranged and something can happen."

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