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AUGUST 6, 2001

Former Silverstone boss comments on FIA dispute

TOM WALKINGSHAW, the former chairman of Silverstone Circuits Ltd., has stated that any action by the FIA to scrub the British Grand Prix from the 2002 world championship calendar would be 'tragic'.

Walkinshaw led Silverstone briefly in the early 1990s, when Britain's Grand Prix venue paid $8 million for a 50% stake in TWR Group, the dealership chain established by the motor sport magnate, to form the short-lived Silverstone Motor Group.

At the time Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, vehemently opposed the move, which sold the shares back to Walkinshaw for $3.5 million and successfully sued its legal advisors for the remaining funds after citing negligence. Evidently Walkinshaw remains a Silverstone supporter, adding his voice to those backing the circuit as the FIA presses for an end to the chronic traffic problems at the venue if it is to retain its place on the 2002 calendar.

"Obviously if it is dropped it would be tragic," said Walkinshaw. "I have got no knowledge of the complaint but if the FIA are unhappy there is probably good reason for it. The problem with Silverstone is that there are one or two grands prix now that have exceptional facilities and they have started to show up the more established venues."

Walkinshaw meanwhile is at the head of one of the projects threatening the survival of several established events - such as the San Marino, Austrian and European Grands Prix - with his project to build a circuit on the outskirts of Moscow. Walkinshaw is hopeful that the Russian capital will be granted a Grand Prix in 2002.