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OCTOBER 3, 2001

British GP still provisional on 2002 calendar

THE British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been included on the 2002 formula one world championship calendar as a provisional date for the second year running.

Twelve months ago the future of this year's fixture was put under the microscope after heavy rain turned the Easter 2000 race into a muddy fiasco which the sport's governing body considered was not up to the standards required of such a prestigious international event.

Now its future inclusion as the tenth of the 17 races is subject to the outcome of an inquiry by the Motor Sports Association, Britain's national sanctioning body, into the traffic arrangements at this year's race.

This is being conducted by Graham Stoker, the chairman of the MSA's judicial committee, and his report should be completed ahead of the FIA's next world council meeting in December.

"On behalf of Octagon (which leases Silverstone and stages the grand prix) and the Fia, we offered to hold an independent inquiry," said MSA chief executive Colin Hilton recently. "The idea is to help the Fia by giving them the real facts."

Formula one insiders regard it as unlikely that there will be any problem in giving next year's race the all-clear in December, particularly as the construction of the new Silverstone bypass - which will aid access to the track - is now back on schedule following the foot and mouth crisis and should be open prior to the 7 July fixture.

The calendar is generally unchanged from this season although the San Marino grand prix is also provisional, subject to the organizers concluding a new commercial agreement for the race. The Australian GP at Melbourne, which opens the new season on 3 March, is subject to the coroner's inquiry into the accident which resulted in the death of a marshal from flying debris caused by a collision between Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher early in the race.