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OCTOBER 23, 2001

British Grand Prix goers set for massive price hike

ALL those adults thinking of attending the British Grand Prix next year had better be quick - and better be wealthy. That is the message coming through loud and clear with the announcement of the prices for the event, which will be the first run completely under the triumvirate of Octagon Motorsport, the British Racing Drivers' Club and Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management.

The new price structure will see three-day tickets only being sold from 16 November to 31 December at a cost of $300 per person. Grandstand seating will again be an additional charge of $150 per person on race day with reduced prices for Friday Free Practice and Saturday Qualifying.

Furthermore there will be a fee for parking at the 800-acre venue for the first time in the 53-year history of the event, an additional $65 tariff to those seeking to attend on race day. The total cost for two adults seeking to attend the race and watch from a grandstand seat will therefore be $958, with additional children's prices yet to be announced for all those aged from 24 months to 16 years.

The announcements come as the organizers have been forced to limit the race day capacity from the 90,000 limit imposed in 1993 to a new total of 60,000 - yet given the price restructuring the 2002 race could be the most profitable yet seen at Silverstone, with a maximum earning potential of $30 million.

This figure will of course be offset by the percentage of children present, for whom reduced admission and grandstand prices are charged between two and 16 years of age. However, with the revenue to be made from center transfer passes, program sales, on-site catering, trade site sales, catering concessions, billboard advertising, TV coverage, hospitality and the support races 2002 is set to be a bumper cash harvest in Britain.

BRDC present Sir Jackie Stewart attempted to distance himself from the new pricing structure when interviewed by BBC radio, suggesting that while his club owned the circuit site itself it had no part in deciding the ticket prices - although he did attempt a defence saying that the new costs did not put the British Grand Prix out of line with other events on the Formula 1 calendar.

"If you go to the Belgian Grand Prix, which is the closest in terms of miles or kilometers run, you would expect to pay that," he said. Stewart also denied that other major events were more competitively priced.

"Unlike Wimbledon you get to see the whole event, when supporting races and practice means non-stop action from eight in the morning to six in the evening as well as a host of other amenities not on offer at other events."

Stewart is still spearheading the campaign to gain $80 million in funding from the British tax payer to be taken from the government's sport, education, local development and transport budgets in order to 'safeguard' the future of the Grand Prix through the modernization of Silverstone's facilities and improvements in public access.