British GP gets OK in Monaco

Podium, British GP 2001

Podium, British GP 2001 

 © The Cahier Archive

THE British Grand Prix received the go ahead for 2002 from the FIA World MotorSport Council in Monaco today (Friday) after its promoters offered to lodge a $5m bond with the governing body to underline their faith that all the traffic access improvements will be implemented to the FIA's satisfaction.

Further details and terms of this "performance bond" will be agreed between Octagon and the FIA's lawyers within the next week. If the arrangements for the race do not come up to the expected standards, it is understood that the money could be forfeited.

Sir Jackie Stewart, president of the British racing drivers' club, the owners of Silverstone, worked hard behind the scenes using his connections to lobby the politicians.

"We have had unprecedented help from the government on this," he said. "I was relatively confident even before the meeting at Monaco that the FIA was going to receive the reassurance about the race that it needed - and some of this was directed from the very top."

"If we had lost the British grand prix it would have precluded any formula one testing in this country and it would not have been long before leading teams began establishing satellite operations abroad."

It had been feared that the FIA would strike the race from the calendar, or perhaps downgrade it to non-championship status, a move which would have terminally damaged its credibility.

However, the governing body also accepted a confidential report from the Motor sports association, Britain's national club, that there had in fact been "material and noticeable" improvements to the traffic flow in 2001 and that the plans in hand for 2002 "address every aspect required from a grand prix organizers and more."

"We are obviously delighted with the result," said Rob Bain, chief executive of Octagon motorsport after the decision was announced. "The FIA are in total support of our 2002 plans, in addressing traffic and access at Silverstone.

"We will continue to work closely with all parties to guarantee the success if the British grand prix in 2002, ensuring it becomes a world leader in its field by 2003."

FIA President Max Mosley said, "After the broken promises of recent years from the organizers of the British grand prix, the FIA has now received binding commitments from them that the chaos experienced by motorsport fans in recent years will be properly addressed in time for next year's grand prix."

"The FIA world motor sport council was particularly reassured by the direct intervention of the Prime Minister and his sports minister."

"The FIA formula one world championship is the biggest annual global sporting event, and it is essential that in the United Kingdom, as in any other country, the highest standards for spectators are provided. I feel for the first time the FIA has received the comprehensive commitments necessary to deliver for the fans."

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