OCTOBER 31, 2002
Jumping on the bandwagon
The outcry - largely from Belgium - about the demise of the Belgian Grand Prix has brought a few other people who have messages that they wish to deliver. David Byrne, the European Union Health Commissioner came out with his guns blazing attacking Formula 1 for what it had done and he was cut down in a hail of barbs fired back from FIA headquarters in London. He probably will not make the same mistake again.
Also rushing out a statement was Sir Jackie Stewart who warned that the British Grand Prix could be cut from the World Championship unless the British government offers more support to motorsport.
"It is a warning for everyone else," Stewart said. "If we still want an F1 race in Britain then we have to fight for it."
Stewart has long campaigned for government funding for the motorsport industry, although many in the industry do not agree as the competition for backing keeps the industry dynamic and innovative. Government subsidies tend to make people lazy (as the European Union has found with its policy of subsidising farmers).
Stewart's comments are probably best understood when one considers that the backing that had been lined up for the redevelopment of Silverstone seems to have run into trouble with Octagon Motorsports struggling for money and its parent company Interpublic considering getting out of racing completely.
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