Is Silverstone committing suicide?

Jackie Stewart, Bernie Ecclestone

Jackie Stewart, Bernie Ecclestone 

 © The Cahier Archive

BRDC chairman Jackie Stewart recently attacked Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley saying that "I just do not understand why they are being so vicious about Silverstone" and said that "if they have an agenda I do not know what it is. What I do know is that it is not a fair and level playing field. What Mr. Mosley and Ecclestone have been saying about Silverstone has gone out of all proportion and reality.

Stewart used examples of other tracks which have been treated more leniently.

"Silverstone is certainly better than Sao Paulo in Brazil, better than Spa, better than Hungary, better than San Marino and the pits are still better than at Hockenheim in Germany."

Ecclestone has in fact answered the question already saying that as Britain is the centre of the motor racing world it should have a Grand Prix which reflects that status. Ecclestone says that the BRDC should invest the money it receives in rent from Octagon and use that to borrow money to upgrade the track. Stewart says this is "economically-impossible" but has not explained why this is the case. The British government has refused to put money directly into the funding of the Grand Prix although some money has been found to help Silverstone build up the infrastructure of British motorsport.

The most damaging thing, however, was Stewart's attack on Mosley and Ecclestone, saying that much of the money in the sport is flowing out. While there may be some truth in his arguments Ecclestone argues that he is the man who made what F1 is today and he deserves to gain from that. The FIA argues that it cannot control the commercial side of the business and so has sub-contracted that to Ecclestone and the money from that transaction has enabled the FIA to establish a research foundation, which has other values to the sport.

"None of that money, to my knowledge, has gone back to circuits but Mr. Mosley has nice new offices in Trafalgar Square as well as in Paris and Geneva," Stewart said.

Stewart cannot use the same argument about Ecclestone as he put $12m into Silverstone only to complain a few weeks ago that the money had been wasted by the BRDC.

The public brawl between the various parties has not achieved anything and if anything has added to the likelihood of the British GP disappearing from the F1 calendar.

"If the government do not help then there may well not be a British Grand Prix in the future," Stewart said. "We are waiting to hear what they are going to do. They have said that they are going to assist us so that the Grand Prix will be guaranteed, but we do not know what their strategy will be yet."

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