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JULY 22, 2003

Stewart says that the government must help

Sir Jackie Stewart, the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, the owners of Silverstone, says that the BRDC cannot afford to run the Grand Prix without government help and says that Bernie Ecclestone's 30-day deadline for the funding to be in place is "unrealistic".

"The BRDC is keen to play a proportional part," Stewart told BBC Radio 5. "I have met with Patricia Hewitt (Trade and Industry Secretary) and around 75 MPs. I'm meeting as many people as I can to make sure this is an all-party issue and to make sure they know Britain cannot afford to lose this industry."

Up to now Stewart has not been able to get the government to pay for upgrading work at Silverstone but he is presumably hoping that the increased threat to the race will result in action from the polticians.

The BRDC sent round a letter to members last week which said that "The Minister of Sport has pledged that the Government will put 'their money where their mouth is' to make Silverstone 'the best in the world.' The Government, represented by the East Midlands Development Agency, FOM, IPG and the BRDC are now in discussion to secure the long term future of the British Grand Prix."