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Last Updated: Monday, 14 July, 2003, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Government urged to help Silverstone
Jackie Stewart
Stewart has gone to the defence of Silverstone
Motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart is hoping the Government will help secure the future of the British Grand Prix.

The three-time former world champion has been in talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair and Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt over the future of the race at Silverstone.

The Government last week unveiled a 16m package to aid Britain's motor racing industry.

But Stewart, the president of the British Racing Drivers Club, which owns Silverstone, is keen that the track directly benefits further.

"If the Government do not help then there may well not be a British Grand Prix in the future and I do not want to see that," warned Stewart.

I just do not understand why people are being so vicious about Silverstone
Sir Jackie Stewart

"We are waiting to hear what they are going to do. They have said that they are going to assist us so that the race will be guaranteed, but we do not know what their strategy will be yet."

Stewart knows more money is needed to improve facilities, including a new pits and paddock complex.

He also wants to see a driver academy and World Championship standard karting track established at the Northamptonshire venue.

But Stewart insists not enough money is made from the race to fund the developments, while he has dismissed as economically impossible calls on his organisation to borrow the cash from the banks.

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and motorsport boss Max Mosley have both criticised the track in the run-up to Sunday's race.

But Stewart said: "We are having these continual threats being made by Mr Mosley and Ecclestone to remove the race and I just do not understand why they are being so vicious about Silverstone.

"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 or reality.

"Mr Mosley has been quoted as saying he can't guarantee a Grand Prix at Silverstone beyond 2004, but yet he is still talking about going back to Spa in Belgium.

"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."


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