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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 February, 2004, 17:42 GMT
Stewart urges action
Former racing driver Jackie Stewart
Stewart is working on a deal to save the British Grand Prix
Sir Jackie Stewart says F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's threats over Silverstone must be taken seriously.

Ecclestone has warned improvements must be made to the home of the British Grand Prix or it could be replaced on the race calendar.

The F1 chief said increased interest in the Far East and India could put the future of the British race in doubt.

"Bernie is right," said Stewart. "Those countries have massive financial power and draw."

Stewart is president of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), who own Silverstone, and is urging action to safeguard the British GP's future.

"British motorsport, its industry and the British government have to listen to the statement by Ecclestone," he said.

Ecclestone has waged a long-running campaign to bring facilities at the Northamptonshire track up to scratch and upped the ante last weekend.

We are now preparing to rebuild the entire paddock and pit complex, a new media centre and race control building
Sir Jackie Stewart
President of the BRDC
"I don't see a future for Silverstone," he said.

"It is like an old house that says it only needs a few renovations.

"Believe me, in the next 10 years, Europe will slide down to the level of the third world in economic terms.

"It doesn't have the slightest chance of competing with China, South Korea, India."

The main problem hindering upgrading the circuit is who will finance the improvements, estimated at 40m.

Ecclestone himself has already pumped 15m into the project and is in talks with the BRDC, Interpublic - who hold the rights to the race - and the government about securing the future of the track.

But Stewart confirmed that as yet no deal is in place which would keep the race in Britain at the expense of lucrative Far Eastern markets.

"The BRDC, Interpublic and Formula One Management (Ecclestone's company) have been responsible for the creation and financing of the master plan to re-develop Silverstone," said Stewart.

"The BRDC have committed their monies to this and are currently waiting for IPG and FOM to confirm in writing their agreement."




SEE ALSO
New row over Silverstone
23 Jul 03  |  Formula One
Nurburgring extends deal
03 Feb 04  |  Formula One
Stewart rejects ultimatum
22 Jul 03  |  Formula One
Protester mars British GP
20 Jul 03  |  Formula One
Silverstone row made simple
21 Jul 03  |  Formula One


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