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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Hill named as new BRDC president
Damon Hill watches his shot during a Pro-Am golf event in 2005
Hill was supported by outgoing president Sir Jackie Stewart
Former world champion Damon Hill has been elected as the new president of the British Racing Drivers' Club at their annual general meeting.

Hill was the preferred candidate of the board of the BRDC, which owns Silverstone, home of the British GP.

Outgoing president Sir Jackie Stewart, who had six years at the helm, recommended Hill as his successor.

Earlier, the BRDC board survived a vote of no confidence following divisions over plans to lease out Silverstone.

Hill said: "To be elected to such a prestigious club is an honour. It's a big job.

I do not want Silverstone to lose the British Grand Prix
Damon Hill
"There is a ceremonial role to be played by the president to some degree but I would like very much to have my say on which direction the club is going.

"I think that is also part of the role - to lead the club in a new direction."

The 45-year-old said he would ask members whether they even want to retain the British Grand Prix in the long term in the face of escalating costs. "I think the top priority is to represent the BRDC. It depends on the BRDC, they have a decision to make.

"How much risk do they want to take in order to secure the British Grand Prix in the long term?

"I personally do not want Silverstone to lose the British Grand Prix."

Stewart had put forward plans to lease Silverstone to property developers St Modwen for 150 years in order to fund a rebuilding programme that would enable the circuit to comply with modern F1 standards.

We are still waiting for the delivery of the Sports Minister's famous promise that the government was going 'to put its money where its mouth is' for the development of Silverstone
Jackie Stewart
The plans had met with opposition but the movement behind the vote of no confidence ran out of steam in recent days and an attempt was made by instigator Harry Stiller to cancel it last week.

Friday morning's extraordinary general meeting was called as a result of that opposition.

Stewart said a lot more work needed to be done to safeguard the future of Silverstone and the GP.

"While the Grand Prix is contractually retained through to 2009, the pre-eminence of the British motorsport industry will remain under threat until we have a public/private sector partnership for the long-term future of Silverstone and the defence of the Grand Prix," Stewart said after the vote.

"We have tried to bring on board commercial partners for long-term re-development of Silverstone's infrastructure.

"If the club does not proceed with St Modwen there will still have to be some commercial and financial alternative.

"As a club we are not of sufficient size, or financial strength, to develop Silverstone and maintain the British Grand Prix on our own."

Stewart also criticised the British government for failing to give Silverstone financial aid.

"It is with sadness and regret that we (the board) and I have failed to obtain significant government support for Silverstone as the centre for excellence for British motorsport and the long-term home of the British Grand Prix," Stewart said.

"But I do not think this possibility should yet be ruled out.

"We continue to struggle as a small club without the financial support that almost every other country in the world gives to their Grands Prix on the Formula One circuit.

"While government is pouring hundreds of millions of pounds into sports across the UK through lottery funding and other sources in anticipation for the Olympics in 2012, they refuse to put significant amounts into motorsport.

"We are still waiting for the delivery of the Sports Minister's famous promise in July 2003 that the government was going 'to put its money where its mouth is' for the development of Silverstone."



SEE ALSO
BRDC abandons Silverstone scheme
30 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Delay for Silverstone renovation
22 Feb 06 |  Formula One
New lease of life for Silverstone
06 Feb 06 |  Formula One
BRDC split on Silverstone future
31 Jan 06 |  Formula One
Stewart to quit as BRDC president
23 Jan 06 |  Motorsport
Silverstone eyes 600m facelift
04 Oct 05 |  Formula One
Silverstone seals British GP deal
09 Dec 04 |  Formula One


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