Government vows to help Silverstone
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, January 11th 2007, 11:15 GMT|
The British government has pledged its full support in the redevelopment of Silverstone in a bid to help secure the long-term future of the British Grand Prix.
Minister for Sport Richard Caborn has said that Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, will be given all that they need to overhaul the circuit and its infrastructure with a view to making it a centre of excellence for motor sport.
Speaking on stage at the opening day of the Autosport International Show, Caborn said: "We are now looking for the development of Silverstone probably in a way that we have never seen before.
"We really do want to see that become the international centre of excellence for performance car production so we can continue to maintain the vast number of F1 teams in this country and also the industry itself and the supply chain.
"We don't want to see any erosion of that and as the government, working with the industry and working with the sport, I believe we can actually develop Silverstone under the guidance of Damon Hill and his colleagues at the BRDC into one of the finest centres in the world.
"That will keep us at our pre-eminent position for many years to come. We have the opportunity to stay as the best in the world."
Caborn said that the issue was not just about finance, but also in clearing potential red tape and procedural matters that should help ease Silverstone's future.
"There is some funding there, but it is not just about money," he explained. "It is about how you get the planning in there. How do you get the development there? how do you get universities there?
"We are working with Silverstone in the development of the plans and we helped very much with the road network, and we will be looking at what is necessary to develop in both the terms of the planning and development, but also how we can encourage higher education to be a major partner in that.
"There are a number of areas where a strong partnership between industry, the sport and government are necessary and we are determined to do that."
When asked whether keeping the British Grand Prix at Silverstone was important, Caborn said: "It is very important but it is part of our synergy.
"We have got to see the Grand Prix as part of the development of Silverstone, not just singularly on its own."