Button: Silverstone Loss would be Devestating

The potential loss of the British Grand Prix would be a "devastating" blow to Formula One, BAR driver Jenson Button said today at Suzuka, ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Button: Silverstone Loss would be Devestating

The potential loss of the British Grand Prix would be a "devastating" blow to Formula One, BAR driver Jenson Button said today at Suzuka, ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.

The race at Silverstone is facing the axe from next year's calendar because the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has failed to meet Formula One's asking price for promotional rights.

"From a driver's point of view, it would be extremely disappointing," Button told reporters. "Your home Grand Prix is very special. I've loved Formula One for many years and since I was a youngster the only race I used to watch was the British Grand Prix."

If Silverstone does not make the 2005 calendar it would be the first time since the circuit held the first World Championship event in 1950 that Formula One did not have a British race.

"It would be devastating if we didn't have a British Grand Prix," said Button. "For me Silverstone is a great circuit and if it's not on the calendar it would be very sad."

Formula One's commercial rights owner Bernie Ecclestone said last week that Silverstone could be saved if a late deal was done and teams agreed to the race being run as an extra 18th round.

The arrival of state-of-the-art circuits such as those in China and Bahrain could threaten the survival of several older tracks in Europe.

"I'm sure there are a lot of reasons behind it but that's not for me to comment on," said Button. "It Silverstone is not held we will be losing a great race."

The Briton will be aiming for his first Grand Prix victory in Japan after finishing runner-up for the fourth time this year at last month's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.

However, Button acknowledged that the season's penultimate race could be a lottery if, as expected, heavy rain hits Suzuka.

"You get a little bit more nervous when you can't see even five metres in front of you," he said. "It's pretty scary but I think we'll be quick even if it's wet."

Button, locked in a contract dispute between BAR and Williams next season, has for once taken a back seat to his Japanese teammate Takuma Sato in the race build-up.

"It's been especially busy for Taku," Button said. "It will be interesting to see how he performs under pressure.

"It's going to be tough for him but we'll see what he's made of."

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