Government rules out GP funding

Sports minister Richard Caborn says the British government will not pay Silverstone any more money to save the British Grand Prix. F1's supremo Bernie Ecclestone has taken the event off Formula 1's 2005 provisional calendar after the BRDC failed to match his asking price for hosting the event

Government rules out GP funding

On Thursday, the BRDC's chief executive Alex Hooton told autosport.com that it hoped Ecclestone's decision to drop the race would be a wake-up call to the government. But on Friday Caborn ruled out the government making up the shortfall.

"Is it right that a cash-rich, asset-rich sport should take money out of (the government's) sport budget?" he told Radio Five Live.

A statement from The Department of Culture, Media and Sport reiterated Caborn's comments: "The government has already made significant financial contribution to motorsport and to Silverstone.

"In 2002, we invested over £16m to support the industry and £8m to improve road access around the track. Clearly the government supports and wants to see a British Grand Prix at Silverstone but the current commercial negotiations about the promotion of the GP are a matter between the British Racing Drivers Club and Formula One."

But the Motor Sports Association chairman John Grant urged the government to help given the repercussions the loss of the race would have on Britain's motorsport industry as a whole.

"It is widely acknowledged that the British Grand Prix makes a significant direct contribution to the UK economy each year and that it is an important flagship for the hugely successful British motor sports industry," he said.

"We seem to have arrived in the situation where a funding shortfall of some £2-3million a year is standing in the way of retaining an iconic event which is vital for our sport.

"It directly contributes some £40m a year to the local economy and the government's tax revenues, and is needed to sustain the prestige of an industry that is responsible for international trade worth in excess of £3bn annually."

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