Government to Assist Growth of British Motorsport

The British government on Friday revealed plans to fight for the future of the country's motorsport industry by hinting that state funding could be introduced to assist its growth.

Government to Assist Growth of British Motorsport

The British government on Friday revealed plans to fight for the future of the country's motorsport industry by hinting that state funding could be introduced to assist its growth.

As the world's eyes trained on Silverstone for this weekend's British Grand Prix, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Patricia Hewitt announced she will meet with members of the sport and the multi-billion pound industry for the first time next month to assess the best way of moving forward.

"Motorsport is a great example of where technology, innovation and manufacturing comes together as a great British success," said Ms Hewitt. "But there is more we can do to spread the benefits and opportunities generated by the UK motorsport cluster across manufacturing and service industries.

"The UK leads the world in this sector, but we cannot be complacent. Tens of thousands of people have jobs associated with the sector and we need to make sure that we can meet the growing competition from other countries.

"I want to ensure Government does what it can to assist. A cross section of key industrialists in the UK will participate to ensure that the needs of industry are being addressed and help inform the research for the study."

An independent study, due to be completed in October, will assess the requirements of the industry and a new motorsport panel is expected to be introduced to develop a long-term strategy to fend off threats to the British industry and to assess how, when and where the funding will be introduced.

DTI sources, however, suggested that the focus concentrates more on the industry than helping British Grand Prix organisers Octagon with funding for their dramatic developments to move Silverstone into the 21st century, and hinted that the sum would be worth millions of pounds.

Formula One is an important part of the industry, comprising some 15 percent of the business sector, but the government is keen to ensure the funding, which will be matched by a cash injection from the industry itself, is positioned in the best place to develop for the future.

Former Formula One driver Jackie Stewart is keen to introduce a centre of excellence at Silverstone, providing leading-edge research and development facilities as a showcase for the industry. The advanced facility would also include a drivers' academy, and a learning and technology centre to allow more education of world-class drivers and engineers for the future.

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