Government to Back British Motorsport

The British Government have announced plans to plough £16 million into the country's £4.6 billion motorsport industry - and to help the British Grand Prix stay on the calendar.

Government to Back British Motorsport

The British Government have announced plans to plough £16 million into the country's £4.6 billion motorsport industry - and to help the British Grand Prix stay on the calendar.

The requirement to "ensure the UK makes efforts to host world class Motorsport events" is high on the list of proposals revealed by the Government's Motorsport Competitiveness panel.

Board member David Richards, who runs the BAR-Honda Formula One team, said: "Until now the success of the British Motorsport industry has relied upon the efforts of relatively few entrepreneurs and enthusiasts.

"I am therefore delighted that the Government has recognised its importance and is putting in place a range of excellent initiatives which will ensure the industry continues to flourish."

Britain is a world leader in the motorsport industry, with six of Formula One's ten teams based in the country's 'motorsport corridor' around the Silverstone race circuit.

But Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt warned: "In a fiercely competitive market we cannot afford to be complacent. It is crucial that this industry has the backing to innovate and move forward with confidence."

The panel was set up by the DTI in October 2002 and they have now implemented a plan to create a 'Motorsport Development Board' to co-ordinate the plans, which also include a national programme of training and development initiatives.

In a statement, Hewitt confirmed that a Motorsport Academy - for which Sir Jackie Stewart has campaigned tirelessly for several years - will be created to improve the skills of the industry.

Max Mosley, the president of motorsport's governing body, the FIA, was impressed by the news and congratulated Hewitt on finally achieving Government support for the industry.

"This endorsement of motor sport by the UK government is a welcome example to other countries," said Mosley. "I feel sure that the industry will now produce some innovative proposals."

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