Livingstone backs Silverstone

London mayor Ken Livingstone has thrown his support behind Silverstone retaining the British Grand Prix - even though he admits Britain's capital is still interested in hosting a Formula 1 race in the near future

Livingstone backs Silverstone

With the British Grand Prix's fate due to be decided later this week, as Silverstone's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club has until Thursday to come up with a race promoter if the event is to be put on the 2005 schedule, speculation is mounting that the race may be dropped.

Those fears have increased with FIA president Max Mosley claiming in China last weekend that next year's schedule will feature a maximum of 17 races - meaning two events from the current 19 pencilled in by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will not make the cut.

And, with Ecclestone still not having given his approval to a proposal put forward by the BRDC for it to become promoter, and the BRDC vowing it cannot increase its financial offer because it risks bankrupting the club, the situation appears to be stuck in a stalemate.

But Livingstone has moved to quell speculation that London could be poised to step into the breach if Silverstone loses the race, by insisting that the British Grand Prix should stay at its current venue. He claims he would only be interested in a race for London if it became a second event for the country - perhaps as the host of the European Grand Prix.

"I'm still backing a grand prix for London 100 percent and I would welcome any approach from Formula 1 such as hosting a European Grand Prix," he told Tuesday's Evening Standard. "However, I believe Silverstone makes an important contribution to the continuing success of the UK motorsport industry, which is worth £5billion a year to the UK economy. I am keen for the British Grand Prix to remain there."

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