Stewart: Silverstone deadline is 'unrealistic'

BRDC president Jackie Stewart has hit back at the latest attack on British Grand Prix venue Silverstone from Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, by saying that four weeks is an 'unrealistic' deadline in which to finance a £40 million upgrade to the Northamptonshire circuit

Stewart: Silverstone deadline is 'unrealistic'

The former F1 world champion and team owner believes that it is not possible for the BRDC alone to fund such a venture demanded by Ecclestone if Silverstone hopes to keep a place on the grand prix calendar in the future, but reiterated the club's willingness to develop the circuit into a world class facility.

"The BRDC, a private club, are being asked to raise this money," Stewart told BBC Radio 5 Live. "It is not possible, but we don't mind being among the players. Those players could include the British government.

"I've met Patricia Hewitt MP [ the government's trade and industry secretary] and around 75 MPs. I'm meeting as many people as I can to make sure this is an all-party issue and to make sure they know Britain cannot afford to lose this industry."

Stewart is now planning to meet the sports minister Richard Caborn on Thursday, but feels that this year's British Grand Prix was a success despite Ecclestone's comments: "The crowd were comfortable. They used new roads that cost £17.1m. That was paid for by the BRDC, not the government."

Ecclestone has been consistent in his complaints of Silverstone and issued his latest threat on Sunday after one of the most exciting grands prix in recent memory had been marred by a track invader who ran on to the Hangar Straight on lap 12, causing a Safety Car period.

"If by the middle of August, Silverstone can commit to building its originally planned pit complex [on the Hangar Straight] and the government can come up with some guarantees to help the promoters, then we will give firm undertakings to the government that this race will be guaranteed at least until 2015," he said.

"We keep raising the bar as far as circuit standards are concerned and the BRDC wants to keep it low. They have £13m of the originally agreed £40m fund for improvements remaining to finish off their five-year plan. But all they managed to do was to spend £3m on their clubhouse and build some car parks. They seem to think that it is quite unique to have roads and car parks. They have not husbanded their resources too well."

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