The British government has intimated that there will be no funding to secure the British Grand Prix, despite renewed threats from Bernie Ecclestone that the race could be axed.

Speaking in response to Ecclestone's calls for some of the money earmarked for the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games to be 'lent' to Silverstone in order to guarantee work needed to bring the circuit 'up to scratch', a spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told Britsport Weekly that there were conditions preventing such an arrangement.

"The government has no ownership of Silverstone so to make financial contributions would be illegal state aid," the representative explained.

The statement leaves Silverstone to press ahead with its own blueprint for the future, although things are moving slowly as it attempts to raise the finance to proceed with its 'Master Plan'. The scheme, which aims to release land adjoining the circuit for development, including a science park, manufacturer test centre and hotel and conference centre, as well as a possible residential allocation, needs to provide the funds to revamp the pits, paddock and media facilities in time for the British GP contract to be renewed for 2010.

However, despite regular contact between the British racing Drivers' Club and members of the government, the only support would appear to be to help push through the redevelopment plans, rather than funding them.

"We've been talking to the government over a number of years," BRDC chairman Robert Brooks told the same report, "What I will say is that the government has been very supportive in encouraging the BRDC and the two local authorities to facilitate the changes needed. There is enormous enthusiasm from Richard Caborn to retain the British Grand Prix.

"We have business and land assets and that is the extent of the asset base. It's not just about the British Grand Prix, but taking Silverstone forward and like any business we need capital investment to help us thrive."

 

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