Despite admitting that the circuit and its infrastructure needed updating, Ron Dennis has vowed that Silverstone would never be sold to a developer while he had a say in its future.

Speaking at the Friday press conference at the British Grand Prix, the McLaren team boss - who is also a senior member of the British Racing Drivers' Club - promised that selling off the venue would be a last resort to securing its place on the grand prix calendar.

"I am one of the guardians of the BRDC and this circuit," he insisted, "There has to be unanimous agreement for Silverstone to be sold to a developer, or into a structure that will see the membership sharing the proceeds. That will never happen if I'm breathing, so those people who are destabilising the club with those suggestions are really wasting their time because, ultimately, the guardians have the power to stop it."

Dennis would not deny that Silverstone needed updating if it was to match the very latest circuits being built to order in various countries around the world, but insisted that the British venue was also a lot better than some others that retain a place on the schedule, apparently without criticism from Bernie Ecclestone.

"The circuit is, obviously, given plenty of criticism and sometimes it's deserved, but it is a true grand prix circuit, a circuit that's challenging for the drivers," Dennis said, aware too that FIA president Max Mosley had also warned Silverstone about its future in the past week.

"Yes, the facilities could be better, but they're significantly better than a lot of other grand prix circuits in the world. So it does get a little bit of a hard time, but we are pretty much the centre of excellence for Formula One in England. A lot of grand prix teams are here [in the UK], and a lot of successful grand prix teams are here. Therefore I think we should have the best grand prix circuit in the world. And, for that to be possible, there has to be investment."

Asked if he felt that the government should stump up all or part of the finance required to redevelop the Silverstone site, Dennis reckoned that that would be a good start.

"If they can invest in the Olympic Games, if they can invest in other areas that they feel are required to make England the pinnacle of any sport, then why not one where we traditionally had that position?" he said, "It doesn't mean to say a complete free hand-out, but there could be efforts made on planning, there could be support on infrastructure and there certainly could be a pound-for-pound match on any money that the club raises.

"There are people who are members of this club who have that capability and I strongly believe that Silverstone and the British Grand Prix has a future - but everybody's got to come to the party."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...