Hill calls on FIA to help save Silverstone

Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) has called on the FIA to help Silverstone secure it s future in Formula 1 racing.

The BRDC are currently in talks with Bernie Ecclestone over the future of the historic race with particular attention being paid to £12 million fee that Silverstone currently pays. After 2009, Silverstone will have to pay around £20 million if they wish to remain on the F1 calendar. However Hill believes that classic tracks such as Silverstone should be given a heritage discount because of their traditional place in F1. Silverstone is currently the only F1 race track which receives no government funding putting it at a massive disadvantage at a time when Far East governments are digging deep to bring the sport to their countries.

Bernie Ecclestone has long criticised the British track s facilities and plans have been put in place to rectify the problems this year. Speaking to British newspaper the Daily Express Hill said, “I understand that Bernie likes what we have shown and given the planning permission, we will start building after this year s Grand Prix to have it ready for the 2009 race.

“The sport has grown across the world to a host of new venues and the commercial benefits accrue to F1. But it needs the traditional venues to provide a history and prestige which help.

“Each country has its own case to make but Britain is a very valuable market place for 1 and if the FIA could make that case to the FOM to improve conditions of the contract, then that would be helpful.”

Meanwhile, the government s role in British motor sport will be debated in the House of Lords this week with Lord Aston of Hever wanting to know how ministers plan to ensure the UK s motor sport industry, which is worth around $1 billion a year, retain it s place at the top of the industry. With increasing pressure on Silverstone, the British government has come under scrutiny for not providing any form of financial aid to the track.