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Hill calls on FIA to aid Silverstone

NEWS STORY
06/03/2008

Hot on the heels of the release of a brace of sketches of Silverstone's futuristic new pit and paddock complex, BRDC President Damon Hill is calling on the sport's governing body, the FIA, to aid the Northamptonshire track as it looks to the future.

In addition to demanding a major upgrade to the circuit, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has warned that the promoters that the British Grand Prix can no longer be treated as a special case, and that the organizers must expect to pay the same rates to host the race as their (wealthier, often government subsidised) counterparts in the East.

Warning that the BRDC does not have bottomless pockets, and that the main priority is to upgrade facilities at the former airfield, Hill is calling on the FIA to give Silverstone its support as it argues its case with Ecclestone, claiming that the Northamptonshire track - scene of the first ever Formula One World Championship Grand Prix in 1950 - should be seen as a special case.

"The sport has grown across the world to a host of new venues and the commercial benefits accrue to F1," said Hill in an interview with the Daily Express. "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 F1 and if the FIA could make that case to the FOM to improve the conditions of the contract, then that would be helpful."

Previously, Ecclestone has referred to Silverstone as an "embarrassment", a "broken down old house", which has no place on the same (F1) calendar as the new purpose built tracks in China, Turkey, Bahrain and those planned in Abu Dhabi and South Korea.

Referring to the designs released earlier this week, 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."

Although (FIA President) Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone have had their differences of opinion in the past, both have been constant critics of the Silverstone track and its owners. Furthermore, neither man is famous for being sentimental or a believer in tradition, far from it.

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