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Stewart: Britain must not lose its race

NEWS STORY
17/02/2009

Should the worst come to the worst and Donington - for whatever reason - is not in a position to host the 2010 British Grand Prix, three-time World Champion Jackie Stewart has said that Silverstone should be allowed to host the race.

In many ways the decision to move the race to Donington came as a bolt from the blue when the deal was announced last year. After years of wrangling, much of it unpleasant, and Silverstone's owners - the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) - dithering over its masterplan to revamp the circuit, Ecclestone made a shock deal with Donington's new owners.

However, following the initial jubilation that the British Grand Prix appeared to have been saved and F1 would be returning to one of motor sport's truly legendary tracks, there has been widespread speculation as to whether Donington is in a position to host the race, with scepticism as to whether the circuit's owners can raise the necessary funding.

With this in mind, former BRDC President, Stewart, who is now an ambassador for RBS, has urged Ecclestone to consider giving the race back to Silverstone should Donington be unable to host next year's event.

"It would be very bad form if it wasn't held," the Scot told BBC Northampton, when asked about the possibility of the British GP being dropped from the calendar should Donington fail to meet its financial raise the required funding. "If Donington couldn't - and I hope they can - but if they couldn't then Silverstone, I hope, would be asked to run the British Grand Prix."

During his time as BRDC President, Stewart enjoyed a prolonged spat with both Ecclestone and (FIA President) Max Mosley over the future of the Grand Prix, at one time descending to legal action, though this was subsequently dropped.

With Ecclestone claiming that numerous countries are eager to take Britain's place on the calendar should the Donington race fail, Stewart called on the Englishman's sense of patriotism.

"I think Bernie is a Brit and a proud Brit," said the Scot, "and I don't think he really wants to see no British Grand Prix. I think that would be a very negative thing on him and the people around him.

"I hold nothing against Donington trying to do it but," he added, "I would love to be assured that there will be a British Grand Prix. We have had it since 1950. It's the oldest Grand Prix in the world and it would be terrible to lose it."

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