|1 October 2004
“We understand that the British Grand Prix will not be appearing on the provisional calendar for 2005 which Mr Ecclestone will present to the FIA for ratification on 13 October 2004, and Mr Ecclestone will not accept the BRDC offer to promote the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for the next three years which is a disaster for the sport and industry in the UK”, said the British Racing Drivers’ Club.
“The BRDC, a non profit Club with limited finances, have made the best offer we can to maintain the Grand Prix in the United Kingdom at Silverstone.
“The BRDC’s offer to promote the race is at a price which at best will break even and in a poor year will lose the Club a considerable amount of money. The Club has examined its finances carefully including plans for drastic reductions in expenditure, including reduced financial support for young driver initiatives, but we cannot financially save the British Grand Prix on our own. The international finances of Formula 1 are now such that almost every country around the world that hosts a Grand Prix is given considerable financial support by its government.
“We regret that H.M. Government, unlike governments in almost every other country that hosts a Grand Prix, has not been able to put together a package to help the retention of the Grand Prix in this country. The Government is committed to retaining the sport and the industry and yet the loss of the race will damage the sport and the industry.
“We have been campaigning as a Club in recent years for the Government to support a major capital investment programme for a Centre of Motorsport Excellence at Silverstone. We have discussed various financial options with HMG — none of which have been accepted. Where is the delivery of Sport Minister Richard Caborn’s promise in July 2003 for the Government “to put its money where its mouth is”?
“It is damaging to this country that Mr Ecclestone has acted to cancel next years’ Grand Prix when he has already been paid for next years’ race through the contractual exit of InterPublic and when the BRDC made a generous offer to promote the race which would produce no profit for the Club.
“It is sad when new countries like Bahrain and China are celebrating their new Grand Prix and their importance to their country’s interests that here in the UK where we hosted the first Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950 we have been taken off the international calendar. It will inflict serious damage to the pre-eminence of the sport and industry in the United Kingdom which may be irrecoverable.
“Foreigners looking at this debacle from afar will be staring in amazement and wondering why this has been allowed to happen.
“Even at this late stage we would ask Mr Ecclestone and the British Government to think again and see if we can retain the Grand Prix for the sake of the industry, sport and the country.”