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JANUARY 10, 2001

Silverstone must have government help, says Stewart

TRIPLE WORLD CHAMPION Jackie Stewart has said his dream of turning Silverstone into the best motorsport venue in the world will not happen unless the British Government help with the £110 million (pounds) funding for the project.

Stewart, the president of Silverstone's owners the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), believes Silverstone in Northamptonshire can become the world's leading circuit.

But the former Stewart Racing owner has said that the transformation of the Northamptonshire circuit, which will host the British Grand Prix until 2016, will not happen unless the British Government back his proposals.

"I can't tell you how enthusiastic I am about turning the circuit into the best in the world," Stewart said. "Now we need help from the government.

"All the other governments in the world, whether it be Malaysia for what I believe is the best race circuit in Sepang, Australia, France, Germany or Spain, they are all funded or helped by government money and Silverstone should be no different.

"I don't want them to supply all of the money. All we want is for them to help us out by matching what we can raise. We need the help because it will take at least £110 million (pounds) to make Silverstone the best venue in the world."

Silverstone was set to lose the British Grand Prix to the Brands Hatch circuit in Kent, but was given a reprieve when Octagon, the company who hold the rights to host the event, struck a deal to keep the event at its traditional home.

Stewart plans big things for Silverstone - he wants to introduce schools to bring youngsters closer to the sport - and is confident he can achieve the goals, but only with funding from the British Government.

"We're very enthusiastic about Silverstone," he said. "Octagon are a very good company and we look forward to working with them.

"I've got very big ambitions for Silverstone and for the British Racing Drivers Club and I want the British Government to participate in building it into the best facility in the world. It can certainly be that.

"We have the British motorsport industry which is the third-largest exporting industry in the United Kingdom and our motorsport events should match that.

"Silverstone is a good chance to educate people in this country because we have the chance to run schools for mechanics and engineers and get young people involved. They are the future."