The British government emphasized that it is not willing to offer any direct financial support to ensure the future of the British Grand Prix during a House of Lords debate yesterday afternoon.
Responding to a debate triggered by a question from Lord Astor, the chairman of the Motorsport Industry Association, regarding the safeguarding of the British Grand Prix, Labour deputy chief whip Lord Davies said that the government would do what it could to help the motorport industry. However, he insisted that this would not include any financial hand-outs.
"We certainly stand by to help – not directly financially," said Lord Davies. "Motorsport is an independent operation in this country, as most sports are.
"The government can give degrees of support and help, as with Silverstone in the past. However, no one in this debate or in the industry argues for direct state support.
"We do not want a state-sponsored motor industry, but the government can give necessary assistance and support in judicious ways, particularly by emphasizing how important the industry is to the development of our society and economy."
Lord Davies said that the government accepts that it has a role in helping the race at Donington Park to attract the necessary investment to hold the British Grand Prix next year.
"The government will continue to give the support that we have done in the past," he said. "We see our role as facilitating and encouraging the Motor Sports Association and the owners of Donington to be proactive about attracting money from various funding arrangements to guarantee the finances they need.
"The Government also have a part to play with skills, education and infrastructure."
He also joined British Racing Drivers' Club President Damon Hill in saying that Silverstone must be ready to take over the event if Donington Park isn't ready.
"We are aware that there are some reservations about Donington," Lord Davies told the House of Lords. "The track looks fine, but there are some reservations about facilities.
"There is still the question of raising capital, although our intelligence is that we can be optimistic that the investment in Donington will make it a huge success.
"However, should anything go wrong on that front, it is important that Silverstone is available to resume its position, because the essential thing is that we must not lose a British Grand Prix."Related stories:Legal bid prompts new British GP doubtsEcclestone: British government inaction “a disgrace”Jackie Stewart: Losing British GP would be irresponsibleDamon Hill: F1 could still return to Silverstone