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Silverstone calls on PM to stop Circuit of Wales funding

ESPN Staff
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Silverstone believes the 'illegal' funding would have a detrimental effect on existing British circuits © Sutton Images

Silverstone has called on David Cameron to halt a proposed £30 million in "illegal" state funding to help build a new circuit in Wales, according to a report in the Times.

Silverstone, which is contracted to host the British Grand Prix until 2026, fears the proposed Circuit of Wales will enjoy a massive financial advantage over themselves and fellow British circuits, as it emerged the developers behind the project are seeking financial backing from the Welsh Assembly. The company steering the project, Heads of the Valley, claim the £280 million circuit could generate 6,000 jobs and attract 750,000 visitors annually.

But Silverstone's managing director Richard Phillips has written to the Prime Minister as he is convinced the proposed funding would not present a level playing field.

"An injection of funds by the Welsh and/or UK Governments to the Circuit of Wales project would amount to a transfer of state resources, which gives Circuit of Wales an economic and selective advantage over other circuits," his letter said. "As such, it could amount to illegal state aid. There are a number of well established, privately funded circuits in the UK, including Wales, that feel that the British motor sport industry would be threatened by the addition of a government-funded circuit.

"Silverstone has no objection to competition between UK circuits, but it has to be a level playing field. Silverstone reiterates that it is sympathetic to the economic situation in Ebbw Vale, but motor sport at circuit level is not particularly profitable and is often loss making. Many UK circuits are under-utilised and struggle for revenue. It is unrealistic to suggest Circuit of Wales will be the exception."

A key part of the development involves securing the right to host a MotoGP race in 2015, though this deal is yet to be signed.