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Silverstone loss would be 'devastating'
Alastair Himmer | October 07, 2004 18:41 IST
The potential loss of the British Grand Prix would be a "devastating" blow to Formula One, BAR driver Jenson Button said on Thursday.
The race at Silverstone is facing the axe from next year's calendar because the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has failed to meet Formula One's asking price for promotional rights.
"From a driver's point of view, it would be extremely disappointing," Button told reporters in the build-up to Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
"Your home Grand Prix is very special. I've loved Formula One for many years and since I was a youngster the only race I used to watch was the British Grand Prix."
If Silverstone does not make the 2005 calendar it will be the first time since the circuit held the first Formula One Grand Prix in 1950 that the championship did not have a British race.
"It would be devastating if we didn't have a British Grand Prix," said Button. "For me Silverstone is a great circuit and if it's not on the calendar it would be very sad."
Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said last week that Silverstone could be saved if a late deal was done and teams agreed to the race being run as an extra 18th round.
The arrival of state-of-the-art circuits such as those in China and Bahrain could threaten the survival of several older tracks in Europe.
"I'm sure there are a lot of reasons behind it but that's not for me to comment on," said Button. "If Silverstone is not held we will be losing a great race."
World champion Michael Schumacher agreed that the British Grand Prix held a special place on the calendar.
"It would be a shame certainly," said the German. "The circuit is a great challenge. (Formula One) has a lot of support in England and it has a lot of tradition.
"From that point of view it would be a shame."
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