LONDON (Reuters) - British Formula One Grand Prix hosts Silverstone have asked Prime Minister David Cameron to confirm that a proposed new circuit in South Wales will not receive government financial support.
Silverstone Circuits Limited, whose own track risks losing the British MotoGP round to the Welsh newcomer, said in a statement on Monday that they had sought clarification over how the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale would be funded.
The BBC reported last week that developers behind the proposed 280 million pound ($461.85 million) venture wanted government in Wales and Britain to commit up to 50 million pounds towards it.
The Heads of the Valleys Development Company has said it hopes to create 6,000 jobs. Others have criticized the scheme as a ‘white elephant’ that would not live up to its ambitious plans to regenerate a deprived region.
Silverstone said their own application for help, when they had sought support to secure the future of the British F1 race, was denied “on the basis that this would be classed as illegal state aid”.
“In the absence of such aid, Silverstone had to sell off assets to ensure the...British Grand Prix was retained in the UK,” it said.
The statement said it had no objection to competition but the addition of a government-funded circuit would threaten the British motorsport industry.
“It is Silverstone’s view that the Circuit of Wales project is unviable,” it added.
“Motor sport at circuit level is not particularly profitable and is often loss-making. Many UK circuits are under-utilized and struggle for revenue. It is unrealistic to suggest Circuit of Wales will be the exception.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer