Silverstone questions 'illegal' Welsh circuit aid

Silverstone questions 'illegal' Welsh circuit aid

24 March 2014 – Silverstone circuit chiefs have written to Prime Minister David Cameron requesting confirmation that the UK government is not considering financial support for the new Ebbw Vale Circuit of Wales project.

Alongside the race track itself, which is bidding to play host to all major motor racing categories except Formula 1, there are plans for multiple grandstands, hotels, restaurants, a technology park and a solar park.

Developers behind the planned venue are said to be asking the Welsh and UK governments for up to £50m in financial support, but Silverstone is claiming that this would fall under the headline of "illegal" state aid.

In the absence of similar assistance, Silverstone had to sell off assets to safeguard future events.

"An injection of funds by the Welsh and/or UK governments to the Circuit of Wales project could also amount to illegal State aid, as a transfer of State resources would give Circuit of Wales an economic and selective advantage over other circuits (and developments)," read a statement issued by Silverstone bosses.

"There are currently 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."

Heads of the Valleys Development Company is hoping to generate 6,000 jobs in Ebbw Vale, but Silverstone has made clear that while it is "sympathetic to the economic situation" in the area, most tracks are "not particularly profitable" and "often loss making", with it "unrealistic to suggest Circuit of Wales will be the exception."

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