Derek Warwick wants more government and lottery funding for British motorsport
BRDC President calls for backing for Silverstone and young drivers
By William Esler. Last Updated: 18/01/13 1:53pm
British Racing Drivers' Club President Derek Warwick has called on the government and the National Lottery to give British motorsport some of the support and funding it provides to Team GB.
Over £276m will be pumped into Olympic sports in the run up to the Olympic Games at Rio in 2016 with cycling and rowing both receiving over £30m each.
That is a figure Warwick finds galling as Silverstone fights to remain on the Formula 1 calendar and young British drivers struggle to find funding to further their careers.
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"With Bernie Ecclestone you can never be sure about anything, but we do have a 17-year contract so are pretty secure for another 14 years," the BRDC figurehead exclusively told Sky Sports F1 Online.
"But I have to say our business is pretty marginal, we don't make a lot of money - in fact we will lose money in 2012 - so it galls me a bit when I see the amount of lottery and government funding there is in our Great British athletes.
"Rowers get £27,000 each but our young drivers and Silverstone get no money at all from the lottery or the government and it is about time the government and the lottery fund stop viewing motor racing [people] as all multi-millionaires.
"Yes, there are a lot of people in F1 that are very wealthy, but our young drivers need help - they need help from the government and they need help from the lottery, as does Silverstone. We are struggling, we are really struggling and we could do with some help."
Warwick helped launch the new British F4 Championship at the start of January, a series he hopes will remain affordable for up-and-coming drivers and help more British talent reach the pinnacle of motorsport.
The new championship is the brainchild of MSV boss Jonathan Palmer and with the car costing just £29,000 to buy, Warwick is sure a season in a 'slicks and wings' car will cost less than some karting series.
"I think it is going to have a massive impact," Warwick said.
"I think we have all got carried away over the years with the affluent lifestyle, the amount of money that everyone was earning over the last ten years - we were in a society where whatever you were doing you were making money.
Derek Warwick helped launch British F4
"That has now changed over the last three or four years - we know we are in a recession - and I think the stepping stone to Formula 1 is very complicated. And I think it needs a grassroots Formula in which 'lads and dads' can still run and run competitively and they can win in this championship off the back of a transit van and that is something I felt was important.
"The reason the BRDC have put their name to it is because Jonathan Palmer does not do things by half measures. He has invested a lot of money, over £1m in this car, it has got all the modern tricks -it has got paddle shift, it has got wings, it conforms with all FIA crash tests and it is affordable.
"It is no more expensive to run this F4 car than it is to run in the European Kart Championship, so it is affordable now for a kart guy not to stay in karts too long and to move up to grassroots racing and I think that's really, really important."