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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Save our GP, say Button and Hamilton

McLaren Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton(L) and Brawn GP's British driver Jenson Button, seen here addressing the press in Silverstone, issued an emotional rallying cry to preserve the British Grand Prix.

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on Thursday issued an emotional rallying cry to preserve the British Grand Prix.

As Silverstone prepared for possibly its final weekend as the host circuit for the British race, the two Britons united to call for the traditional race to remain on the calendar.

The British Grand Prix is scheduled to move to the troubled venue of Donington Park next year after that track's new management won a 17-year deal to host the event.

But money and development problems have left the project in limbo and F1 commercial supreme Bernie Ecclstone has stressed that there is no way he would return to Silverstone after this weekend.

Defending world champion Hamilton, of McLaren Mercedes, said: "We just want to show our support and show the importance of the British Grand Prix.

"I think perhaps people look at the British Grand Prix and perhaps don't realise what it would be like without it - I think we should all step back and realise what motorsport would be like without it and understand that and then take action.

"We just all need to pull together and support it. I think we need support from the (British) government. We need support from other backers wherever we can get it.

"As long as we have a British Grand Prix then Formula One will always remain a great sport."

Championship leader Button of Brawn GP was equally keen to see his home race retained.

He said: "We both agree that we would love a British Grand Prix and we obviously want it to be at a good venue, but having a British GP is the point that we're trying to push.

"It's not us two sat here I think it's the whole of Formula One. There are a lot of British people that work in Formula One on the racing side of things and on the journalism side of things.

"So to not have a British race would be a real shocker for all of us involved and surprising I think for the fans, especially when we have packed out crowds for the races here."

Button admitted he would be sad not to race at Silverstone again.

"It is a very special race. The British fans are fantastic and we have so many fans in Britain for motorsport and Formula One," said Button.

"Last year was a sell-out crowd and I'm guessing it's going to be the same this year and you don't get that in many circuits around the world, especially with the way the economy is at the moment.

"This is a circuit that I love. It's a fantastic fast-flowing circuit like Spa, Suzuka - it's one of the true greats and has been through the last few decades."

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