Motor racing: Pressure on Estoril to improve track

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The Independent Online
The Portuguese government, racing against time to regain a Formula One grand prix at Estoril this year, is pondering drastic action to meet the deadline for the track improvements there that have been demanded by the sport's ruling body.

The FIA gave a 31 August deadline for the completion of improvements at the country's only Formula One circuit, but negotiations between the government and the circuit's owners are deadlocked. Officials are considering requisitioning the venue so that work can be started, according to the daily newspaper Publico. The government may also choose to expropriate the circuit or build a new one, the report said.

Rubens Barrichello escaped unhurt from a 175mph crash during testing at Silverstone yesterday. Mike Hakkinen recorded the fastest time in a session which also saw Damon Hill crash into the pit wall.