British GP put on the block



Cash dispute threatens future of Silverstone’s biggest day of the year

The British GP’s continuous 55-race run as a world championship event appears likely to be broken after Silverstone was dropped from next year’s Formula One schedule.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that Silverstone had lost its place after he failed to agree terms with its owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, to stage the race. The BRDC offered a reputed £5.5 million, but that’s said to be well shy of Ecclestone’s demands.

That ensured Silverstone was not one of the 16 races on a draft calendar put to the FIA World Council on October 13. That schedule has 18 dates, which leaves hope that the British GP could be saved.

Silverstone has been forced to be the promoter of the race since Octagon Motorsports handed back the rights to the British GP after this year’s event. It claimed that the price offered to Ecclestone was fair.

“The BRDC’s offer is at a price that, at best, will break even and, in a poor year, will lose the Club a considerable amount of money,” said a BRDC statement. “The BRDC, a not-for-profit club, has made the best offer it can.”

Ecclestone insisted that it would be unfair if he offered Silverstone a cut price to host the race: “The deal that I offered them was already the cheapest in the world.”

Silverstone once again called for Government support to put on the grand prix…

“We regret that our Government, unlike those in almost every other country that hosts an F1 race, has not been able to put together a package to help the retention of the British Grand Prix,” it said.

Silverstone could be given a slot on the calendar if all the teams agree on it.