Silverstone secures British GP from 2010
|By Jonathan Noble and Pablo Elizalde||Monday, December 7th 2009, 10:31 GMT|
The British Grand Prix will stay at the Silverstone circuit next year after the Northamptonshire track reached a deal with Bernie Ecclestone after weeks of negotiations.
Silverstone looked set to lose the race last year when Ecclestone signed a 17-year deal with Donington Park to host the grand prix from next season.
However, Donington failed to raise the funds to carry out a redevelopment project and so Ecclestone began talks with Silverstone.
The British Racing Drivers' Club, owners of the track, confirmed on Monday morning they had secured a 17-year agreement to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.
The circuit will also host a MotoGP race next year.
"The title of Silverstone as home of motorsport has come true," said BRDC president Damon Hill. "It is a place for all motorsport. Everyone in the BRDC loves motorsport and we are looking forward to the MotoGP as well as the British Grand Prix.
"It is not easy to enter into a contract of this magnitude and you have to take on a lot of responsibility, but the BRDC wanted this relationship to continue.
"Everyone was well aware that the British GP is not just a sporting event, but it is dynamo of the industry in this country. Losing it would have been damaging and perhaps there would have been no coming back."
Hill said the new pit and paddock work will begin after Christmas and it is hoped it will be finished for the 2011 race.
Silverstone's managing director Richard Phillips said the circuit will work hard to given the fans better value for their money.
"Even this year with the new circuit we are trying to get better access for public, changing granstands for better viewing and running our own campsites to be better than the current ones," he said.
"We want to increase the entertainment factor."
He said the new contract has a clause to break the deal in 10 years' time as a safety net.
"There is a mutual opportunity to break it is not what we want to do," he said. "It is a good safety thing to have."
Phillips said Silverstone is looking at using the new 'Arena' circuit for F1 next year.
"The FIA have been to see it, it has been submitted for homologation and we hope to be running on the 'arena' circuit next summer. If not we can run on the current circuit."