Bernie accused of money focus

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been accused of being only interested in grabbing as much money as he can as the row over the axing of the British GP intensified on Thursday evening

Bernie accused of money focus

Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, issued a statement in reaction to Ecclestone's decision not to keep the race on the 2005 Formula 1 schedule and openly said the way the affair was handled had been 'damaging' for the country.

In particular, as well as calling on the government to come forward and live up to promises to help save the event's future, the BRDC was left furious that Ecclestone has refused to compromise over the future race fee - even though he has already been paid.

That is because former race promoters Interpublic agreed to pay Ecclestone a kill fee of $93 million for getting out of its commitments to promote the race in the future. Any money the BRDC paid to Ecclestone to promote the race would be on top of this figure.

A statement from the BRDC said: "It is damaging to this country that Mr Ecclestone has acted to cancel next year's grand prix when he has already been paid for next year's race through the contractual exit of Interpublic and when the BRDC made a generous offer to promote the race which would produce no profit for the club."

The BRDC also made an urgent call to the government to be proactive and step in to assist in the situation.

"We regret that H.M. government, unlike governments in almost every other country that hosts a grand prix, has not been able to put together a package to help the retention of the grand prix in this country," added the statement. "The government is committed to retaining the sport and the industry and yet the loss of the race will damage the sport and the industry.

"We have been campaigning as a club in recent years for the government to support a major capital investment programme for a Centre of Motorsport Excellence at Silverstone. We have discussed various financial options with HMG - none of which has been accepted.

"Where is the delivery of Sport Minister Richard Caborn's promise in July 2003 for the government, 'to put its money where its mouth is?'"

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