Bernie stands firm on British GP

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has warned British Grand Prix bosses that he is not going to give them much room for negotiation over the future of the race, despite it featuring on his provisional 2005 calendar on Wednesday

Bernie stands firm on British GP

Although Silverstone's owner, the British Racing Drivers' Club, has indicated that it is cautiously optimistic that it can now agree a commercial deal to safeguard the future of the race, Ecclestone himself is vowing to drive a hard bargain.

Sources close to the deal claim that Ecclestone wants to offer the BRDC a one-year deal with an option for a further six years, while the BRDC favours a two-year deal with talks then to begin on a further five-year extension.

Although the parties are closer to agreement than they have been in recent weeks, Ecclestone still believes that it will be up to the BRDC to compromise on the final details.

"We can't negotiate any more on this," said Ecclestone. "They are on the calendar for the moment but we have to have a decision on this soon."

BRDC chief executive Alex Hooton told autosport.com earlier this week that it was important for a deal to be concluded swiftly so that Silverstone would have enough time to sell tickets for the 2005 event.

"We do need to maintain the momentum of this because every day after the end of October that we have not concluded a deal has an adverse affect on the marketing and early ticket sales for the event," he said.

"So we are encouraged by the development and we are continuing to push this matter forward to try and achieve an appropriate contract for the British GP as soon as we can."

Although the end of October has been set out as a target date for a deal to be agreed, the matter does not actually need to be settled until December 10 - when the next meeting of the FIA's World Council takes place. It is expected that the definitive 2005 calendar will be issued on that date.

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