BRDC not relaxing

Silverstone's owner, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), has vowed not to relax its efforts to finalise a deal with Bernie Ecclestone over the future of the British Grand Prix, despite being handed a provisional slot on the 2005 calendar on Wednesday

BRDC not relaxing

Speaking exclusively to autosport.com, the BRDC's chief executive Alex Hooton made it clear that although there was growing optimism about the future of the race there were still major hurdles to be overcome before the race's place in 2005 was safe.

Of key importance is the fact that Silverstone needs to get the green light for the event by the end of this month if it is going to maximize its ticket sales for a 2005 race, especially because this is the only revenue stream that the circuit gets back from hosting the grand prix.

"Having the race on the provisional calendar is progress from the position of having fallen off the calendar completely," Hooton told autosport.com. "To have a provisional date helps and we are now in negotiations with Bernie over the terms of a draft contract which we have been provided with.

"No deal has yet been concluded because there are some substantive negotiations that need to take place over the terms of the contract.

"We do, however, 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.

"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."

Sources close to the negotiations between Ecclestone and the BRDC claim that a deal between the two parties is now much closer than it was a few weeks ago - but that one of the key issues is now the length of any deal rather than specific financial terms.

The money differences between the two parties, believed to be around £1.5 million for the first year of the deal, is now close to being settled thanks in part to the intervention of regional development body, the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA).

It is understood that Ecclestone would be happy to give 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 take place on a deal for a further five years.

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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