BRDC Upbeat about British GP Chances

The owners of Silverstone circuit are optimistic the British Grand Prix will go ahead next year after a deal between nine of the 10 teams and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

BRDC Upbeat about British GP Chances

The owners of Silverstone circuit are optimistic the British Grand Prix will go ahead next year after a deal between nine of the 10 teams and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

"We haven't opened the champagne yet but it sounds as if the teams and Mr Ecclestone have put together some pretty constructive proposals," British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) chief executive Alex Hooton told BBC radio on Wednesday.

"Next year there will be 19 races, which is two more than the teams are obligated to go to. In order to accommodate that, Mr Ecclestone, I believe, has reached an accommodation with them (the teams) as to the fees that he will pay them to turn up to the two extra races.

"The teams have added their contribution to it by agreeing a range of cost cutting."

Ecclestone, a Briton, draws up the calendar and had threatened to axe the British race despite its status as a traditional event that has been a fixture since the first Formula One Championship in 1950.

He has still to nail down a deal with the BRDC, who are willing to promote the race themselves, with a potential sticking point being the length of any contract as much as the amount asked.

But he and all the teams except champions Ferrari, who could not attend Tuesday's meeting, agreed a package of measures in London that team bosses said should ensure the endangered British and French Grands Prix would go ahead.

The deal needs Ferrari and the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) to give their assent or risk being cast as wreckers.

The Guardian newspaper said the nine teams had agreed to accept $30 million instead of some $40 million for attending the 'extra' 18th and 19th races, with the money divided equally among them.

Paul Stoddart, boss of tailenders Minardi who run on an annual budget of around $40 million, told Reuters he would take a hit of about $500,000 on the agreement. Others, such as Ferrari, stand to lose substantially more.

This year the teams were compensated for attending an 18th race but the leading ones were paid more than those further down the standings.

"The world championship will be 19 races," the Guardian quoted Ecclestone as saying. "The FIA have said that perhaps their costs will go up, which I am sure they will by doing two extra races. We want the FIA to make a contribution by not charging for those extra races.

"FOM (Ecclestone's Formula One Management) is making a big sacrifice and the teams are making an enormous sacrifice."

The FIA's world motor sport council will confirm the final calendar next month.

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