British GP faces uncertain future

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that he has no interest in buying the 15-year lease to run the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, leaving the event, one of the biggest on the UK's sporting calendar, prone to cancellation should no-one step into the breach

British GP faces uncertain future

Ecclestone told BBC Sport Online that if no-one buys the lease then the race could be dropped from the Formula 1 calendar. Octagon's parent company Interpublic announced earlier this week that it is to sell off its motorsport interests after accruing major losses. Part of those interests was Octagon's agreement to run the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with the circuit's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club.

"I have never wanted to get control of any F1 races," said Ecclestone, "I don't care who is control.

"It's a pity Octagon entered into an agreement not knowing what the commitments were, but I have no doubt they will honour those commitments. They made their decision on research. They knew what they were getting into - I told them not to do it.

"The contract is guaranteed by Interpublic. But if no-one wants to run the race, then there won't be a British Grand Prix.

The BRDC's chief executive officer Alex Hooten played down fears for the future of the race, despite admitting that it is too early to say who will take over the contract: "The BRDC has a 15-year lease with Octagon, with 13-years still to run. The obligations of Octagon under that lease are guaranteed by Interpublic. There are no grounds to believe that those obligations won't be fulfilled."

Interpublic bought Brands Hatch Leisure, the compnay which owned the four UK circuits from Nicola Foulston for £120 million in 1999. But the assets are now valued at just £44m.

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