British GP set to win reprieve

The British Grand Prix looks certain to feature on the provisional 2005 Formula 1 calendar due to be issued by motor racing's governing body on Wednesday - even though a long-term deal for the venue has not yet been agreed

British GP set to win reprieve

After a couple of weeks of speculation about the event's future, with Silverstone's owners the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) unwilling to pay the kind of fees demanded by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, sources claim that a provisional one-year deal has been put on the table.

It is claimed that the new deal, which does not involve marketing company Brand Synergy, has been agreed on the proviso that negotiations begin immediately on a six-year deal which runs from the 2006 event. The news should be confirmed after a meeting of the FIA's World Council in Paris on Wednesday.

The BRDC is believed to favour a two-year deal for the British Grand Prix, however. It then wants talks to start on a further five year extension.

Sports minister Richard Caborn, who has been involved in talks behind the scenes to try and save the British Grand Prix, told The Press Association on Tuesday that he was optimistic the race would be on the FIA's first draft of the calendar.

"I am very hopeful that the British Grand Prix will be on the calendar for next year even though it may be subject to contract," he said. "I am also hopeful that we will get a two-year deal which will allow us to sit down and plan to realise the full potential of the Silverstone estate.

"I would very much welcome its inclusion as it would be a major step in the right direction."

The FIA's 2005 calendar is expected to feature 19 races, with Britain, San Marino and France being given provisional status. The inclusion of those races on the final calendar will not only depend on commercial agreements being reached with Ecclestone, but also Ecclestone doing a deal with the teams to pay them for taking part in more than 16 races per year - the maximum number laid down in the Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run.

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