Ecclestone Sets August Deadline for British GP

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has set Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), and British Grand Prix organisers Octagon a deadline of the end of August to get government backing and guarantee improvements will be made to the circuit.

Ecclestone Sets August Deadline for British GP

Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has set Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), and British Grand Prix organisers Octagon a deadline of the end of August to get government backing and guarantee improvements will be made to the circuit.

Ecclestone has been a long-term critic of the Northamptonshire track and, despite ploughing funds into development, has insisted the facilities must be improved if the British Grand Prix is to remain a part of Formula One.

Ecclestone, who has a contract with Octagon until 2015, wants assurances by the end of next month that the improvements will be made - and news of whether the government will help fund work on Silverstone.

"They could make up their minds next week if necessary, if Jackie (Stewart, president of the BRDC) says we can do it and the government comes on board," Ecclestone said. "When both of those things have happened, then we are in business.

"We have said then that we will confirm in writing that the FIA Formula One World Championship will remain at Silverstone until 2015. We will guarantee the government that. If we have not got a firm commitment from those people by the middle of August, then we will be able to make an agreement with Octagon to say bye-bye and get out of it. Simple as that.

"Then we would be out in the cold with nowhere to race and someone would come forward and ask to race at their place, Donington or wherever."

Ecclestone did insist that the future of the British Grand Prix would not be in doubt had the BRDC not raised objections over proposals to develop Brands Hatch, a circuit he feels would have been better suited to play home to the prestigious event.

"If the BRDC hadn't have got together to campaign for two years against Brands, Octagon would have got planning consent and this race would have been at Brands Hatch and a new fantastic circuit would have been built because Octagon would have spent the £8 million a year they now pay in rent on a great new facility," Ecclestone added.

"They did a good job of scuppering Brands and we are going to end up saying, 'We want to race in the UK. Okay, where do we race?'

"The BRDC goes on about government funding but there is no government funding at Hockenheim where we are going next week and the facilities are a hell of a lot better.

"If the BRDC borrow some money, they would save on tax and be able to build good facility. What they borrow, they could pay off in six or seven years and then they have got a super facility. Then they would be in good shape.

"And then we are looking to the government to guarantee that Octagon don't make any losses, to underwrite the race. Octagon are not looking to make money but they don't want to lose.

"The BRDC cannot say they cannot afford to borrow money. They get £8 million a year in rent from Octagon and they don't spend anything. I have never seen any money out of the BRDC. You know, I want a new G5 aeroplane - that's what I really want - but I can't afford it so I am not having one.

"If he can't afford the Grand Prix, he should go without because there are plenty of people out there who can afford it. I wouldn't consider buying Silverstone. I wouldn't consider taking it if they wanted to give it to me."

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