Ecclestone sets Silverstone deadline

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has set an August deadline for Silverstone's owners to commit to a £40million loan to fund the upgrade of the circuit or he will look elsewhere for a venue to host the British Grand Prix

Ecclestone sets Silverstone deadline

Ecclestone said it is up to Silverstone's landlords, the British Racing Drivers' Club, and British GP leaseholders Brands Hatch Circuits [formerly Octagon] to make sure the money is available to build a new pit complex on the Hangar Straight.

"They could make up their minds next week if necessary - if Jackie [Stewart, BRDC president] says we can do it and the government comes on board," said Ecclestone. "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 1 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 [BHC] 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 refuted claims from the BRDC that it cannot afford to fund a major new pit complex in the short term.

"The BRDC cannot say they cannot afford to borrow money," said Ecclestone. "They get £8million 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.

"All we want is the Taj Mahal [the pit complex] on the Hangar Straight, which was in the original plans and what we signed up for. And Octagon want a subsidy from the government so they don't lose money on every British GP. That's it. Full stop. If that all comes forward by the middle of August, no problem, we are in business. We will then give a written undertaking to the British government that we will come here until 2015.

"To be safe to get all the work done, the BRDC should borrow another £40million to add to the £13 million they have left in the kitty. Even then, it is a lot less than other circuits are spending."

Ecclestone reiterated that he does not want to lose the British GP from the F1 calendar.

"I don't want to dump the British Grand Prix," he said. "I want a British Grand Prix but I want it to be the best. We are supposed to be the best in this country and this should be the best grand prix in the world."

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