Fears rise for British Grand Prix

Fears that the British Grand Prix may be dropped from the calendar next year heightened on Friday when Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone hinted that he was not willing to back down over his financial demands for the race

Fears rise for British Grand Prix

Although Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club, made an offer to Ecclestone on Tuesday for a cut-price deal that would secure the race's future for the next three years, Ecclestone has suggested that he is not interested in that offer.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live about the state of negotiations, Ecclestone said: "I don't know.

"They [the BRDC] know what the conditions are and if they want to sign the contract then we are happy to sign immediately."

When asked whether the collapse of the BRDC offer would automatically mean the end of the British Grand Prix, he added: "I don't know. Maybe we will find another promoter."

FIA president Max Mosley also fuelled the fire over speculation that the race could be dropped by claiming that there would be no way the event would be on the provisional calendar due to be issued in October if no promoter was found by the end of this month.

"There has to be a promoter," he said. "If they offer Bernie less than the usual fee for the race, then he can say no. It is a sort of rate card. We cannot put a race on the calendar unless there is a promoter for the race."

The BRDC wants to take over the promotion of the event for the next three years, but does not want to pay Ecclestone over the odds. Sources claim that Ecclestone wants a seven-year deal - something the BRDC is reluctant to accept because a new Concorde Agreement from 2008 will likely lead to fresh financial terms for race promoters.

BRDC chairman Ray Bellm dismissed comments from Ecclestone that the club had already been given a response to its offer. "I am still waiting to hear from Bernie," he said. "I maintain the BRDC offer is perfectly reasonable."

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