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Silverstone given payment leeway to keep F1 British Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone has allowed Silverstone to place its payment for this season's British Grand Prix on hold until 2016, as the circuit battles to remain on the Formula 1 calendar

Silverstone has been forced to defer the hosting-fee payment, understood to be around £16million at present, due to a lack of funds.

Ecclestone is of the belief the Northamptonshire circuit's bankers have now agreed to a line of credit that will at least allow next year's race to go ahead.

Beyond that, however, is another matter as a break clause in a deal that runs until 2026 is available should Silverstone continue to struggle to pay for the race.

Speaking to AUTOSPORT, Ecclestone said: "They will be paying us for this year's race next year. We've agreed on a kind of an instalment plan.

"We're doing all we can do. They got exactly the contract they wanted, and asked for, which is a lot more beneficial than others have."

Silverstone has run into difficulties as it no longer receives rental income on 280 acres of land surrounding the circuit.

To pay off debts it owed for the building of the £27million Silverstone 'Wing' complex, it drew up a long-term lease agreement with property company MEPC for a one-off payment of £32million two years ago.

Revenues have become further stretched as F1's annual hosting fee has risen season by season in the 17-year contract agreed with Ecclestone in 2009, due to a five per cent escalator clause.

Ecclestone feels it is high time the British government stepped in to help, given what Silverstone has done for the local economy in the area.

"They are looking for a little bit of support from government sources," revealed Ecclestone.

"It's something they should get because Silverstone does a lot for England and quite a bit for the area. They should get support as lots of countries do."

And not for the first time, Ecclestone has pointed an accusing finger at the BRDC - that today hosts its annual AGM - as the root cause for the problems that linger today.

"This all really started with the BRDC," said Ecclestone.

"I negotiated them out of a contract a long time ago, and got them quite a lot of money they were going to spend building all that pit complex. That was the idea.

"But they spent it on building a new BRDC clubhouse and a massive car park for the members. I can't believe they spent £20million!

"The people running it now are stuck with the things the BRDC agreed upon, and that's how it is."

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