Stewart urges Bernie to agree

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been urged to recognise the efforts that Silverstone's owners have put into trying to safeguard the British Grand Prix and give a thumbs up for the race's future within the next week

Stewart urges Bernie to agree

That is the message from BRDC president Jackie Stewart after a meeting between the club that owns Silverstone and Ecclestone to discuss the race's future over the next three years.

In the wake of Interpublic buying out of its commitments to promote the race beyond this year, the BRDC has stepped into the breach and offered to take on the financial commitments of running the race until 2007 - even though it will not make a profit.

And it is that willingness to secure the race for the good of British motorsport that Stewart is hoping will be acknowledged by Ecclestone. Stewart is hoping to get a response in the days after the Italian Grand Prix.

"The BRDC has hosted the British Grand Prix for a great many years and we cannot afford to bankrupt the club - but we don't need to make a profit out of it," Stewart told autosport.com.

"It [the deal on the table] is not going to make us any money but as long as we come out of it without losing a great deal of money then we are doing the right thing. I hope Bernie understands that - because keeping the race is important for the government, it's important for the sport and it is important for the BRDC. But it wasn't a question of getting the race at any price - we could not afford that."

Ecclestone had threatened to drop the British Grand Prix from the 2005 calendar if no promoter could be found to replace Interpublic. But with the current financial set-up of hosting F1 races making profit for race organisers almost impossible, because their only major revenue stream is from ticket sales, the BRDC could not find any interested parties.

But after months of hard work and discussions, the BRDC has put forward suggestions that would allow it to become promoter without putting its own future at too big a risk.

Stewart believes it is too early to say whether the response from Ecclestone will definitely be positive, but he has grounds to feel confident.

"I think he realises we have made a great effort," he said. "I am cautiously optimistic."

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