Teams Agree to Hold French and British GPs

Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has reached an agreement with nine of the sport's ten teams that will see the British and French Grands Prix back on the calendar for 2005.

Teams Agree to Hold French and British GPs

Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has reached an agreement with nine of the sport's ten teams that will see the British and French Grands Prix back on the calendar for 2005.

The deal was thrashed out in a meeting at London's Heathrow airport - but the future of the two races still remains in the hands of World Champions Ferrari, after they failed to turn up and put pen to paper.

The nine teams are believed to have made a private agreement to limit testing next year after agreeing that the move would reduce the costs enough to compensate for the outlay of attending the two extra races next year.

They are expected to go ahead with the testing reduction even if Ferrari refuse - and have warned the Italian giants to expect heavy criticism if they continue with a full testing programme and win the title again next year.

One source has tipped Ferrari to reluctantly take an about-turn and support the move and said: "They have said already that they don't want to see historic races like that off the calendar but we still have to wait and see."

But Ecclestone is still in disagreement over the value of a promotion deal for the British race and warned that he still has to agree a commercial deal with Silverstone owners the BRDC before the race is on.

The BRDC issued a statement this afternoon, following news of the Heathrow meeting, saying that, "the BRDC has not yet been officially informed of any proposal by FOM, but if there is a new proposal to safeguard the British Grand Prix in 2005 which makes financial sense for the sport, the industry, the Club and especially the local economy, it will be seriously considered by the board."

It is understood that a commercial deal has already been agreed with the organisers of the French race, and if the British gets the go-ahead then the calendar will expand to 19 races next year.

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