British GP not safe yet

British GP not safe yet

Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Administration (FOA) took over the rights to the British Grand Prix this week but that does not mean the race is guaranteed for the future. Interpublic bought itself out of the contract to promote the race until...

Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Administration (FOA) took over the rights to the British Grand Prix this week but that does not mean the race is guaranteed for the future. Interpublic bought itself out of the contract to promote the race until 2015, paying FOA a reported $93 million, and Ecclestone now effectively takes over.

Bernie Ecclestone.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

However, he would be happy to see someone else step in and also wants improvements to the Silverstone circuit. The surrounding roads and some facilities have been upgraded in recent years but it's the pits and paddock Ecclestone wants revised, otherwise there will be no British GP in 2005.

"I would welcome a new promoter coming forward and I would be delighted if the British GP goes ahead at Silverstone," said Ecclestone, according to the Daily Telegraph. "It's the only possible circuit in the country which can host the race, but it has to come up to scratch."

Silverstone is owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) and although Interpublic will quit as promoter of the race after this year, it's understood the company will still pay the lease on the circuit until 2007. Ecclestone wants the BRDC to put money into improving the track.

"BRDC has got a lot of land there and it's still receiving rent from Interpublic," he said. "On the back of that, they can raise the necessary cash and invest in the circuit."

"I have put a chunk of my own money in. All I have seen for it are new car parks. They are very necessary, but we need a new pit and paddock complex too. Unless the BRDC does this, there will not be another Grand Prix in the UK in 2005."

Ecclestone has always been vocal in his criticism of Silverstone and wants to see facilities on a par with Bahrain's new circuit, which drew much praise. "We saw at the last race in Bahrain what facilities should be like," he said. "The standard has been raised by the new venues and Silverstone has to fall into line."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone