British GP promoters end contract

British GP promoters end contract

Barely a month seems to go by without doubt being cast on the future of the British Grand Prix and now the promoters of the event have bought themselves out of their contract. Interpublic, who held the rights to the GP until 2015, has reportedly...

Barely a month seems to go by without doubt being cast on the future of the British Grand Prix and now the promoters of the event have bought themselves out of their contract. Interpublic, who held the rights to the GP until 2015, has reportedly paid $93 million to Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Administration (FOA) to terminate the agreement.

Silverstone paddock area.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

It's understood that Interpublic will still deal with this year's event and has the lease from the British Racing Driver's Club (BRDC) on the Silverstone circuit until 2007. The company estimated the cost of running the race and upgrades to the track would be around $450 million.

Interpublic bought British tracks such as Brands Hatch and Oulton Park under the company of Brands Hatch Leisure in 1999, but sold them early this year as it seeks to withdraw from motor sport.

"This is another step forward in our turnaround," said Interpublic chairman David Bell. "From the point at which I was asked to lead this company, I have made it clear that it is inappropriate for us to be involved in owning or operating venue-based motorsports businesses. We are pleased to have moved closer to completing our exit from the motorsports business."

The BRDC is in discussions with the parties involved about keeping the GP at Silverstone and sees the situation as a positive step. Ecclestone could well take over the event after this year. "The BRDC believes it is of paramount importance to the sport and industry in the UK that we retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone," the Club said in a statement.

"We are continuing discussions with our partners, including Formula One Administration, the Interpublic Group and the British Government, and remain committed to playing our part in retaining the Grand Prix."

"In the expectation that Mr Ecclestone wishes to retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, we welcome the acquisition of the rights to the event by FOA. We look forward to hearing Mr Ecclestone's plans for the future success and stability of the British Grand Prix."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Bell , Bernie Ecclestone