British GP up for sale

The British Grand Prix, which has had troubled times in the past few years, is facing an uncertain future as the rights to organise and manage the event are up for sale. Octagon Motorsports, which currently owns the contract for the British GP, ...

The British Grand Prix, which has had troubled times in the past few years, is facing an uncertain future as the rights to organise and manage the event are up for sale. Octagon Motorsports, which currently owns the contract for the British GP, suffered losses of a reported $90million in 2002 and now parent company Interpublic is looking to sell its motor racing interests, including Octagon.

Bernie Ecclestone said Octagon bought the rights to the race when F1 was a more viable interest but was not aware of the amount of commitment needed: "It's a pity Octagon entered into an agreement not knowing what the commitments were," he told the BBC. "But I have no doubt they will honour those commitments."

"They made their decision based on research. They knew what they were getting into -- I told them not to do it. The contract is guaranteed by Interpublic. But if no-one wants to run the race, then there won't be a British Grand Prix."

The British Racing Drivers' Club owns the Silverstone circuit where the Grand Prix is held and Ecclestone thinks it should take over the event: "The BRDC should run the race and be the promoter. We did a contract with them that was very cheap for them to run."

"Once, the idea was to sell Silverstone. But they decided not to do it and got someone to rent it out. If the British Grand Prix disappears from Britain, it will be because no-one can afford Silverstone's rent."

Octagon also owns, through Interpublic, Brands Hatch -- where this year's UK round of the CART championship will take place -- Snetterton, Oulton Park and Cadwell Park.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Bernie Ecclestone