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Bill Archer, founder of the Wickes DIY chain, and who was one of nine bidders under consideration in 2005 with a view to a £600m redevelopment of the Silverstone Circuit, is part of a new joint venture proposal which has been made to the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), which owns the Northamptonshire track.
According to a statement issued this morning (Thursday), the proposal, if successful, would secure the future of Silverstone and the British Grand Prix after 2009 when the present F1 contract ends.
Furthermore, according to the statement, the proposal would:
Allow the BRDC and the Partnership to form a joint venture company for the future development of Silverstone.
Ensure immediate funds are available for essential improvements to Silverstone and its facilities.
Provide the British Grand Prix with a new promoter, relieving the BRDC of the significantly increasing cost of underwriting the event.
Protect the future financial independence and member benefits of the BRDC.
The Partnership's principals Bill Archer and Mike Rockall, an entrepreneur behind a group of companies with interests in real estate, property development, management training and hotels, including the spa resort Whittlebury Hall next to Silverstone, said: "In this time-critical situation, our JV proposal can achieve the core objectives of the BRDC; to retain the F1 Grand Prix long term, finance the necessary improvements to Silverstone, and ensure the continuation of the independence, finances and member benefits of the Club.
"We have submitted our proposal to the board of the BRDC and we look forward to discussing it with them after what we all expect will be a successful Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone.
"The UK is the world's premier nation in the world in the motor sport industry. Silverstone must be improved to the highest international standard to retain that pre-eminence. We are confident as experienced and successful businessmen, working in partnership with Bernie Ecclestone, F1 and the BRDC, we can open a new chapter in Silverstone's proud history."
Archer's original bid in 2005 was turned down, with the BRDC choosing to go with St. Modwen Properties, one of the UK's leading property companies. A subsequent vote on the redevelopment was postponed, with (then) BRDC President Sir Jackie Stewart saying: "Members need more information and a longer period of consultation before we put the two resolutions to a vote."
That was February 2006. Shortly afterwards there were reports of Bernie Ecclestone being involved in a 50/50 deal aimed at securing the future of the track. The deal was supposedly put together by two-time British F3 Champion, Harry Stiller, and the proposal was that Ecclestone would become a 50/50 partner in a new long-term joint venture with the BRDC.
Then came the 'masterplan'.
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