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BRDC Chairman confirms... Silverstone not for sale

NEWS STORY
20/05/2009

BRDC chairman Robert Brooks has denied reports which appeared in sections of the media at the weekend claiming that Silverstone is up for sale.

Indeed, it was suggested that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone might make a bid for the Northamptonshire track, thereby guaranteeing the future of the British GP.

The media reports followed a letter sent by Brooks to club members recently in which he advised that the BRDC needed to look at all possible options as it looks to the future.

However, speaking to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Brooks said: "The fact of the matter is, for some time, we've been encouraging the business of Silverstone to run as a business and the club to run as a club. But that doesn't mean we're flogging Silverstone.

"Obviously, the BRDC continues to own Silverstone, and I think if we were looking to sell it, we wouldn't set about doing it by getting all the newspapers to write about it."

However, there is a growing faction within the BRDC that believes Brooks and his close associates are part of the problem as the circuit looks to a future without the British Grand Prix.

In 2006 a possible deal with Bernie Ecclestone, put together by two-time British F3 Champion, Harry Stiller, was dismissed, while a subsequent 'masterplan' has been described by one BRDC insider as "p*****g away 3.5 million quid".

While the 550 plus BRDC members, average age 62, and described by Bernie Ecclestone as mostly being "old farts in blazers", bicker away, the jewel in the crown of the club faces a bleak future. That said, another faction within the club insists that salvation is still possible providing members take off their blinkers.

A spokesman for that faction has told Pitpass that with the Grand Prix lost, the best way forward is to bring in foreign investors, a CEO, some money, divest the club of its commercial operations, and to put Silverstone on the unlisted market, turning Silverstone Circuits into a PLC and making full use of the Silverstone brand.

All that aside, Brooks remains confident that with Donington looking increasingly doubtful, Silverstone is still in a position to host the 2010 British Grand Prix.

"We're continuing to invest a lot of money in Silverstone," he told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. "We're putting in several million over the next 10 to 12 months, making changes to the circuit for the Moto GP and continuing to improve our pit and paddock facilities, so Silverstone is moving forward.

"We're ready for the 2009 grand prix and we're ready for 2010 if necessary," he added.

Silverstone might be ready, but, according to one source, having been "stitched up" n 2008, just days before the British round of the World Championship, Ecclestone has finally called time on the Northamptonshire track, or, more particularly, its owners.

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