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Ecclestone warns Silverstone, take it or leave it

NEWS STORY
30/10/2009

With Donington now ruled out as host of the British Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone has sent a stark warning to Silverstone telling the owners of the Northamptonshire circuit to accept his terms or lose the event.

While Silverstone is the only possible option if the British Grand Prix is to be saved, BRDC president Damon Hill insists that in addition to needing a long-term contract in order to make the deal viable, he is unable to meet the financial demands of the F1 supremo.

Other than the flat fee for the race - thought to be 12m a year - there is an annual increase of around 7 percent. Earlier this week, the circuit announced a profit of just 662,000 on a turnover of 38.2m in 2008, which leaves many wondering how the BRDC would be able to meet Ecclestone's demands without ticket prices going through the roof. Furthermore, if a long term deal is to be agreed Ecclestone is demanding a serious upgrade to the facilities at the former airfield.

Speaking ahead of today's opening free practice session at the Yas Marina Circuit, a track the F1 supremo describes as the best he has ever seen, the message to Silverstone, the BRDC and Hill was stark, take it or leave it.

"We've been negotiating for too long," he told BBC Sport. "The deal is better than anybody else's deal anyway so if they don't like it, it's OK.

"It's not just a case of Silverstone signing the contract and paying," he added. "They must raise their standard. They have a contract if they want to sign it. I'd be delighted. If they don't want to sign it it's OK."

Asked what Silverstone bosses might do to get things going and secure the future of the British GP, Ecclestone replied: "They need to go and buy a pen."

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