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Ecclestone gives Silverstone a final warning

NEWS STORY
20/11/2009

Two weeks after he gave Silverstone a 48-hour deadline in which to conclude the deal which would secure the British GP, Bernie Ecclestone has now given the circuit's owners a final warning stating that matters will soon be out of his hands.

Amidst growing doubts as to whether Simon Gillett would ever raise the necessary funding to hold the event at Donington, Silverstone was always on the back-boiler, though British Racing Drivers' Club president Damon Hill made it clear that the circuit would not be used as a stop-gap.

With Gillett having finally run out of time, money and options, and with his Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL) now going into administration, Silverstone is Britain's only hope, certainly for 2010.

However, other than the fact that Hill is seeking a long-term deal, Ecclestone's demands, both in terms of money and facility upgrades, are making it look increasingly possible that Silverstone will be unable to accommodate the F1 supremo. In addition to a 12m fee to host the race, Ecclestone is demanding a 7 percent increment year on year.

With the deadline for publication of the 2010 calendar creeping ever nearer, Ecclestone has now sent what appears to be his final warning to the Northamptonshire track and its owners.

"The World Council will meet and we will just pull it off, we will have to," he told the Times, referring to the World Motor Sport Council meeting due to take place in Paris on December 11. "We'll have no other choice, if we don't have a contract. We shouldn't have anything on the calendar unless we have a contract in place."

If the sides cannot agree a deal, Britain would be dropped from the calendar for one year only in the hope that a new deal might be agreed for 2011 and beyond either with Silverstone or possibly Donington.

Ecclestone revealed that despite the lack of news, negotiations are continuing all the time, however, he remains doubtful as to whether a deal can be done in time to save the 2010 event.

"They are close and they know they are close," he said. "It's not the terms and conditions so much as whether the investors are prepared to bankroll them and take the risk.

"We want a British Grand Prix," he added. "I've been spending an awful lot of time trying make sure it does happen, but there is no chance of an exceptional contract for Silverstone. Why should there be?"

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