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British GP: The final countdown?

NEWS STORY
22/11/2009

Bernie Ecclestone has warned that at present there is no British Grand Prix in 2010, though a final decision will not be made until next month when the F1 Commission rubber stamps the 2010 schedule.

Following the collapse of plans to take the event to Donington, Silverstone remained the only hope for Britain, which has hosted a round of the series ever since the Formula One World Championship came into being in 1950.

However, Ecclestone and Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), have been unable to strike a deal. Other than a raft of costly updates, Ecclestone is seeking a 12m flat fee together with an annual increment of 7 percent.

Ecclestone has now said that the fate of the British GP will be decided on December 9 when the F1 Commission effectively rubbers stamps the 2010 calendar.

"At the moment there is no British Grand Prix," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The meeting on 9 December is when it would be taken off the calendar. If there's no contract in place, there won't be a British Grand Prix."

While attention remains focussed on Silverstone, a circuit with which Ecclestone has always appeared to have a problem, the F1 supremo has said that the British GP could still go ahead at Donington in future, despite the failure of Simon Gillett's Donington Ventures Leisure Limited to come up with the required 135m funding and the company's subsequent financial collapse.

Asked on Friday whether the event could still take place at Donington, Ecclestone told BBC Radio Derby: "Definitely, if someone comes along with the right ideas and funding, then yes."

BRDC president Damon Hill, who previously said he remained "confident" that a deal might be done, is now sounding a lot more concerned that the battle is being lost.

"I am told some progress is being made but I wish I could tell you there will be a British Grand Prix next summer. I can't," he admitted. "There is a level of risk that the BRDC would be irresponsible to accept, and that is what we, as an organisation, are trying to impress on Bernie."

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