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Time running out for Silverstone?

NEWS STORY
15/05/2008

In a week that Bernie Ecclestone has made it clear that F1 will not return to Magny Cours in 2009 - having been given a stay of execution this year - a well placed source has informed Pitpass that the F1 supremo has now turned his sights on Silverstone.

We understand that Ecclestone recently presented the British Racing Drivers' Club with a contract which even he believes the Silverstone owners will never agree to - a classic move by the Englishman… ask for the maximum then settle for a bit less.

Ecclestone is understood to be seeking a 5-year deal from 2010 at $22.5m a year, escalating annually at 5% a year. However, he is also seeking two years fees presented up front upon signing.

In addition Ecclestone is insisting that all his requirements for the upgrading of the circuit's facilities are met, including new pits, a Paddock Club area and new media centre, however, he has agreed that the pits can remain where they are as long as they are significantly upgraded.

We understand that the BRDC's response was quick and utterly predictable, the Silverstone owners saying that they were unwilling and unable to meet many of the demands, especially the increased fees and deposit.

Consequently, our source claims that once again there is a huge question mark over the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, with just one more year left to run before the current contract expires.

Furthermore, should the BRDC and Ecclestone be unable to agree a deal it means the 2m - 3m spent on the so-called 'Masterplan' has been wasted, for without the GP contract the circuit won't have a hope of securing all the relevant planning permission.

We understand that Ecclestone is due to react to the BRDC's rejection of his proposal any time now.

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