Ecclestone continues to pressure the BRDC


Ahead of what is certain to be official confirmation that Valencia is to join the F1 schedule in 2008, Bernie Ecclestone has fired another warning shot at the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), owner of Silverstone.

It's the same old thing; "third world facility", "house that needs loads of work", "private club", "old men in blazers", "blah, blah, blah".

In short - no pun intended - Ecclestone has said that there's no point in dealing with the BRDC and that he'd rather deal direct with an alternative promoter for the British Grand Prix.

The current deal sees the British round of the Formula One World Championship remain at Silverstone until 2009, however this deal was done with the proviso that the circuit would be updated in line with Ecclestone's demands. It hasn't.

There has been talk of a Silverstone "Master Plan", but thus far that is all it has been, talk.

Ecclestone is now clearly as tired of the whole saga as the rest of us, however, his suggestion that the government should step in will fall on deaf ears.

Later today, Tony Blair will finally step down as leader of the Labour Party, and thereby Prime Minister, the politician's woeful reign getting off to the worst possible start ten years ago courtesy of a one-million pound donation from a certain Bernard Charles Ecclestone. Having seen the damage done to 'Teflon Tone' it is highly unlikely that any government led by his successor will touch anything to do with Formula One with a bargepole.

Furthermore, despite talk of an election in the next couple of years, no other political party is going to give serious consideration to anything as elitist as Formula One. There are far more pressing issues as hand, the education system, the national health service, law and order, terrorism, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention that Albatross around the nation's neck, the 2012 Olympics.

Despite talk of history - an emotive subject that matters little to the powers that be - no country has a divine right to a Grand Prix. If Formula One is to remain in Britain either the BRDC finds the money it needs or someone else does, even if it means moving the race to another track.

The future of the French Grand Prix is already in doubt, therefore nobody should assume that there's always be a GP in England.

Given the choice between a race on a former airfield in Northamptonshire - even if it does have brand new pits, state of the art infrastructure, a five-star hotel and private airfield - and a street race in Paris or Valencia or a (government funded) night race in Singapore, Ecclestone will not allow sentimentality to stand in the way.

Then again, it would be wholly unfair to put this issue entirely down to the Englishman. The BRDC has been given plenty of warning, but has failed to rise to the occasion. Also, let's not forget that Ecclestone no longer owns F1, it is now the property of CVC, a company that has only one objective, to maximise profit on a minimal investment.

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Published: 10/05/2007
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