Quintain backing bid to save British Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Quintain Estates, the property company developing 58 acres of land around the new Wembley National Stadium, has emerged as the mystery company backing Brand Strategy, the consortium that launched an attempt yesterday to save the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Brand Strategy, which has the backing of Bernie Ecclestone, the commercial rights owner for F1, and Nigel Mansell, the former world champion, announced plans for a seven-year licence to keep the race at the Northampton circuit and a longer-term £100m "master plan" to secure the commercial future of Silverstone.

It hopes to persuade the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), which owns Silverstone, to work with it as partners on the project after Mr Ecclestone dropped Silverstone from the provisional list of F1 Grand Prix races for next year.

A statement from Brand Strategy said it had "the backing of a major British development company, that has agreed to assist BSL and the BRDC to build the necessary new pits and deliver a Silverstone that Britain can be proud of". Paul Richards, a spokesman for the company, said: "I can confirm that Quintain are our development partners on this."

He said Quintain would be working with Brand Strategy to develop a Silverstone master plan that includes hotels, new grandstands for the circuit, entertainment facilities at the site and training facilities for drivers that would cost in the region of £100m. Two unnamed British banks are also involved.

"This is a genuine intention to invest in British motor sport," Mr Richards said.

A spokeswoman for Quintain was reluctant to admit to the company's involvement last night. "The fact is that Quintain's name is associated with a great number of development and regeneration projects as a result of its involvement on the Greenwich peninsula and Wembley. However, it is Quintain's policy never to comment on market rumour and speculation." The 300-acre Silverstone complex, however, is ripe for development and could prove highly profitable. But the pits area needs immediate attention.

Brand Strategy said it had submitted a proposal to the BRDC, which has so far fallen short of Mr Ecclestone's financial demands by £1.5m for hosting a F1 Grand Prix next year.

Brand Strategy is being fronted by Kim Cockburn who has brought in Nigel Mansell to lend support for her scheme.

Mr Ecclestone said: "I have been talking to Kim Cockburn about this for a long time and am confident that Brand Strategy can get the job done."

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