Saviour says Silverstone can make money

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The Independent Online

Brand Synergy, the consortium vying to save the British Formula One Grand Prix, predicts it can make the Silverstone circuit immediately profitable if the British Racing Drivers' Club gives its proposal the green light.

The promoter met with the BRDC, which owns Silverstone, on Friday and said it was confident the deal would go ahead even though the club said it needs several months to approve the "master plan" for the circuit's future. David Phipps, a Brand Synergy director and Formula One consultant, said the consortium "hopes to turn a profit" straight away from other events such as Superbike races.

Kim Cockburn, also a Brand Synergy director, said the British Grand Prix would break even until the master plan was complete. It was expected to be profitable after that.

However, Ms Cockburn cautioned that the lease deal would "need to be settled by December for the track to be ready for next year's Grand Prix" - likely to be held on 10 July.

Brand Synergy, its backer Quintain and the BRDC are negotiating to set up a joint-venture company which would own the Silverstone lease. Ms Cockburn, a former racing team manager and Club Car driver, said the project had another confidential backer, listed as a property developer.

The project, which has the backing of champion Formula One driver Nigel Mansell and two unnamed British banks, includes plans for redeveloping the track as well as building two hotels, entertainment facilities, new grandstands and a museum.

Mr Phipps said the resuscitation of the Grand Prix would also have "a considerable effect on the ancillary industries".

Brand Synergy has secured a seven-year deal with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone to promote Formula One in Britain. Silverstone was dropped from the F1 calendar after the BRDC failed to meet Mr Ecclestone's demands for £9m. The Brand Synergy directors unsuccessfully bid for the Brands Hatch circuit last year.