British Grand Prix set to win reprieve

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The Independent Online

The Fia's draft calendar for the 2005 Formula One world championship, to be published by the sport's world governing body today, will include the British Grand Prix even though the commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, and the British Racing Drivers' Club, owner of Silverstone circuit, have yet to agree a deal.

The Fia's draft calendar for the 2005 Formula One world championship, to be published by the sport's world governing body today, will include the British Grand Prix even though the commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, and the British Racing Drivers' Club, owner of Silverstone circuit, have yet to agree a deal. Together with the San Marino and French Grands Prix, the British is expected to be listed as provisional.

Contrary to reports, however, the British race has not been saved. Nor have Ecclestone and the BRDC agreed financial terms. The former wants a one-year deal with a six-year option; the latter is still pressing for a two-year deal and does not want to sign any contract taking it beyond the Concorde Agreement, which expires in 2007.

The Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, welcomed the prospect of the grand prix being included on the draft calendar. "I am very hopeful that it will be on the calendar for next year, even though it may be subject to contract," he said. "I am also hopeful we'll get a two-year deal which will allow us to plan to realise the full potential of the Silverstone estate."

Alex Hooton, chief executive of the BRDC, said: "We are examining a number of proposals which have positive elements. We are hoping to be included on the calendar, albeit as a provisional race, and we are looking forward to concluding our negotiations in as quick a time frame as possible."

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