Club 'disappointed' by leaked Ecclestone letter

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The Independent Online

The British Racing Drivers' Club reacted with resigned exasperation yesterday to Bernie Ecclestone's latest move in the war over the British Grand Prix, a carefully leaked declaration that the race is dead. The Formula One commercial rights holder said he had to respond immediately as a rival promoter wanted a race in another country and could not afford to wait for an answer.

The British Racing Drivers' Club reacted with resigned exasperation yesterday to Bernie Ecclestone's latest move in the war over the British Grand Prix, a carefully leaked declaration that the race is dead. The Formula One commercial rights holder said he had to respond immediately as a rival promoter wanted a race in another country and could not afford to wait for an answer.

"What could I do?" Ecclestone asked. "I have got an offer from another country who are looking to build a lovely venue and invest a lot of money in Formula One, and they will pay the going rate. I have to give them a year's notice to go ahead.

"If I miss that because I am still messing about with the BRDC, I would be keeping out a country that desperately wants to be in the Formula One World Championship."

The move is seen as another means of piling more pressure on to the club that owns Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix since 1987.

"Bernie's letter came in response to one we had written him a few days' earlier," the BRDC chief executive, Alex Hooton, said. "We are very disappointed that he has made this press comment. We had moved to a position whereby the financial side of a contract was largely resolved."

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