Ecclestone joins talks to control British Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Bernie Ecclestone may be moving closer to achieving his ambition of controlling the British Grand Prix. According to a story leaked to Autosport magazine, he is considering a joint venture proposal which could see his Formula One Management company run the race in conjunction with the British Racing Drivers' Club.

The proposal is the brainchild of Harry Stiller, a property developer and BRDC member who drove in Formula Three in the 1960s, who put up money forAlan Jones - who later became world champion - to make his debut with Hesketh in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix.

Stiller has locked horns with the outgoing BRDC president, Sir Jackie Stewart, over plans to redevelop the Silverstone circuit. Stewart has proposed a redevelopment deal with the St Modwen company as part of a 150-year lease that would see their affiliate, Northern Racing, run the British Grand Prix from 2010. The BRDC's contract to promote the race runs until 2009.

Stiller has called for a vote of no confidence in the BRDC's current board of directors.

Ecclestone has long been an acquaintance of Stiller and has little time for Stewart. He told Autosport: "Harry's trying to put something together to retain the British Grand Prix. I said I'd be only too pleased to help. He asked me if maybe I could be the promoter. Everything is possible."

* Renault have targeted Michael Schumacher to replace world champion Fernando Alonso when the Spaniard moves to McLaren-Mercedes next season, reports claimed last night.