Ecclestone seeking Silverstone deal
Tuesday 27 October 2009
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has declared an end to Donington Park's ambitious plans to host the British Grand Prix and offered Silverstone the chance to keep the race on the calendar.
The commercial supremo told today's Times newspaper Donington Ventures' efforts to raise the funds needed to develop the circuit were over.
Donington said in a statement last Friday that a £135m bond had failed to secure enough subscribers and they had until noon on Monday to remedy a breach of contract or lose the race.
That deadline came and went without comment, although Ecclestone told the Times it was actually midnight on Tuesday.
The Briton said there would be no penalties for Donington's failure and Silverstone had already been offered a similar 17-year deal for a traditional race whose place on the calendar now looks uncertain.
"They've got to tidy the whole place up a bit, but I'm optimistic they will accept it (the deal)," he added.
Next year's race is due to be held on 11 July, the same day as the World Cup soccer final in South Africa.
Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield, hosted the first championship race in 1950 and the British Racing Drivers' Club is keen to continue for the long term.
However, they have made clear they will only sign an agreement if it makes financial sense while Ecclestone has said he will not give them special treatment.
"I want a British Grand Prix, of course, but we are not going to do special rates for Britain," he told the Daily Express last week.
"If they (Silverstone) can't make it work then don't do it. If that happens, there won't be a British Grand Prix. Simple as that."
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