Ecclestone threat to Silverstone

Back to back on the calendar, the French and British Grands Prix are two of the oldest in the business, and two of the most beleaguered at a time when commercial issues take priority over tolerance and a sense of history.

Promoter Jacques Regis counted himself lucky to hit the 55,000-spectator target that made his troubled race at Magny-Cours break even and, he hopes, secured its future. Silverstone, meanwhile, is already a sell-out next weekend, but the race that kicked off the FIA Formula One World Championship back in 1950 is still not out of the woods yet.

Back in April, the ongoing war between Bernie Ecclestone and the British Racing Drivers' Club, who own Silverstone, appeared to be over. Ecclestone, the holder of Formula One's commercial rights, had become $93m richer after taking over the rights to the racefrom troubled US adver-tising giant Interpublic.

"The BRDC believe it is of paramount importance to the sport and industry in the UK that we retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone," a cautious BRDC statement said. "We are continuing discussions with our partners, including Formula One Administration, the Interpublic Group and the British Government, and remain committed to playing our part in retaining the Grand Prix."

Ecclestone's enthusiasm for Silverstone has always been controlled. "It is an old house that claims to need only a few repairs," he has said. "Actually it needs major reconstruction. I don't see a future for it."

But he holds the rights to the race until 2015, and some see the "F1 for London" demonstration on Tuesday as a try-out for a possible city-based grand prix in the future. "Silverstone is a mess," Ecclestone said at Magny-Cours on Friday. "There is no contract, there is no promoter, but they know what they have to do."

The fashionable view within the sport's corridors of power portrays Sir Jackie Stewart, president of the club and a staunch defender of everything to do with circuit and race, as the scapegoat in the disharmony simply because he won't roll over and allow others to exploit the BRDC. "We have to fight to retain the British Grand Prix, because if we lose it we will lose the industry in a matter of six to 10 years, maximum," Stewart says trenchantly.

However much the idea is discussed, though, it is unlikely that Britain's biggest race will disappear, as Sir Frank Williams makes clear. "The British Grand Prix has been around for many, many years, it's a great circuit and it's getting better and better road connections now, and I believe that it has a rightful place in the world championship," he says. "Most of the guys in teams are from England and Scotland. Everyone would fight very hard if it came under real threat. The teams wouldn't stand for it falling off the calendar."

Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor