Heidfeld lends supports to British Grand Prix

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The Independent Online

Nick Heidfeld believes it is imperative Great Britain retains its grand prix as doubts continue to surround next year's race.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone at the weekend made it clear the sport does not need the event, insisting he is not prepared to negotiate a special deal with Silverstone to secure its future.

Ecclestone is again back around the negotiating table with bosses at the Northamptonshire track as Donington Park's bid to stage one of British sport's blue riband events appears to be dead.

However, Simon Gillett, the chief executive of Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, is understood to have this week paid Ecclestone a £12million security that was owed, albeit after the final deadline imposed.

At this moment the British Grand Prix, not for the first time in its history, is in limbo.

BMW Sauber driver Heidfeld, sitting in the £800million splendour of Abu Dhabi's new Yas Marina circuit, is adamant it cannot be lost.

"From my perspective, from a drivers' point of view, we have to stay in England," remarked Heidfeld.

"All the talk is about whether there will be a race or not, and I say there must be a race in Great Britain.

"Most of the teams are based there, it is really where the home of motor sport is.

"It's there you really feel the enthusiasm, and then there is the knowledge people have over there.

"I hope we will keep some of the countries that have been there for a long time, but also some of the circuits like Silverstone, which is a fantastic track."

Heidfeld can appreciate, however, Formula One's future is "where the money is," underlined by Abu Dhabi's attempt to showcase their achievements to the world.

What matters most, though, is whether the circuit lends itself to a great race or whether it is just another processional track.

"It's fantastic," added Heidfeld, surveying the scene with the marina and five-star hotel that straddles the track to his right.

"But to be honest it's not surprising because we heard so much about it before coming here.

"All the people who had been here before said it's unbelievable, it's fantastic, it's huge, so in coming here you knew what to expect.

"It's definitely very well done, but most importantly for me, I will see tomorrow if the circuit is good or not."

With Heidfeld facing his last race for BMW Sauber on Sunday after the German manufacturing giants confirmed earlier this season they are pulling out of F1, he has reiterated his own future is secure.

"I'm pretty certain I will be in Formula One next year," stated the 32-year-old German.

"Nothing is signed yet. I'm talking to teams, and I won't say more than that, but I am confident I will be with a team.

"In terms of my emotions for this weekend, which will be special, they will be much stronger on race day.

"It will be then I will realise we've had quite a long time working together achieving a lot, and now suddenly it's over."