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Group says deal agreed to save British GP
Alan Baldwin | October 08, 2004 14:42 IST
A little-known group backed by former champion Nigel Mansell says it has agreed a long-term deal to keep the British Formula One Grand Prix on the calendar.
"We have agreed with (Formula One's commercial supremo) Bernie Ecclestone to sign a seven-year F1 Grand Prix licence for Britain," Kim Cockburn, a director of Brand Synergy Ltd, told BBC radio on Thursday.
"We have sent our proposals to the BRDC (British Racing Drivers' Club), we share the BRDC's vision to develop and deliver the masterplan that will make sure that Silverstone stays firmly on the map for the years to come."
Asked whether the group had come up with the reported nine million pounds ($16.02 million) a race that Ecclestone wanted, she replied: "Yes we have".
Ecclestone said last week that the race had been struck off the 2005 provisional calendar because the BRDC, which owns the Silverstone circuit, could not meet his terms to promote the Grand Prix.
However, there has been much behind-the-scenes action since then and former champion Jackie Stewart, president of the BRDC, said on Wednesday he was "cautiously optimistic" of a solution.
Ecclestone, who draws up the calendar which will be presented to the sport's governing body in Paris next Wednesday, has no shortage of countries eager to host a race but he also sounded encouraging.
"I have been talking to Kim Cockburn about this for a long time and am confident that Brand Synergy can get the job done," the BBC quoted him as saying.
The BRDC confirmed in a statement that it had been approached by Brand Synergy with an offer to act as promoter for the race.
"No formal submission has been made to the BRDC board although discussions have taken place at executive level," the statement said, however.
"Additionally, there has been no independent verification of financial backing for their proposal."
The BRDC said it remained in discussions with the government, Ecclestone and all interested parties with the aim of saving the race.
A spokeswoman for Mansell confirmed that the 1992 champion was involved with Brand Synergy, which media reports have linked to "a major development company."
Mansell, 51 and former winner of his home race, expressed outrage when the news broke that Silverstone was being axed. The circuit hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in 1950 and Britain has been on the calendar every year since.
Thursday's Sun newspaper quoted the Ferrari and Williams great as saying he was proud to be involved in "an exciting development" to save Silverstone.
"It will mark a very important step forward and everyone involved believes that it could mean Grand Prix racing continuing in this country -- which of course it must as the birthplace of the sport," he said.
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