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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Ecclestone bid to promote British GP

October 09, 2004 15:59 IST

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has made his own bid to promote the troubled British Grand Prix a week after he threatened to axe it.

"I have given the BRDC (British Racing Drivers' Club) another option to consider because I want to preserve the British Grand Prix and this is one more possibility of doing so," he told Saturday's Daily Express.

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The newspaper said Ecclestone, 73, had made a formal approach to the BRDC, who own Silverstone, saying that he would promote and guarantee the race if they give him the circuit rent-free for the next seven years.

The BRDC, a non-profit-making private members' club, would meanwhile continue with plans to redevelop the ageing pit and paddock facilities.

Ecclestone, a Briton who failed to qualify for his home race as a driver in 1958, draws up the calendar, a draft of which will be submitted to Formula One's governing body in Paris next Wednesday.

He has also controlled the rights to promote the race since April when U.S. advertising giant Interpublic paid him $93 million to get out of their commitment to 2015.

The latest twist was all the more surprising since Ecclestone has consistently maintained that he would not promote the race, likening the event to a 'country fair masquerading as a world event' and the circuit to an old house.

Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield, hosted the first Formula One Grand Prix in 1950 and Britain has had a round of the world championship every year since then.

The BRDC has offered to promote the Grand Prix, despite the risk of losing money on the deal but fell short of Ecclestone's asking price.

They are still negotiating and BRDC president Jackie Stewart, a three times world champion, has said he is cautiously optimistic.

A separate consortium, backed by former champion Nigel Mansell, said this week that it had agreed a deal with Ecclestone to save the race but added that it could be switched to Donington Park if the BRDC stood in the way.

"Now they (the BRDC) have myself and another offer to consider so with a bit of luck and the teams agreeing to 18 races, there should be a British Grand Prix," said Ecclestone.

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