F1 supremo Ecclestone issues warning on British Grand Prix future

  • Other Sport
  • Friday, 23 Apr 2004

LONDON: Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has warned that unless the Silverstone owners spend more money on bringing the track up to scracth there will not be a British Grand Prix from next year. 

“It's the only possible circuit in the country which can host the race, but it has to come up to scratch,” he said. 

“We saw at the last race in Bahrain what facilities should be like. The standard has been raised by the new venues and Silverstone has to fall into line.”  

The Silverstone circuit is owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) but Ecclestone, who acquired the rights to the British GP this week from US-based advertising giant Interpublic, feels it is their responsibility to improve the installations. 

“BRDC has got a lot of land there and it's still receiving rent from Interpublic. On the back of that, they can raise the necessary cash and invest in the circuit,” he said.  

“I have put a chunk of my own money in. All I have seen for it are new car parks. They are very necessary, but we need a new pit and paddock complex too.  

“Unless the BRDC does this, there will not be another Grand Prix in the UK in 2005.”  

However, Sir Jackie Stewart, BRDC president, says he is concerned for Silverstone's future following Ecclestone's acquisition of the rights. 

Interpublic's decision to give up the F1 rights means it can end its deal to lease the circuit in 2007 rather than 2015.  

“We have no other major source of income beyond that tenancy,” Stewart said. 

It was reported on Tuesday that Ecclestone's Formula One Administration company was being paid £51.8mil to take over the event from Interpublic who will nevertheless promote this year's Grand Prix on July 11. 

The BRDC have been severely criticised for the state of facilities and poor traffic access to the track in Northamptonshire, in central England, by motor racing's governing body, the FIA. 

A spectator, who invaded the track during Rubens Barrichello's victory last year further highlighted the inadequacies of the circuit. – AFP 

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