This morning the owners of Silverstone – the BRDC – confirmed that they have reached agreement with Bernie Ecclestone regarding the future of the British Grand Prix. After months of negotiations, the Northamptonshire circuit will host the race for the next 17 years, taking over the deal that had initially been signed by Donington Park. The BRDC also spoke of the improvements due to be made to the circuit and facilities, scheduled to begin soon.
In 2008, Bernie Ecclestone sensationally announced that Donington Park had signed a deal which would see the Leicestershire circuit host the British Grand Prix from 2010. However, funding issues and disputes got in the way and after Ecclestone had extended deadlines various times, the deal was called off. Silverstone then set about negotiating with Ecclestone to reclaim the event, which was finally announced this morning.
The title of Silverstone as home of motorsport has come true. It is a place for all motorsport. Everyone in the BRDC loves motorsport and we are looking forward to the MotoGP as well as the British Grand Prix.
It is not easy to enter into a contract of this magnitude and you have to take on a lot of responsibility, but the BRDC wanted this relationship to continue.
Everyone was well aware that the British GP is not just a sporting event, but it is dynamo of the industry in this country. Losing it would have been damaging and perhaps there would have been no coming back. Damon Hill.
The news means that Formula One will continue to have a British event and will undoubtedly come as good news to British fans. The majority of teams on the grid are based in Britain and the nation has long been involved with the sport, and currently enjoying great success with both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.
Although the deal is for 17 years, taking on what had been offered to Donington Park, there is a clause in the contract to break the deal after 10 years, although Silverstone’s managing director Richard Phillips said this is not what he wants to happen. Phillips and Hill also spoke more of the planned schedule of works due to be carried out, starting after Christmas.
Even this year with the new circuit we are trying to get better access for public, changing granstands for better viewing and running our own campsites to be better than the current ones.
We want to increase the entertainment factor. Richard Phillips.
Interestingly, Bernie Ecclestone has changed his tone considerably. Previously, Ecclestone had been quite anti-Silverstone, stating that even if the Donington deal fell through, Formula One would not return to the old airbase. However, this morning Bernie had nothing but good things to say, stating he is pleased Britain will continue to feature in the world championship.
I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with Silverstone for the retention of the British Grand Prix. This will ensure that Great Britain will remain on the Formula 1 calendar for many years to come, which is something I have personally always wanted to see happen.
The team at Silverstone already knows how to organise a good event, so now everyone can look forward to next summer at Silverstone. Bernie Ecclestone.
With Woking-based McLaren fielding both British champions on the 2010 grid, the race should draw huge crowds, although the new facilities and circuit will not be ready until 2011. The circuit will also host a round of the MotoGP championship.