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Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Sunday, 22 November 2009

British GP facing final deadline

Silverstone in 2007
Silverstone has emerged as the last apparent hope for a 2010 British Grand Prix

Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone says the fate of the British Grand Prix will be decided at a meeting on 9 December.

That is when the F1 Commission, which regulates the sport, is due to convene to rubber-stamp the 2010 race calendar.

"At the moment there is no British Grand Prix," Ecclestone told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme.

"The meeting on 9 December is when it would be taken off the calendar. If there's no contract in place, there won't be a British Grand Prix."

Donington Park was set to host the British GP but was seemingly ruled out after failing to show it had the necessary £135m funding.

According to Ecclestone, there is a very slim chance the track could still stage the race "if someone comes along with the right ideas and funding".

But the focus is still on Silverstone, which has yet to agree financial terms and faces a warning from the sport that it must modernise its facilities in order to host the event again.

"There is no change with the British Grand Prix," said Ecclestone. "They had a contract in place which they could have signed, and they haven't."

The absence of a British GP next year would naturally be a disappointing development for British fans of F1.

Even more so given the last two world champions, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, are both British and will be in action for the Woking-based McLaren team.

Button won the title with Brawn GP but agreed a move to McLaren earlier this week, a switch that "surprised" Ecclestone.

"He obviously knows what he's doing and must be satisfied with the arrangements he's got in hand," said Ecclestone.


"I was a little surprised to see it happening, but there you go. I suppose he feels he is confident enough to take on Lewis. It's a bit of a task to take on, that's all.

"The number one will be the guy that's the quickest. During the year it will become obvious who that is."

The F1 supremo did, however, all but rule out a return to the sport for Michael Schumacher, who has been linked with a drive for the renamed Brawn outfit, Mercedes, in 2010.

"It's most unlikely," he said. "I don't see any reason why he should and I have not heard anything at all. I would be very doubtful."

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see also
Donington 'unlikely to host F1'
19 Nov 09 |  Leicestershire
No Donington GP, says Ecclestone
29 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren to fight for British GP
28 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Silverstone warned by Ecclestone
24 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Donington quiet as deadline nears
02 Oct 09 |  Leicestershire
Ecclestone sends Donington threat
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
British GP is secure - Ecclestone
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Donington secures 17-year F1 deal
15 Jun 09 |  Leicestershire

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