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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Silverstone not for sale - Hill
By Andrew Benson

Damon Hill
Hill says the BRDC has its own plan to develop Silverstone
Silverstone boss Damon Hill has told BBC Sport that Britain's Formula One track is not for sale following an offer to buy it for 56m.

Property company Spectre has lodged an offer to buy Silverstone from the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), retain the track and develop the land.

But Hill said the BRDC was pressing ahead with its own development plan to secure the Grand Prix's future.

Hill, the BRDC's president, added: "We are not planning to sell Silverstone."

We're in the middle of our own property development procedure and we're not being diverted from that

Damon Hill
BRDC president
BBC Radio Northampton revealed that Spectre chairman Oliver Speight, who was involved with motorsport in the 1960s, had written to BRDC members proposing a takeover of the freehold of the club's property and trading companies.

The details of the offer include:

  • an initial payment to the BRDC of 20m upon completion of the acquisition; a further 20m upon approval by the local planning authority of the intended development master plan; additional payments of 20,000 (10m approx total) to each full and life member of the BRDC.

  • An additional 6m extra for land in Silverstone village
  • A financial partner is said to be in place to secure funding, but the bid does not disclose its name

But Hill said: "It's quite common for property developers to approach anyone with a property and make a proposal and it would really fit into that category.

"The BRDC board has responded to that [offer] in the correct way, and it will be looked at thoroughly.

"We said 'Silverstone is not for sale, we're in the middle of a property development procedure which involves co-operation from government and all the local authorities that Silverstone affects and that is an ongoing process. We're not being diverted from that.'"

Cars line up on the grid for the start of the 2006 British Grand Prix
The bid includes plans to keep the British Grand Prix
He said the Spectre proposal would be debated "amongst members privately, and also within the club itself and at board level.

"But in detail it is not clear, the proposal itself is not particularly meaningful."

The 46-year-old Englishman, F1 world champion in 1996, said it was up to other people within the BRDC to assess "if it is in any way worth pursuing".

Silverstone's immediate future was secured in December 2004, when a five-year deal for the Grand Prix was agreed with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

But the Northamptonshire circuit is badly in need of a revamp, after criticism of its ageing facilities.

BRDC members last year rejected a plan to lease the track to property developer St Modwen in a deal that would have included building a luxury hotel and houses on the site.

606: DEBATE
The BRDC's latest approach, Hill said, is to "get planning permission, raise the asset value of the property and we can borrow against that to develop the circuit.

"It is a self-funded approach to developing the circuit.

"It's a good proposal that we have confidence in and that has the support of the members who came to a forum with the Sports Minister [Richard Caborn] a couple of weeks ago.

"We're going forward to develop Silverstone so we can go to Bernie [Ecclestone, F1's commercial boss] and say we're developing better facilities and we can dovetail that into a Grand Prix contract as well."

We feel the Grand Prix is very important and we are prepared to go to very great lengths to make sure it happens

Damon Hill
Affording Ecclestone's price to hold the Grand Prix has been one of Silverstone's biggest problems in recent years.

But Hill said that BRDC members were "happy to have the circuit and the Grand Prix running in a sustainable way.

"That should include an amount of profit in order to make the thing grow, but they're not unreasonable in what they want from a Grand Prix.

"They understand that the club is there to serve motorsport generally as well in the country.

"There is a certain degree of sacrificial business being done.

"If it was left purely to a Grand Prix that was business-minded, it would be very different.

"We entered into the last contract knowing that it would be in some ways a sacrifice, but we've provided a Grand Prix for the country for the last five years.

"The way to approach this is to say that we feel the Grand Prix is very important to the club, to Silverstone, to motorsport in this country and to the region, and we are prepared to go to very great lengths to make sure it happens."



SEE ALSO
Caborn backs Silverstone upgrade
22 Mar 07 |  Formula One
New threat to British Grand Prix
10 Nov 06 |  Formula One
Hill named as new BRDC president
28 Apr 06 |  Formula One
F1 boss cagey on British GP plan
21 Apr 06 |  Formula One
BRDC abandons Silverstone scheme
30 Mar 06 |  Formula One


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