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  Monday, 2 December, 2002, 10:43 GMT
F1 boss casts shadow over Silverstone
Silverstone is under pressure from the FIA to modernise or lose its Grand Prix status
Silverstone has hosted the British Grand Prix since 1950
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has expressed fresh doubts about the future of the British Grand Prix as the financial problems at Octagon, the company which runs Silverstone, escalate.

Interpublic, Octagon's parent company, has issued profit warnings and seen the value of its shares halved.


If [the British GP] came off the calendar there are lots of other countries waiting to take its place
Bernie Ecclestone

The company is now demanding a return on its 250m investment in British motor racing.

With several countries, including China, Turkey and Russia, in the hunt to take Britain's Formula One slot, Ecclestone's thinly-veiled warning will make uncomfortable reading for Silverstone chiefs.

"The world championship would carry on even if there were no British Grand Prix," said Ecclestone in The Guardian newspaper.

"We'd be sad to lose it, but if it came off the calendar there are lots of other countries waiting to take its place."

Ecclestone said he would not be prepared to promote the race "under the conditions Octagon has got".

Octagon's plans to carry out a string of improvements to the Silverstone circuit, including new sections of track and pit enclosures, have been postponed as the firm looks to cut costs.

"The problem is that the original idea was impossible to do," Ecclestone said.

"I always thought it would cost a lot more (than the planned 17m), but they said it wouldn't. [Now] they've got to scale down what's going on."

See also:

30 Oct 02 | Formula One
11 Jul 02 | Formula One
07 Jul 02 | Formula One
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