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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July, 2003, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
New row over Silverstone
Jarno Trulli leads the field at the start of the British Grand Prix
How long will Silverstone be a feature on the F1 calendar?
The future of the British Grand Prix remains clouded in doubt after a meeting between Silverstone's owner and Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone ended in stalemate.

Ecclestone's F1 Management (FOM) company has offered to fund the improvements required to guarantee the race's place until 2015 if Silverstone's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club waives the rent it charges for the Grand Prix for the next two years.

The deal on the table was described by Max Mosley, president of motor racing's governing body, as "blinding". He added: "All they have got to do is drop the rent and all the rest is taken care of."

But BRDC president Jackie Stewart insisted that Mosley and Ecclestone were "targeting" Silverstone.

"We are prepared to reduce our rent but these things have to be in proportion," the Scot said.

Ecclestone has set Silverstone until the middle of August to find the 40m needed to complete the next stage of the upgrading of the track or risk having the race taken off the F1 calendar.

An FOM statement said that "no progress" was made at a meeting on Tuesday at which the BRDC was offered a proposal to secure the Grand Prix's future that "did not involve the BRDC raising money or taking any financial risk".

Stewart said on Wednesday that the BRDC, which owns Silverstone, would be prepared to reduce the rent, which starts at 5m and will rise to 8m over the course of the deal.

There is no reason why Silverstone should not be one of the best circuits in the world
Max Mosley
FIA president
But Mosley suggested that for the next couple of years it should receive no rent at all.

In that case, the money needed to transform the Northamptonshire circuit into one of the world's best would be provided by Ecclestone and Brands Hatch Circuits Ltd, which owns the rights to the race.

"If they receive 5m, that's an awful lot of money for a disused airfield which they got for free," said Mosley.

"Jackie may say that he would accept a reduced rent but he has not agreed to do that yet and that is a difference.

"The BRDC has got to take a greatly reduced rent and it should not monopolise half the facilities on the circuit as it does now.

"If it does that, then Brands Hatch Circuits and Bernie between them would finance the work that needs to be done as laid out in the master plan for the circuit.

"The BRDC would then get the facilities it would want and, once the contract runs out, would presumably keep them. It is a blinding deal from their point of view.

F1 bosses Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone and Mosley are playing hardball with Silverstone
"There is no reason why Silverstone should not be one of the best circuits in the world."

The BRDC believes that the financial commitment to securing the race should be made on behalf of all the involved parties - including the government represented by the East Midlands Development Agency.

Ecclestone has already admitted that the deal he struck with Brands Hatch for the rights to the races was not commercially viable.

And Stewart disputed Ecclestone's version of events at the meeting, which involved British GP rights holders Brands Hatch Circuits Ltd, FOM, the BRDC and the East Midlands Development agency.

The Scotsman insisted his organisation was prepared to do all it could to save the race, which brings in around 32m each year to the local economy.

He said: "I do not understand that statement from the FOM and I do not know why the BRDC are being targeted.

"We are prepared to reduce our rent but these things have to be in proportion.

"We are the David compared to the Goliaths that are Bernie Ecclestone, who is one of the richest men in Britain, the Interpublic Group (which owns BHCL) and the government.

"I am hopeful a solution can be found so that we will have a British Grand Prix next year but I cannot guarantee that at the moment.

"The BRDC cannot save the Grand Prix and should not be blamed if we lose it because we are not the promoter and neither do we have the rights to the race."




WATCH AND LISTEN
British Racing Drivers' Club's Martin Brundle
"The British Grand Prix could turn into the Turkish or Indian GP"



BRITISH GRAND PRIX

RUBENS RULES SILVERSTONE

JUSTIN WILSON'S DIARY
 

TRACK GUIDE

2003 SEASON RACE BY RACE
 

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SEE ALSO
Stewart rejects ultimatum
22 Jul 03  |  Formula One
Protester mars British GP
20 Jul 03  |  Formula One
Silverstone row made simple
21 Jul 03  |  Formula One


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