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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 April, 2004, 12:50 GMT 13:50 UK
GP rights change hands
Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone sees Silverstone's facilities as outdated
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has acquired the rights to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Ecclestone has long been a critic of the circuit, but has used his own money to upgrade its facilities and has now taken control of the race itself.

His Formula One Administration company is being paid 51.8m to take over the event from US-based Interpublic, which wants out of owning motorsport venues.

It remains to be seen whether cash from the deal will be spent at Silverstone.

However, track owners the British Racing Drivers' Club welcomed the news and said they expected the race to continue to be held at the Northamptonshire venue.

In a statement, the Club said: "The BRDC believes it is of paramount importance to the sport and industry in the UK that we retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

"We are continuing discussions with our partners, including Formula One Administration, the Interpublic Group and the British Government, and remain committed to playing our part in retaining the Grand Prix.

"In the expectation that Mr Ecclestone wishes to retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, we welcome the acquisition of the rights to the event by FOA.

"We look forward to hearing Mr Ecclestone's plans for the future success and stability of the British Grand Prix."

Andrew Waller, managing director of Interpublic's Silverstone Motorsport subsidiary, said it was a good deal for all parties and could provide the breakthrough necessary to secure funding for renovation.

"What happens next for Silverstone is potentially very positive," he said. "The rights are in very safe hands with Bernie."

Interpublic will promote this year's British Grand Prix, which is due to take place on 11 July.

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05 Apr 04  |  Formula One
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03 Feb 04  |  Formula One
Ecclestone wins F1 backing
19 Dec 03  |  Formula One
New row over Silverstone
23 Jul 03  |  Formula One

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