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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
British GP given provisional date
Silverstone 2004
Silverstone has been named on the provisional calendar for 2005
The British Grand Prix has been given a provisional date of 3 July on next year's draft Formula One calendar.

Silverstone's owner the British Racing Drivers' Club and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone must agree a commercial deal before the race's place is confirmed.

France and San Marino were also given provisional dates by F1's governing body the FIA on Wednesday.

BRDC president Jackie Stewart described the move as "progress", but added that "no deal has been concluded".

"We are pleased with progress so far and will continue negotiations that we hope will conclude with a financially viable British Grand Prix which in turn will help create a platform for sustainable development of Silverstone," he added

The BRDC is reported to be seeking a two-year deal to stage the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, followed by talks on the following five years.

PROVISIONAL CALENDAR
Australia: 6 March
Malaysia: 20 March
Bahrain: 3 April
France: 17 April
San Marino: 24 April
Spain: 8 May
Monaco: 22 May
Europe: Date TBC
Canada: 12 June
United States: Date TBC
Britain: 3 July
Germany: 17 July
Hungary: 21 July
Turkey: 31 August
Italy: 4 September
Belgium: 11 September
Brazil: 25 September
Japan: 9 October
China: Date TBC
But Ecclestone is said to be offering a contract for next year followed by negotiations on the following six.

BRDC chief exective Alex Hooton said: "We are obviously encouraged by the improved situation of now being on the calendar with a conditional date as opposed to being off it completely.

"We are currently considering the terms of the draft agreement provided to us by Mr Ecclestone which will need further negotiation. But we are hopeful of concluding the matter as soon as we can.

"Any uncertainty and delay beyond the end of October will have an adverse impact on the marketing and ticket sales for the event."

Stewart said earlier on Wednesday that "the actual money to put on the Grand Prix" had not yet been sourced.

"We can't bankrupt the BRDC, a 75-year-old small company, in order to pay the sort of money we are being asked to pay by Mr Ecclestone," he told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

The current negotiations are reported not to involve Brand Synergy, the company which includes Nigel Mansell as one of its backers.

The calendar will be finalised when the FIA's world motor sport council meets on 10 December.

The promoters of the three provisional dates must conclude talks with Ecclestone by then, while the three races yet to have dates confirmed - Europe (at Germany's Nurburgring), United States and China - will also be finalised in time for the meeting.

The provisional calendar also includes a date in Turkey for the first time, with a race at a new venue near Istanbul pencilled in for 21 August.

Ecclestone is limited to 17 Grands Prix a year by contract with the teams and must trim his draft calendar of 19 if he is to avoid a costly pay-out.

SILVERSTONE ROW HISTORY
June 1998 - Bernie Ecclestone sells rights to British GP to US company Octagon
December 2000 - Octagon agrees 15-year lease of Silverstone to run British GP
March 2003 - Octagon pulls out of its motorsport business because of debts, leaving race needing new promoter
Sep 2004 - Britain omitted from provisional 2005 calendar because of lack of agreement on promoter
Oct 2004 British GP named on draft 2005 F1 calendar

This year he had a multi-million pound bill for paying the teams to participate in an 18th race.

As has become traditional for F1, the season will start at Melbourne in Australian on 6 March before moving on to Malaysia's Sepang circuit.

China will host the final race of the season on a date yet to be confirmed, taking that honour away from Brazil, which was given it for the first time this year.

The negotiations between the BRDC and Ecclestone have been assisted by Sports Minister Richard Caborn but the Government have resisted calls to stump up enough money to secure the race for the foreseeable future.

Shadow Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has called for the Government to do more.

The Conservative MP said: "The government has been keen to take the credit for Silverstone being on the draft calendar for 2005.

"But they need to do more than get Britain on the provisional Formula One list - Britain should be a certain destination for Formula One every year.

"Hundreds of thousands of motor racing fans, 40,000 people who are employed in the industry and our position as a leading sporting nation deserves no less."





SEE ALSO
Team bosses hopeful for GP
09 Oct 04  |  Formula One
British GP still uncertain
07 Oct 04  |  Formula One
Button in Silverstone plea
07 Oct 04  |  Formula One
GP 'to stay at Silverstone'
09 Oct 04  |  Formula One
The lowdown on the Silverstone saga
01 Oct 04  |  Formula One
British GP axed
30 Sep 04  |  Formula One


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