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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 16:57 GMT
Ecclestone closes on Belgian deal
Bernie Ecclestone
Ecclestone had offered to promote the Grand Prix at Spa
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he is close to doing a deal with the Belgian government to save the Spa Grand Prix.

Ecclestone said: "We are getting on with it, we are going to sort it out."

Belgian officials want him to promote the race, which he has said he is ready to do. "I'm not happy, but we need to keep Spa alive don't we?" he added.

Ecclestone also said Silverstone must press on with redevelopment plans. "If they don't rebuild, there won't be a Grand Prix at Silverstone," he warned.

There are 19 races on the 2006 F1 calendar, and Ecclestone has pledged to trim it back in coming seasons. "Nineteen is too many," he said.

He has also been consistently critical of Silverstone's outdated facilities, and expects its scheduled revamp to bring it up to the standards of new circuits in Bahrain, Turkey and China.

Ecclestone has been under pressure to guarantee the future of the Belgian GP - hit by poor ticket sales in recent years - as Spa is widely regarded as the world's finest track. Michel Daerden, budget minister in the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia where the race is held, said earlier this week that there was "near agreement" on a deal.

The plan was "practically finalised", Daerden told Belgian agency Belga.

Last season's race went ahead after the regional and national government lent the promoter 15m euros (10m) to pay Ecclestone.

This year's race has been provisionally scheduled for 17 September.




SEE ALSO
Belgians to seek Ecclestone help
08 Nov 05 |  Formula One
Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
23 Feb 05 |  Circuit Guide


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