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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 April 2006, 14:38 GMT 15:38 UK
BRDC leaves Ecclestone door open
Formula One cars prepare for the start of the 2004 British Grand Prix
The original 600m redevelopment plans met with huge opposition
The owners of Silverstone have given a cautious welcome to reports that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is backing a new proposal to redevelop the venue.

The new plan would see the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) - which owns the track - and Ecclestone jointly promoting the British Grand Prix.

BRDC president Sir Jackie Stewart said: "I'd be happy to hear any proposal.

"Previously Bernie has not shown any interest. This may be a change of position, which I am encouraged by."

The 66-year-old, who will stand down as president at the end of this month, added: "We speak quite often and this has not come up, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good idea.

"Without hearing exactly what the proposal is I can't say much more."

The BRDC board had backed the original plans for the redevelopment, which involved leasing the Silverstone circuit to developer St Modwen for 150 years.

But opposition to the project, led by ex-Formula Three driver Harry Stiller, was so fierce than BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt admitted last month that there was little prospect of them being approved by BRDC members.

If Mr Ecclestone is prepared to assist, we would look at it - the door is open
BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt

According to the Daily Telegraph, Stiller is the instigator behind new redevelopment proposals, which would guarantee the British Grand Prix for 10 years.

The BRDC and Ecclestone would share the costs of upgrading the circuit and split the profits from gate money and sponsorship and advertising revenues but all the assets would be retained by the BRDC.

The BRDC and Ecclestone signed a contract last December, securing Silverstone's role as the host of the British Grand Prix until 2009.

But the haggling over terms in the lead-up to that deal had become so bitter that at one stage Ecclestone had instructed his lawyers to issue a libel writ against Stewart.

Despite that, Rolt said that the organisation would be interested in hearing any ideas Ecclestone might have for redevelopment and said that funding was the key to any deal.

I'd be only too pleased to help - everything is possible
Bernie Ecclestone

"If it ensures the British Grand Prix stays at Silverstone and is good for the BRDC, we would always looks at any proposals," said Rolt.

"I don't know if Mr Ecclestone has had a change of heart about the BRDC and our desire to keep the Grand Prix. If he's prepared to assist, we would look at it. The door is open."

"Funding is the key. We've taken a view that it requires a level of funding which is beyond this club.

"If there is another deal, and if that is with Mr Ecclestone, there may be something we can do together. I'm sure there won't be a deal which isn't beneficial to him."

Ecclestone was quoted by Autosport as saying: "Harry's trying to put something together to retain the British Grand Prix.

"I said I'd be only too pleased to help. There are various ideas under discussion. He asked me if maybe I could be the promoter. Everything is possible."

It is believed that Stiller will formally unveil the new plan on 28 April, when there will be a general meeting for a vote of no confidence in the BRDC board.

Stewart will step down as president on that date with Damon Hill expected to be voted in as his successor.




SEE ALSO
BRDC abandons Silverstone scheme
30 Mar 06 |  Formula One
Delay for Silverstone renovation
22 Feb 06 |  Formula One
New lease of life for Silverstone
06 Feb 06 |  Formula One
BRDC split on Silverstone future
31 Jan 06 |  Formula One
Silverstone eyes 600m facelift
04 Oct 05 |  Formula One
Silverstone seals British GP deal
09 Dec 04 |  Formula One
Stewart to quit as BRDC president
23 Jan 06 |  Motorsport


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