Silverstone gets new Grand Prix deadline

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

World champion Jenson Button may not have a home race next year
World champion Jenson Button may not have a home race next year

Silverstone has been given a new deadline of December 11th to get a deal in place to hold the British Grand Prix.

Bernie Ecclestone had previously given the circuit until November 7th to sign a contract but, not for the first time in his negotiations over the 2010 British Grand Prix, the critical date has been moved back.

However it seems what Silverstone realy needs from Ecclestone is not more time to settle a deal but more favourable terms.

Three days ago Donington Ventures Leisure Limited went into administration having failed to complete the work they needed to host the 2010 British F1 round at Donington Park. It’s hard to credit their optimistic claims they might still hold a British round of the world championship in 2011.

It’s not unreasonable for the British Racing Drivers’ Club to want to avoid a similar fate by locking themselves into the same payment structure Donington were facing – a 17-year deal costing them a total of ??370m.

Silverstone is developing other areas of its business in order to remain profitable. A new complex at Stowe has been revealed which is designed for testing cars and motoring products.

Ecclestone, as ever, refuses to countenance giving Silverstone special treatment in order to secure a British Grand Prix in the calendar. He told The Times:

Of course we want a British Grand Prix. I?ve been spending an awful lot of time trying make sure it does happen, but there is no chance of an exceptional contract for Silverstone. Why should there be?
Bernie Ecclestone

I’m sure many of us can think of good answers why F1 should not cut yet another popular and historic race from its calendar.

It seems hard to believe F1 could end up with a Lewis HamiltonJenson Button British ‘superteam’ at McLaren – but no British Grand Prix. But those who’ve been following F1 a long time have become used to seeing the sport shoot itself in the foot in this way.

There have been optimistic rumours about government ministers getting involved (there is a general election next year which the current government is expected to lose, which might encourage some action), and a potential combined deal which would also bring the French Grand Prix back as a 20th race in 2010.

So far none of this has come to pass. In the final reckoning, it will surely come down to Ecclestone’s call whether he wants a British Grand Prix on the calendar in 2010. An this time his deadline might be a real one.

19 days and counting.

Silverstone, Donington and the 2010 British Grand Prix