Formula 1 chiefs save British Grand Prix

December 7, 2009 — Updated 1427 GMT (2227 HKT)

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Drivers take the start of the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in June 2009.

Drivers take the start of the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in June 2009.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Formula 1 will continue in Britain after deal between Silverstone and sport’s chief Bernie Ecclestone
  • Announcement by the track’s owners means the oldest race on the F1 calendar keeps its place
  • Donington was to host British Grand Prix from 2010 but failed to secure $200 million for redevelopment
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London, England (CNN) — Formula 1 will continue to take place in Britain for the next 17 years after a deal was struck between Silverstone’s owners and the sport’s chief Bernie Ecclestone.

Monday’s announcement by the track’s owners means the oldest venue on the F1 calendar keeps its place.

Silverstone’s comeback took place despite rival track Donington Park being awarded the contract to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.

However, that circuit lost out after failing to secure the $200 million needed to fund redevelopment plans. That had led to fears Ecclestone would look to move the race abroad.

Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips told the Press Association: “We’ve always had five-year deals and never been able to get the investment we needed to redevelop.

“But 17 years gives us the ability to invest and move forward. We’ve always had the belief the British Grand Prix was an important cornerstone of Formula One but, with Bernie, you’re never quite sure.

Phillips described the deal as “peace in our time” between the circuit’s owners, the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), and Ecclestone.

“The relationship with Formula One Management has been improving,” added Phillips. “There’s a good working relationship with him now and we don’t have any issues.”

Applauding the negotiating team, BRDC president and 1996 F1 world champion Damon Hill told the Press Association: “It’s not easy to enter into an agreement of this magnitude. It’s a big commitment.

“But the BRDC felt we wanted this relationship to continue, and we were prepared to back the negotiating team, with the level of risk satisfactory for the deal to go ahead.

“This announcement is tremendous news. It really does cement Silverstone as a motor sport venue and is incredibly satisfying for the BRDC to cement its relationship with F1.”

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