Sat, Dec 11, 2004 - Page 19 News List

British GP set for five years after a deal with circuit

AP , LONDON

The British Grand Prix, threatened with cancellation in recent months, will remain on the Formula One calendar for the next five years at Silverstone.

The British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns the Silverstone circuit, reached the deal Thursday with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

"There has been much public debate on the future of the British Grand Prix," BRDC president Jackie Stewart and chairman Ray Bellm said in a statement. "We hope that this agreement heralds a more stable and secure future for the race and, consequently, for our industry and sport in the United Kingdom."

Ecclestone issued a brief statement saying, "I am extremely happy that with the help of Ray Bellm of BRDC, we have reached a five-year agreement with Silverstone."

The deal ensures there will be 19 F1 races next season. The final 2005 calendar will be announced Friday in Monaco.

F1's 10 teams agreed to share a loss reported at ?20 million (US$38 million) to finance the British GP. Seven of the teams are based in Britain or have connections with Britain.

Jordan team owner Eddie Jordan said the deal "will cost us money to do it, but I think it's a justified case," he said.

"The history of grand prix racing revolves around Silverstone, so I am overjoyed this has happened," Jordan said.

Williams team owner Frank Williams said he was "truly delighted" by the deal. His team's headquarters is located 25 km from the track.

"I am not only thrilled for the fans, but also for the staff at Williams and other UK teams who will be able to see their cars race on home turf," he said.

Ecclestone has long been unhappy with the aging former World War II airfield.

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