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Hill fears F1 may drop British GP from calendar

Hill fears F1 may drop British GP from calendar

Former Formula One champion Damon Hill is trying to bring the British Grand Prix back to Silverstone next year but fears the race could be scrapped from the calendar.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone seems convinced that Donington Park will fail to meet Tuesday's deadline to find the cash to redevelop its circuit. That leaves him with three options _ he finds the cash himself, the race goes back to Silverstone or is dropped from the 2010 schedule.
Hill, the 1996 F1 champ, is now president of the British Racing Drivers Club which is negotiating a deal to take the race back to Silverstone. But he believes Ecclestone could earn more money by giving the slot in the calendar to another country.
"He can get a value globally that is far in excess of what he can get for the UK," Hill said. "We can respect that it is a difficult position for him to be in. He has to answer to his shareholders.
"Other countries are bound to pay a premium, but their revenue streams are more open than they are to a promoter in the UK. There are options on the table. There are discussions taking place and I'm hopeful something can be sorted out."
The British GP has been held every year since 1948 but almost was dropped in 2005 because of a dispute between Ecclestone and the BRDC, which refused to pay the race fee he had demanded. The race was left off the provisional race calendar but was reinstated after negotiations produced an agreement.
Ecclestone has long criticized the lack of investment in upgrading Silverstone. The proposed move to Donington Park on a longterm contract was announced in July 2008.
Ecclestone said there would be major development work at Donington, which has been a regular venue for world championship motorcycle races and also the F1 European GP in 1993. But the owners of Donington failed to come up with the 135 million pounds ($220 million; ⁈llion) they needed to redevelop the circuit.
Ecclestone said on Monday he did not regret the initial decision to give the race to Donington.
"If they could have done what they said they were going to do and what the contract said they had to do, it would have been good," he said.


Updated : 2021-03-03 17:07 GMT+08:00