LONDON (Reuters) - Silverstone circuit’s owners have secured the future of the British Grand Prix after agreeing a deal with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, newspapers reported on Monday.
The Times website (www.timesonline.co.uk) said Ecclestone had agreed to forego fees amounting to 60 million pounds over a 17-year period as part of a 310 million pound deal with Silverstone to save the race.
It said the deal included a five percent annual escalator clause, instead of the seven percent that Ecclestone reportedly demanded initially, with a break clause after 10 years.
“It has been a long and tiring nonsense,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying. “They (Silverstone) could have done this whole thing months and months ago.”
The British Racing Drivers’ Club, who own Silverstone, has scheduled a news conference with president and 1996 champion Damon Hill for Monday to clarify the future of the grand prix and said last week it will not make any comment until then.
The Guardian agreed the race was safe but suggested it could only be for a five-year period with Silverstone paying around 14 million pounds in 2010 with a seven percent annual escalator.
Silverstone, a former World War Two airfield, hosted the first championship grand prix in 1950 but appeared to have lost out after Ecclestone agreed a 17-year deal with Donington Park from 2010.
That plan fell apart when Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, now in administration, failed to raise the money needed to develop the facilities.
The final 2010 calendar, with a record-equalling 19 races provisionally listed, is due to be finalised on Wednesday and published on Friday.
Britain is home to a majority of the 13 teams while the country has also provided the last two world champions in Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Next year’s British race is due to be held on July 11, the same day as the World Cup final in South Africa.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Greg Stutchbury
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