8 Dec 2009

Silverstone to host British F1 GP for next 17 years

1:58 pm on 8 December 2009

Silverstone's owners have secured the future of the British Formula One Grand Prix after agreeing a 17-year deal with the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone once described the former World War Two airfield circuit as a country fair masquerading as a world event.

He's been a fierce critic over the years but Damon Hill, the 1996 world champion and president of the British Racing Drivers' Club that owns the circuit, says Ecclestone and the club are keen to get the circuit up to a suitable standard.

Hill says failure might have caused lasting damage to the sport in a country that is home to a majority of the 13 Formula One teams and has provided the last two champions in Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

Work on a new pit and paddock complex will start after Christmas to be finished in time for 2011.

Next year's British Grand Prix is scheduled for July 11th, the same day as the football World Cup final in South Africa.

Silverstone 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 failed to raise the cash required.