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APRIL 13, 2006

Ecclestone steps back into BRDC fight

Bernie Ecclestone has stepped back into the political fight currently raging within the British Racing Drivers' Club.

According to a story leaked to Autosport magazine, Ecclestone has offered the BRDC a 50-50 deal to secure the future of the British Grand Prix.

The man behind this is Harry Stiller, best known formerly as a successful Formula Three driver in the Sixties and as the man whose financial support helped Alan Jones to make his F1 grand prix debut with a Hesketh 308 in the Spanish Grand Prix in 1975. Now a property developer, Stiller has led the vocal opposition within the club to outgoing president Sir Jackie Stewart's plan to redevelop the venue via a 150-year lease with property development company St Modwen, and for its subsidiary Northern Racing to run the British Grand Prix.

Stiller has called for a vote of no confidence in the BRDC's board of directors.

Ecclestone, a long-time acquaintance of Stiller and no fan of Stewart, told Autosport: "Harry's trying to put something together to retain the British Grand Prix. I said I'd be only too pleased to help. There are various ideas under discussion. He asked me if maybe I could be the promoter. Everything is possible."

Control of the British Grand Prix is one thing Ecclestone has wanted for a long time. The BRDC's current contract to run the race expires in 2009, and Stiller's plan includes basic agreement with Ecclestone to be an equal partner in a 50-50 joint venture between Formula One Management and the BRDC on a long-term - 10 to 15-year - basis.

Stiller's proposal also includes new pit garages and media centre, luxury grandstands, a technology park, an oval track and a possible ÔFormulaOnederland' theme park.