FEBRUARY 22, 2007
Rumours of alternation
The British and the French Grands Prix are both under pressure at the moment - even if the British Racing Drivers' Club at Silverstone seems to be blissfully unaware that Bernie Ecclestone was not kidding when he said that work must be done before the track will be granted a new contract after the current deal runs out in 2009. France seems to be willing to accept a situation in which it can alternate the race with Britain but there is likely to be considerable resistance to the idea in Britain - not least from the Formula 1 teams who consider the British event to be one of the most important for them.
The problem is that the Formula One group has a deal with the FIA which means that both races must remain on the calendar and the idea of alternation is one way to argue that this has been achieved.
There remains the possibility of a race at Donington Park in the longer term but the new "owners" of the track may not own quite as much as it has been suggested. Our understanding is that the track and the land are still owned by Tom Wheatcroft and that there is a lucrative leasing arrangement in place which gives the newcomers "ownership" of the land and facilities for an unknown fixed term. Wheatcroft has always said that he would be happy to host a Grand Prix but is not going to pay the kind of fees that the Formula One group is used to getting from the big government-backed races in the Middle East and Asia.
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