The deafening silence surrounding the negotiations to hold the British Grand Prix at Silverstone next year has been broken by the circuit’s managing director Richard Phillips, who went on BBC Radio to say a deal is close to being struck.
“I’m pretty convinced that it will be run at Silverstone next year,” he said, adding that the circuit was still seeking a long-term deal so that it had stability to redevelop its facilities: “We certainly would like the contract to be for more than 10 years – that’s the minimum.”
Until his interview with local radio in Northampton there had been little solid information about the fate of the race once plans to hold it at Donington Park collapsed, just some very public posturing by the circuit and by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about the viability of the proposed contract.
But now it seems most of the big problems have been sorted out and all that remains is poring over the fine print.
He said: “I don’t think there are any real stumbling blocks, we’re going through the last details of the deal. You can come to high level agreements quickly, but the devil is in the detail. We’re very, very close. There is a lot of detail to go through so, if you make a mistake, there’s a long time to repent.”
And he confirmed what many observers long suspected – that Silverstone had been actively preparing to hold the race even when it was officially in the hands of Donington Park: “We always had the faith that the Grand Prix would return, we’ve been planning for more than a year. We’ll finish the track works in March and start on the new pits ready for 2011.”