Oct.30 (GMM) Hopes that a British grand prix will be held in 2010 will rise on Friday, when the boss of Silverstone walks into the paddock of the new Yas Marina Circuit.
Ironically, the Northamptonshire venue’s managing director Richard Phillips will be surrounded by the unprecedented opulence of the latest addition to the F1 calendar, which came at a cost of hundreds of millions to the Abu Dhabi state.
Britain, on the other hand, makes no direct financial contribution to its grand prix, with Silverstone privately making a profit of less than 700,000 pounds sterling last year on turnover of 38.2 million.
Silverstone is therefore baulking not necessarily at Bernie Ecclestone’s proposed annual race fee for 2010, but the fact that the figure will increase automatically by 7 per cent every year thereafter.
Jenson Button said it would be “devastating” if he was not able to race as reigning world champion at Silverstone next year.
“Lewis (Hamilton) and myself will both do as much as we can to help,” he said in Abu Dhabi. “I simply cannot imagine not having a British grand prix.”
Phillips is scheduled to meet on Friday with Ecclestone, who has described Abu Dhabi’s new track as the best in F1.
“It’s a bit like Silverstone really when you think about it,” the 79-year-old billionaire joked to reporters.