Silverstone saved for next five years

Updated: December 9, 2004, 12:10 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- The British Grand Prix will remain on the Formula One calendar for the next five years at Silverstone after being threatened with cancellation.

A deal was reached Thursday between the British Racing Drivers' Club, owners of the Silverstone circuit, and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone, Jordan team owner Eddie Jordan said.

"It will cost us money to do it, but I think it's a justified case,'' Jordan said. "The history of Grand Prix racing revolves around Silverstone, so I am overjoyed this has happened.''

There will now be 19 F1 races next season, with the final 2005 calendar announced Friday in Monaco.

F1's 10 teams agreed to share a loss reported at $38 million to finance the British GP. Seven of the teams are based in Britain or have connections with Britain.

Ecclestone has long been unhappy with the aging former World War II airfield, located an hour north of London. In addition, the owners of the BRDC were several millions dollars short of meeting Ecclestone's fee to hold the race.

To make up for the shortfall, government officials granted tax breaks to keep the race in Britain. The British government is also funding a motor racing center near Silverstone, which is expected to attract high-tech companies linked to F1.

British Sports Minister Richard Caborn called it "a great day for the future of the motor industry in the UK.''

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press