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Silverstone for sale, Ecclestone buyer - report UPDATE #2 There were rumors knocking around at Monaco suggesting that Bernie Ecclestone is going to buy Silverstone, in order to stage the British GP at the Northamptonshire track. It is not the first time there have been such rumors and while such a deal has always made quite a lot of sense, there has never seemed much likelihood of that actually happening. The logic behind such a deal is sound. The British Racing Drivers' Club is supposed to be a social club for racing drivers, but for years it has been highly-politicized because of its desire to run the British Grand Prix. The logic of a sale would be to return the BRDC to the role that it was intended for: giving the club the money to buy a suitable clubhouse somewhere useful (such as London); and to create a trust fund to provide money for such things as scholarships for young drivers and so on.

The rumors of a sale have arisen this time because BRDC chairman Robert Brooks has written to members inviting them to discuss the future role of the BRDC with regard to its responsibilities and functions, and to consider whether or not, under the right terms, and with a commitment to significant further development of the circuit and its facilities, the BRDC would be prepared to divest itself of its current responsibilities at Silverstone and hand these over to a suitable partner.

"The BRDC is fully committed to the objective of extensive and continued development of Silverstone as a world class motor sport facility for competitors, fans and the whole motor sport community in the UK," says BRDC president Damon Hill. "However, it recognizes the need to reform the current relationship between the business and the club for the sake of efficiency and the reputation and security of the BRDC. For the avoidance of doubt, Silverstone is still very much owned by the BRDC. These forums will be an opportunity for members to take part in the debate and inform the board of their wishes for the future of the club. There is unlikely to be any formal decisions made in these forums. Nevertheless, all the members are very keen to create the best conditions for the club's famous circuit to continue to grow and fulfill its enormous potential." Grandprix.com

05/20/09 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. The chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club has backed away from reports that he proposes to sell the 2009 grand prix venue Silverstone.

We reported last week that Robert Brooks had made the proposal, which would have to be supported by the other members of the circuit-owning club, in a confidential letter.

It was suggested the move could be a shot in the arm to the hopes of the Northamptonshire track retaining its formula one round, with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone a possible buyer.

But chairman Brooks told the local Northampton Chronicle and Echo: "Obviously, the BRDC continues to own Silverstone, and I think if we were looking to sell it, we wouldn't set about doing it by getting all the newspapers to write about it."

He admitted, however, that he encourages the BRDC and "the business of Silverstone" to become more distinct.  "But that doesn't mean we're flogging Silverstone," insisted Brooks.

Despite Ecclestone ruling out the idea, Brooks believes Silverstone is the ideal substitute should Donington not be able to host the British grand prix beginning next year.

"We're ready for the 2009 grand prix and we're ready for 2010 if necessary," he said.

"We have to keep investing to keep the circuit up with the best of the best and I think we're going to have a cracking grand prix.  I think everyone will agree when they get to Silverstone this year, it's in the best shape it's ever been."

The 2009 race, theoretically the last at historic Silverstone, takes place on June 21.

05/17/09 (GMM)  In a confidential letter, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club has reportedly proposed to sell the 2009 grand prix venue Silverstone.

The leaked proposal, made in writing by Robert Brooks, would have to be backed by other members of the track-owning club, but the move could theoretically be a shot in the arm to the hopes of the Northamptonshire track of retaining its formula one round.

Amid 2010 host Donington's reported problems, The Guardian newspaper claims that front of the queue to buy Silverstone could be the circuit's seasoned critic Bernie Ecclestone.

Should the F1 chief executive buy Silverstone, he could run the British grand prix at the venue "as he pleases".  The newspaper also claims that the BRDC, which has owned Silverstone since 1971, irritates the 78-year-old billionaire "intensely".

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