British GP set to be saved

The British Formula One Grand Prix looks set to be saved with government officials optimistic of a Friday announcement. Talks between Formula One chiefs and Silverstone's owners are understood to be at an advanced stage and a statement is expected before the start of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka. The Government have refused to use taxpayers' money to bail out the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) but it is thought an incentives package for the circuit, arranged through the East Midlands Development Agency, could smooth the way for an agreement. The move should enable the BDRC to bridge the 800,000-pound gap between their offer and Formula One's demands for the rights to stage the British Grand Prix. Sports minister Richard Caborn has been reluctant to act as a mediator between BRDC president Jackie Stewart and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone but has facilitating talks between the parties. A source close to the minister told the Press Association: "He is now much more confident that a deal can be delivered than he was last week. The two sides have been back in useful negotiations and they both know the grand prix is too big to drop for both of them. "Although it is not 100% yet, he has high hopes there will be an announcement before the end of the week." The final deadline for a deal is next Wednesday, October 13, when next year's provisional Formula One calendar goes before the FIA world motorsports council meeting. Only 17 out of a possible 19 dates are on the list so Ecclestone has left space for Silverstone to be included if he so wishes.

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