In what must surely be a bid for good news in F1, Commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone has given Silverstone two days to sign a contract to host the British Grand Prix. The failed attempt to place the Grand Prix at Donington Circuit has left the door open for the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), owners of the Silverstone track, to host the coveted race.
While Ecclestone has rubbished the absolute need for a British Grand Prix, he was keen to give Donington Ventures Leisure ample time to come through with their part of the contract.
He even extended the deadline several times in the hopes that the Donington group could contractually fulfill their obligations.
The Ecclestone bargaining mantra is to place pressure on the opponent with fabricated timelines, denounce the quality of their product, and hint at the loss of their calendar position to other competitors desperate to host a grand prix.
This has born true over two decades of negotiation and is just as true today as it ever was.
How do I know? Today, Ecclestone gave the BRDC two days to sign the contract .
“They say there is not much between us and them, so they should sign,” said Ecclestone. “Maybe they have lost their pen, but if they don’t find it in the next day or two, then that’s it.”
This week, Ecclestone announced that he would like to see more races in F1 with Canada and South Korea on the list.
“I always said that it is possible [we could have a 20-race calendar] and obviously now there are more and more people falling for that idea,” he told the official F1 Web site.
“Nobody needs testing. It was always, in my opinion, that testing costs money while racing brings money. Or let them test on Monday after the race when everybody is at the track, the hotels are paid for, and that huge logistical effort is eliminated.”
Last week, Ecclestone commented on how the shabby facilities needed upgrades at Silverstone.
“People will start to understand when they see these sort of things [the Yas Marina circuit], what we’ve been complaining about with Silverstone and Magny-Cours and all those places,” he said. “It’s not just here, but everywhere that has raised the standard so much higher.
“It’s not just a case of Silverstone signing the contract and paying. They must raise the standard.”
There is nothing like the quaint and perfunctory negotiating stylings of Bernard Charles Ecclestone. Oddly, not long ago, the BRDC gave Ecclestone a two-week deadline to sort the Donington mess out.
The stern warning was that Silverstone would pass on being considered as a rescue venue should the beleaguered deal not work out with Donington’s Simon Gillett.