As if there wasn't enough confusion already swarming around the F1 paddock this weekend, Max Mosley has now suggested that it is 'highly probable' that the British Grand Prix will remain at Silverstone next year rather than switching to Donington Park – flying in the face of the conviction of his long-time ally and business partner Bernie Ecclestone.
It was recently revealed that – having agreed a ten-year contract with Ecclestone last summer to take over as host of the blue riband
event on the UK motorsport calendar from 2010 onwards, and having now seemingly surmounted most of the stumbling blocks in the way of its £80 million redevelopment programme to bring it up to the required F1 standard – Donington's deal had been extended to 17 years, taking it all the way through to 2027.
What's more, both the top flight's commercial rights-holder and the FIA President have been vociferous in their denigration of Silverstone's facilities for some time, with Ecclestone insistent that if the race is not held at Donington, it will not be held anywhere. However, in a complete volte-face – a situation becoming less-and-less unusual in F1 these days – it seems Mosley, at least, has had a change of heart.
“I think the chance of there not being a British Grand Prix next year is very small,” the Englishman told the BBC
. “My personal view – and it's not for me to decide – is that it is highly probable it will be at Silverstone, but that remains to be seen.”
Ex-grand prix star Mark Blundell has also hinted that the celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing' could remain on the calendar beyond the current campaign – albeit not as an official 'F1' event, but rather as part of the Formula One Teams' Association's new breakaway series.
“This time next year we might have two top motorsport events in this country,” the former McLaren, Tyrrell and Ligier ace wrote in his Daily Telegraph
column, “one at Donington Park and one at Silverstone. The one taking place here (Silverstone) might be a grand prix rather than a Formula 1 grand prix, but we will just have to wait and see.”
Of the 59 British Grands Prix to-date, Silverstone has played host to 42, and the popular Northants circuit was also the venue for the very first round of the modern F1 World Championship all the way back in 1950. Drivers and teams alike have been almost unanimous in expressing their sadness at its expected loss.