Silverstone has secured the British Grand Prix for the next 17 years despite there having been other countries 'desperate' to steal the race's slot on the 2010 world championship calendar, the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has revealed.

After the Donington Park d?b?cle finally came to a sorry conclusion last month, the wheels were set in motion to continue staging the blue riband event on the annual UK motorsport calendar at its traditional home - but it took until yesterday for Silverstone's owners the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) and Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone to agree satisfactory terms [see separate story - click here].

However, the 79-year-old billionaire has admitted that he could have made far more money had he scrapped one of the most historic outings on the schedule in favour of holding an event elsewhere - but even if he is a Brit himself, he insists patriotism played no part in his rare display of generosity in agreeing to lower his demands.

"Definitely," Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph when asked if he could have more successfully filled his pockets by ditching the British Grand Prix in favour of a race in a different country. "A lot more, an awful lot more. There are other places desperate for races, but there was no more money in Europe.

"I got fed up with the whingeing and moaning. It has taken too long, but now Silverstone can get on with it for years to come and make a fortune. I didn't have any special sentiment because it was Britain, but if people think I helped then that's nice."

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