Bernie Ecclestone has once again cast doubt over the future of Silverstone as a grand prix venue, despite the 'Lewis Hamilton Effect' ensuring record ticket sales ahead of the 2008 race.

The British Grand Prix has been a regular fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since 1950, but in recent years has come in for a good deal of condemnation from the sport's governing body. Though Silverstone has a guaranteed place on the F1 schedule for the next two years, Ecclestone refused to offer any such security beyond that.

"I think we've got a contract up to 2009," he told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme. "After that, I've no idea. They know what they've got to do if they want to retain it, but maybe they don't want to."

A vociferous critic of the circuit's facilities, F1's ringmaster also made no bones about the fact he would have few second thoughts about removing Silverstone from the calendar post-2009, and admitted the prospect of no British Grand Prix was a more than realistic one.

"There are a lot of things," he underlined. "They need to be paying the rate other Europeans are paying, and they have to get the circuit and track up to a standard. It can't be comparable to most of them, but it needs to be an acceptable standard."