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Qatar-backed bid to buy Silverstone

ESPNF1 Staff
October 31, 2011 « Only Hamilton and Massa can resolve dispute - McLaren & Ferrari | Hamilton too harsh on himself - Whitmarsh »
The proposed investment will allow ambitious development plans to take place © Getty Images
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A group of investors from Qatar are poised to launch a takeover bid for Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix.

According to reports, the Alpha Group is in advanced talks which would see ownership of the legendary track sold for 150 years. The final deal will have to be approved by the 850 members of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC).

Although Silverstone secured the right to stage the race until 2026, it has struggled to raise the sums needed to invest in a complete refurbishment of the facilities. Silverstone currently has debts of around £22 million ($35m).

The Times reported that Nigel Mansell, a member of the BRDC, had already contacted Derek Warwick, the new BRDC president, seeking reassurance that the circuit would remain in British hands.

But Bernie Ecclestone, who competed in the British Grand Prix in 1958, gave the possible investment his backing. "It's what Silverstone needs," he said. "They need to let the professionals run it.

"The new owners will put proper people in, commercialise it and run it properly. They will get the job done. They won't muck around. Europe has got to understand that Europe will be sold to the Chinese or India or these people in the Middle East.

"We are in no position to compete and this circuit here in India is a good example. This is private enterprise here. There is no government money but these people got on and did it. We sit back and hope it will happen - these people get on with it."