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  1. ITV Report

Bernie Ecclestone hints British Grand Prix could disappear from F1 calendar for a year

Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that the British Grand Prix could disappear from the Formula One calendar for a year while the future of the race is decided.

It comes after the owners of Silverstone, the long-standing home of the event, revealed it is considering dropping the race due to the increased cost of running it.

Following that revelation Formula One Chief Executive Eccestone told ITV News that he did not want to lose the race, but added: "Maybe there will have to be a year without it, but normally we are going to be alright."

Eccestone suggested the race could move to another venue, saying: "We are not worried about losing Formula One from England, I am worried about losing Formula One at Silverstone that is all."

He said the company has "two other opportunities in England."

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in July 2016. Credit: AP

When pressed by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot over whether the race could be held at Brands Hatch or in London, Ecclestone replied: "I'm not going to say where it is."

He added that it is "a bit of a pity" the British Government do not help fund the event.

The last Grand Prix held at Silverstone in July attracted 139,000 fans. Credit: AP

In a letter seen by ITV News, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) told its members of the "potentially ruinous risk" of continuing to host an event that is loss-making.

The BRDC has a contract with Formula One to host the British GP until 2026, but is considering activating a break clause.

Part of the letter seen by ITV News from the BRDC chairman. Credit: ITV News

The Northamptonshire venue is owned and run by the BRDC, but chairman John Grant issued a stark warning that the club may have to break the contract because if feels the fee it pays F1 for the right to host the race is too high.

The man who brokered the last deal to save the British Grand Prix has called on the UK Government to back the event financially or risk losing one of the country's best "shop windows".

Former Formula One champion Damon Hill talks to Prince Harry at the Silverstone circuit. Credit: AP

Former Formula One world champion Damon Hill was president of the BRDC in 2009 when it signed a 17-year deal to keep the race at its long-standing home, Silverstone.

Hill told ITV News: "The FIA have got a responsibility to help promote the circuits and could do more in terms of cash.

"The owners of Silverstone have done a great job in carrying the load, but no one is making any money. As a national sport, it should qualify for some sort of contribution from the country."