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Ecclestone spoils the party

Though rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton was unable to convert his amazing qualifying lap in to a win, the crowd at Silverstone on Sunday was clearly happy.

The 'weather gods' ensured that conditions were ideal, while the F1 and GP2 boys provided plenty of entertainment. There was even a smattering of 'celebrities'.

In many ways it was one of the things that the British do best, an open air celebration... it's just a pity that 'party pooper' Bernie Ecclestone had to spoil it.

While they made their way to the Northamptonshire temple to worship their racing gods, determined to brave the weather, the muddy fields, the luke warm beer and the smell of fried onions, Bernie was preparing to shatter the dream that days like these can last forever.

Talking to reporters, the Englishman reminded everyone that, under the circumstances, Silverstone has just two more races before it is dropped from the F1 calendar.

Ecclestone is demanding changes aimed at bringing Silverstone in to the 21st Century, and he wants them in place by next year. However, first there is the little question of money, with Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), saying they need at least £25m.

Even an 85,000 strong crowd and a British driver team leading the World Championships hasn't changed Ecclestone's opinion.

"It hasn't changed anything has it?" he said. "Maybe they will be able to wake up and think they can make things work and do something.

"We have a contract that's been in place for five years," he continued, "they've known for five years exactly what has to happen. By mid 2008 we've got to have the new buildings and everything put in place. I hope they've had a wake-up call and I hope they do something."

BRDC President, 1996 World Champion Damon Hill, remains confident, even though the clock is ticking.

"The story is well known that we want to develop Silverstone and there is a plan in place," he said, according to Reuters. "I'm very positive that it will be a good ending to this saga and that Silverstone will keep pace with Formula One."

The 85,000 that made their way to the former airfield on Sunday will certainly hope so.
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