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BRDC in talks with British government over financial aid for Silverstone F1 race

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BIRMINGHAM, UK – British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) president Derek Warwick has confirmed that discussions are underway with UK parliament regarding financial aid for the annual Formula 1 race at Silverstone.

A leaked letter from BRDC chairman John Grant revealed last week that Silverstone is considering dropping the British Grand Prix after 2019 due to “ruinous” costs.

The track has a break clause in its F1 contract that would need to be triggered before the 2017 race, set to take place in July.

Concerns have been raised about the future of one of F1’s oldest races as a result, with alternative venues such as Donington Park and Brands Hatch seeming unviable.

Speaking at Autosport International in Birmingham, England on Friday, Warwick expressed his confidence that the race would continue after 2019.

“I have just got a feeling that we can’t do without the British Grand Prix, we can’t do without Silverstone, so some compromise will be made,” Warwick said.

“Either with Bernie [Ecclestone] or the new people that are now taking over, which is Liberty. We have had meetings with Liberty and Chase Carey, he understands our dilemma. We understand he still has to make money because that’s what these guys are doing.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, we will have grands prix past 2019.”

Warwick also revealed that the BRDC is talking with the British government regarding financial aid for the race, as enjoyed by a number of other F1 events across the world.

“We’re talking to government to see if there is any help there,” Warwick said.

“Even Bernie is calling us and saying: ‘Let’s set up a meeting and we’ll talk about it’.

“We are feeling very positive at the minute.”

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”