Bernie Ecclestone has ruled out formula one returning to Silverstone, even if it means the historic British grand prix must fall off the calendar altogether.

Bernie Ecclestone has ruled out formula one returning to Silverstone, even if it means the historic British grand prix must fall off the calendar altogether.

The F1 chief executive has inked a ten-year deal to see Donington upgrade its facility and begin hosting the race beginning next year.

But amid scepticism the circuit can deliver its promises for 2010, British motor racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart believes F1 should safeguard the country's place on the calendar.

He thinks that if the Donington deal falls through, Silverstone should host the event by default.

"Well, I think Bernie is a Brit and a proud Brit and I don't think he really wants to see no British grand prix," Stewart recently told the BBC.

"I think that (Britain no longer having a grand prix) would be a very negative thing on him and the people around him."

But Ecclestone on Friday insisted that Donington's failure would mean Britain no longer featuring on the calendar, perhaps for good.

His plan is for a 20-race calendar, but events in South Korea and India are already lined up, as are a group of prospective venues.

"We haven't got a spare date," the 78-year-old told The Guardian. "We're in trouble. We need a date. We're going to be in trouble if we do have Donington."

Ecclestone said that if Donington does not join the calendar as scheduled, it will provide a place for another host nation, not for Silverstone.

"We left there because I'm trying to improve facilities throughout the world," he explained, "and when I get people to build new circuits to the standard which we're trying to reach, how can we go back to Silverstone?

"I negotiated a deal for them many years ago to give them enough money to build what we wanted. They didn't build it," added Ecclestone.