British GP saga close to conclusion
I heard whispers earlier this week that a deal had actually been done, if not yet signed. But Damon Hill - the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club which owns Silverstone - tells me that is not yet the case.
Hill says there is "no reason to think it won't be signed" but long experience of working with Ecclestone has taught him not to presume anything will happen before it actually does.
"It would be almost inconceivable for there not to be a British Grand Prix next year," Hill said on Thursday, "but until it is signed, there is always the possibility that will be the case."
There is no doubt that both the BRDC and Ecclestone's F1 Management (FOM) company are keen to sort it out and secure the race's future in the wake of the fiasco over Donington Park's failure to raise the funds needed to fulfil its contract to host the race.
They have reached broad agreement on a multi-year contract for the British GP to be held at Silverstone, and only the fine details of the deal remain to be resolved.
But as Hill says: "It's not done until it's done, and until it's done to our satisfaction, it won't be signed.
"There has been an intensive period of negotiation about the fine detail, which we're hopeful will get us to the point of being able to sign a contract - but nothing has been signed yet."
The BRDC's concern is the level of financial risk to which it is exposed - it remains steadfast in its position that it cannot put the future of the company at jeopardy just for the sake of the grand prix.
"We're down to the finer points, but they are crucial points," Hill says. "The small details are important details - it's to do with the liability that is undertaken and whether it's acceptable.
"It's potentially very serious and that's why it's important to get it resolved."
Hill would not expand on what specifically "liability" meant, but a source reasonably close to the BRDC - but with no knowledge of the talks - told me that it might well be that Ecclestone is trying to lay off some of his own financial risk on to Silverstone in return for what he considers to be a cut-price deal for the race.
The risk for the BRDC if that is the case is that it would make the insurance premiums rise dramatically.
Or it might be that in return for the reduced race fee Ecclestone is demanding Silverstone share some of the revenues it will earn from ticket sales - a track's only source of income given that FOM owns the advertising rights - and that the BRDC has to guarantee a minimum amount.
Given the small margins on which the BRDC operates, get any calculation like that wrong and it could be disastrous.
Ecclestone is on holiday at the moment. He is renowned for pushing as hard as he can for the best deal for himself but in this situation it is also well known that not only does he want a British GP, but so do the F1 teams and the owners of the the sport's commercial rights, the venture capital company CVC.
Silverstone is his only option, so one assumes that the two sides will reach an agreement by the deadline of next Tuesday - the day before a meeting of the World Council of F1's governing body, the FIA, decides the official 2010 F1 calendar on 9 December.
Elsewhere in F1, there looks to have been a major development on the subject of Renault's future in the sport.
The sun seems to be setting on Renault's time in F1 as a constructor
On Thursday, the respected French newspaper L'Equipe published a report saying Renault president Carlos Ghosn had now decided that the company would cease its involvement as a car constructor, while remaining an engine supplier, and was looking for a way out that would enable the team to survive. The situation is being discussed at a meeting of Ghosn and his heads of department on Thursday - and again at a conseil d'administration (executive board meeting) next week.
The story is written by the journalist Anne Giuntini, who is very well connected at Renault, so I am pretty confident that it is accurate.
Giuntini's report says Renault is trying to strike a deal to sell the team to Prodrive, the engineering company behind the Subaru world rally team which is run by former Benetton and BAR F1 team boss David Richards.
Prodrive, who had an F1 entry for 2010 turned down by the FIA in the summer, would not comment specifically when contacted by BBC Sport, but a spokesman pointedly did not deny the story.
"We're looking at all the opportunities and the reasons for going in (to F1) would be based on the same criteria we set 12 months ago - competitiveness and cost-effectiveness," he said. "We are looking at everything that's out there."
An intriguing corollary of Renault pulling out would be that the highly rated Robert Kubica could be back on the driver market.
Kubica chats to Alonso - could they be Ferrari team-mates in 2011?
There is one obvious vacancy at a potentially front-running team - the second seat at Mercedes (formerly Brawn) that has recently been linked with Michael Schumacher.
Almost unbelievably, though, it seems Mercedes sports boss Norbert Haug is not interested in Kubica, feeling that the Pole's former BMW Sauber team-mate Nick Heidfeld is a better bet should Schumacher not be available.
Haug is in a minority of approximately one in the F1 paddock if he does believe that.
Whether that happens and what he does in the meantime remains to be seen, but it is surely inconceivable that the man who wrestled an uncompetitive BMW Sauber to a brilliant second place in Brazil in October could be without a drive in 2010.