British Grand Prix: Future of Formula One racing at Silverstone in doubt as owners activate break clause

London: Silverstone will not host the British Grand Prix after 2019 unless the circuit's owners gets a better financial deal from Formula One owners, they announced on Tuesday just days ahead of this year's renewal.

The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) — who own Silverstone — announced they were triggering a break clause in its 17-year contract and the Grand Prix would not be raced on their prized possession post-2019 unless a revised agreement can be reached with Liberty Media, who were not the owners of Formula One when the original deal began in 2010.

FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, July 10, 2016, Britain's Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning the British Formula One Grand Prix at the Silverstone racetrack, Silverstone, England. The future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is under threat after the circuit’s owners, British Racing Drivers’ Club triggered a break clause in its contract, saying it lost 2.8 million pounds (now about $3.5 million) in 2015, and 2019 will be the last unless F1 owner Liberty reduces the race fee. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, FILE)

Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium after winning his third British Grand Prix title in 2016. AP

"This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our current contract," BRDC chairman John Grant said.

"We sustained losses of £2.8m (3.1m, $3.6m) in 2015 and £4.8m in 2016, and we expect to lose a similar amount this year.

"We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads.

"It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us.

"However, I want to be clear that although we have now activated the break clause, we are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience.

"Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached, so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come," added Grant whose body has been in talks with Liberty over the issue.

Liberty chairman Chase Carey had told the BBC prior to the expected announcement that it is his preferred option indeed his priority the race stays at Silverstone but did also warn BRDC that there were other possibilities.

"There is interest from other places, other UK options, that would have appeal," the American said.

Former world champion and four-time British Grand Prix winner Nigel Mansell, who tasted victory three times in the race at Silverstone, believes it would be "a very sad day" if the circuit no longer hosted grand prix racing.

"Silverstone has the history of F1," the Briton told BBC Sport.

"They deserve to have the recognition for the historical value the circuit has, which has contributed to some incredible races.

"Hopefully the new F1 owners will review their thoughts and think there is a better value to that than throw it away."

Nearly 140,000 spectators watched Britain's triple world champion Lewis Hamilton claim his third consecutive win at Silverstone last year.

A near sell-out crowd is expected again this weekend as Hamilton bids to reduce rival Sebastian Vettel's 20-point lead in the title race.

The circuit, unlike many other tracks on the F1 calendar, receives no government backing.

However, the BRDC have been hit financially by the hosting fee which goes up by five percent every year — from £12million in 2010, the year in which the new long-term deal started, to £17million this season and £26million in 2026.


Published Date: Jul 11, 2017 10:31 pm | Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 10:36 pm


Also See