It has been reported that the owners of Silverstone, the British Racing Drivers Club, are considering dropping the British GP after 2019.
Reports emerged on Thursday that the BRDC had sent a letter last month to its members stating that there was the possibility of exercising a break clause in the contract and that it was being considered due to “potentially ruinous risk” due to the hosting fees levied upon the venues to host Formula One. “The board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 British GP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the contract at the end of 2019” wrote BRDC chairman John Grant in the members letter. It also references to the fact that no European venue makes profit on hosting F1, another reason for the shift from the European heartland to Asia and continental America within the last decade or so.
The letter also states about this not being “a simple decision and we shall consider all the implications before coming to a decision mid year. Without some change in the economic equation, the risk and return are out of kilter.” The circuit and BRDC declined to comment further at this time but did state that the next three seasons, 2017 to 2019, would be unaffected even if the clause was triggered. The circuit’s current deal runs till 2026 and both Silverstone and F1’s promoter have break clauses.
Silverstone does do better than most European tracks with 140,000 in attendance for this year’s GP but despite the record breaking numbers the event was “still short of budget”. F1 supremo Bernie Eccelstone says that if any break was triggered the race could be staged at an alternative venue. Eccelstone also stated that F1 wants to keep the British Grand Prix on the calender but if Silverstone was to trigger the break clause that there was “nothing we can do about it”. The 86 year old also stated that two other tracks have already contacted F1 management about hosting the event if Silverstone does break the contract but would not reveal who.
It is hoped that Silverstone will remain on the calender as being one of the last old tracks of the championship having first hosted a grand prix pre World Championship days in 1948. Along with Monza and Hockenheim/Nurburgring there are few tracks with as much history and prestige as Silverstone in the calender and the track is one the drivers rate as a favorite.
Photo Credit: jamesallenonf1.com