Grid, Silverstone, 2016

Silverstone denies report British GP will be dropped

2017 F1 season

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The British Racing Drivers’ Club has strongly denied reports it has already decided to drop the British Grand Prix after 2019.

It was revealed in early January the BRDC had advised its members it was considering whether to activate the break clause in its contract to hold the race beyond the 2019 season. Two weeks later The Sun ran a story claiming the circuit “will definitely drop” the race.

However in a statement issued today Silverstone denied the claim talks between it and Formula One’s promoter over the future of the race had been “unsuccessful” were “speculative and wrong”.

BRDC chairman John Grant said the decision did not need to be taken for several months: “Our objective is to preserve the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come but, of course, we can only do this if it makes economic sense.”

“As I have said before, we will be considering over the next six months if we should give notice of our intention to exercise the break clause in our grand prix contract at the end of 2019. No decision has been made, or will be made, until mid-July.”

“In the meantime, we will be using this period to explore with all interested parties, hopefully in private, various ways in which we might work out a more sustainable proposition.”

Last week BRDC president Derek Warwick said he was “feeling very positive” about the race’s future.

“I’ve just got a feeling that we can’t do without the British Grand Prix, we can’t do without Silverstone,” he added. “Some compromise will be made either with Bernie [Ecclestone] or the new people now taking over Formula One which is Liberty.”

Warwick also revealed the BRDC had spoken to the government about the possibility of gaining support for the race.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Silverstone denies report British GP will be dropped”

  1. It beggars belief that a world class venue, which has one of the highest attendances, highest levels of genuine enthusiasm, is pretty much the home of many F1 teams cannot afford to host it nor make a profit.

    It is ludicrous……

    The aim of Bernie et al has been clearly to make hosting an F1 race akin to hosting the Olympics or a world cup. Except that is a year long world tour that happens every year. The model just does not work.

    If an F1 race cannot be hosted without government funding, considering how rich the sport is, it is madness.

    Silverstone was always special because of this. No government funding and very high fan attendance.

    The British GP should not have any government funding. If F1 does not value what the British GP brings to F1, then they do not deserve it.

    1. +1
      (If you can’t see the sucker…your it.)

    2. “It beggars belief that a world class venue […] cannot afford to host it nor make a profit.”

      Oh they probably could, they just refuse to raise the prices despite sell-out crowds, which is idiotic.

      1. Raise the prices? It’s already prohibitively expensive to attend and to watch at home. The sport is absurdly wealthy and the idea that the BDRC should be charging more and passing the cost onto the punters to make it viable is very disagreeable to my mind.

        Sadly, I think the sport no longer cares about empty stands – certainly not more than they care about full wallets.

  2. Ripping off governments is key to the annual profit margin, since hosting fees are a primary income source for F1. No accident, or sympathy involved

  3. Does anyone know how much Silverstone pay for the race? I have a vague memory of the figure of £16m plus 10% per annum, but I can’t remember where or when that came from.

    1. That was the number reported by autosport.

  4. At first 16million a year sounds like a ridiculous amount but when you realise that the bare minimum ticket sales are 22 million for Sunday alone (based on the cheapest tickets and last years attendance) it means they must be making close to 40million.

    Having said that, when a weekend ticket is going to cost a family £1000 something’s gone very wrong.

    1. It’s simple supply and demand, if the seats are full (and they are), the prices are too low.

  5. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Bernie planted that story to put pressure on the BRDC. He’s had it in for them for years.

  6. What I’ve never understood is why the British Grand Prix isn’t called the English Grand Prix. There has never been a championship Grand Prix in Scotland or Wales, because 95% all of the premier circuits on the island of Great Britain are in England, of course.

    1. At least England is a central constituent of Britain.
      I would not accuse Azerbaijan of being a central constituent of Europe though, even if the Baku race is promoted as the ‘European GP’

    2. Because the event represents Great Britain, not just England. Actually, more accurately would be United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

      Drivers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete as a team. Indeed the most successful national team in F1 history. Separate the ‘union’ and we’re not.

      Much like in all other walks of life.

  7. What annoys me is that despite already paying through the nose for F1, every circuit (not just Silverstone) is now being asked to make modifications / upgrades to accommodate the faster 2017 cars at short notice and at full cost to themselves.
    This is despite signing up to multi year contracts ages ago before 2017 changes had even been dreamt up.
    F1 chose these regs, so any modifications specific to these new regs should be paid for by F1.

  8. So a circuit that has gone hand in hand with F1 since it’s inception, that’s packed out year after year despite the growing prices, struggle and yet some crap like Abu Dhabi gets the finale will never face this situation.

    Oh right, yeah $$$$ win not fans.

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