British Grand Prix under threat as Silverstone pulls plug
Rising costs force British Racing Drivers' Club to trigger break clause in contract
This weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone could be one of the last after the circuit "ripped up" the contract to stage the race.
Circuit owners the British Racing Drivers' Club has "decided to trigger a break clause that releases them from hosting the race beyond 2019 because the cost is 'potentially ruinous'", reports the Daily Mail.
"The decision leaves the Grand Prix's long-term future in doubt just two days before teams and drivers arrive at Silverstone for this year's race."
Although the contract with Silverstone runs until 2026, the cost of staging the event rises by five per cent every year. The original fee of £12m agreed in 2010 will have more than doubled to £27m by then, says the Daily Telegraph.
"The British Grand Prix remains one of the best-supported sporting events in the country, attracting 139,000 fans on race day in 2015 and a similar number last year. But the hosting fee is so exorbitant that Silverstone is poised to make at least a £4m loss even with another full house on Sunday," adds the paper.
Silverstone is currently the only British circuit that can host a Grand Prix and it's decision leaves the future of the race in doubt.
"Should it withdraw from the sport, it would mark the first time since 1950 that the calendar had not included a race in Britain," says the Telegraph.
McLaren chief Zak Brown last week urged F1's new owners Liberty Media to buy Silverstone to safeguard the race, while the Mail reports the British Racing Drivers' Club "have not given up on negotiating a more sustainable deal in the next few years".
There is also the possibility that a street race in London could be held instead, although the Mail says that remains "remote", even though the F1 cars "will perform in a promotional event around Trafalgar Square on Wednesday night".
The Times, however, is more positive.
Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of Formula 1, wants more street races, including one in London, says the paper, and although London Mayor Sadiq Khan is not a fan of the idea due to the pollution, Liberty Media is "considering the Docklands area in east London".
It adds: "The cars would race with Canary Wharf and the River Thames behind them. The Canary Wharf Group, backed by the Qatari Investment Authority, owns much of the area."