F1: British Grand Prix set to stay at Silverstone after 2019
Reports claim that a new deal is close to being agreed between Liberty Media and the BRDC
The British Grand Prix is set to remain at Silverstone after reports claimed that Formula 1 bosses are close to agreeing a new contract to keep the race running at the sport’s spiritual home.
According to “multiple people familiar with the matter” F1 owners Liberty Media and Silverstone owners the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) are “closing” on a new deal, the Financial Times reports.
Under the terms of the current contract this season’s F1 British GP is the last set to be staged at Silverstone. However, talks have continued between the parties and a source told the FT: “Silverstone has a value. Chase [Carey, chairman and chief executive of F1] wants to maintain the historic core of F1.”
In July 2017 the Daily Mail reported that the BRDC decided to “trigger a break clause” that releases them from hosting the race beyond 2019 because the cost is “potentially ruinous”.
It was reported that the cost of staging the British GP rises by 5% every year. The Daily Telegraph added that should Silverstone withdraw from F1 it would mark the first time since 1950 that the calendar had not included a race in Britain.
“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 [in 2016],” said the Telegraph ahead of the 2017 race. “But the hosting fee is so exorbitant that Silverstone is poised to make at least a £4m loss even with another full house.”
A compromise has been sought between Liberty Media and the BRDC over the costs of staging the British GP. Liberty is demanding £18m a year while the BRDC has offered £15m a year.
“A final agreement is expected within weeks,” says the FT.
A second British GP?
The FT also reports that Liberty Media has “sought alternative locations” to Silverstone with a street race in London or Cardiff among the potential venues. But after concluding such a move would not be possible by next year “discussions with the BRDC to continue the race at Silverstone have intensified”.
In December last year Formula 1’s head of motorsport Ross Brawn said a new race could be held on the outskirts of London. It would also complement the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, not replace it.
“I think because F1 is a week-long activity minimum, the disruption it would cause in the centre of London would be unacceptable,” Brawn told the London Evening Standard.
“I don’t think Londoners really need to worry about us taking over the centre of London for a week. But there are things on the periphery that are being explored - not slap-bang in the centre of London, but Greater London.
“We’d like to see London complement Silverstone, not replace it. We could see ways we could make it work both sides. London is an iconic city with a massive history in the sport and there’s huge enthusiasm here.”
When is the 2019 race?
This year’s F1 British Grand Prix will be held at Silverstone on Sunday 14 July. The tenth race of the 2019 F1 season will start at 2.10pm UK time.