Silverstone triggers British GP break clause

The 2019 British Grand Prix could be the final Formula 1 race at Silverstone if the circuit owner doesn’t negotiate a new deal.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club opted to trigger the break clause in its contract with F1 owners Liberty Media to host the event, citing rising costs as the reason.

A 5% escalator fee means the cost of hosting the British GP rises every year. In 2010, the fee was £11.5 million. By 2026, the original final year of the contract, the fee would be £25 million.

The BRDC sees hosting the event as a certain financial loss in the future.

“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,” said BRDC chairman John Grant.

“We sustained losses of £2.8m 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.”

The BRDC still hopes to reach a new agreement with Liberty Media, saying it is “fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience”.

The F1 Group, which is responsible for the promotion of events and owned by Liberty, has criticised the BRDC for making this decision the week of the British GP.

“The week leading up to the British Grand Prix should be a week of great celebration for F1 and Silverstone,” it said in a statement.

“We deeply regret that Silverstone has chosen instead to use this week to posture and position themselves and invoke a break clause that will take effect in three years’ time.”

The group still intends to negotiate a deal to keep F1 at Silverstone beyond 2019.

Meanwhile, an F1 demonstration on the streets of London this afternoon raises hopes the capital could host the GP in the future.

Feature image credit: Michael W Beales BEM / Creative Commons

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