The future of the British Grand Prix has been cast into doubt after the owners of the Silverstone circuit which hosts the yearly Formula 1 race activated the break clause in their hosting contract.
Despite the British Grand Prix being the most popular weekend sporting event in the UK, British Racing Drivers’ Club Chairman John Grant said that it was not financially viable for Silverstone to continue to host the race, citing the terms of the club’s contract with F1 owners Liberty Media.
Today— BRDC (@BRDCSilverstone) July 11, 2017
BRDCSilverstone</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/SilverstoneUK">SilverstoneUK formally trigger the break clause in its contract with Formula 1 https://t.co/387CjzI0v6
John Grant, the Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) which owns the Silverstone track, said that the club had “reached a tipping point where we can no longer let our hearts rule our heads.”
He said: “It is with regret that I am today announcing that the British Racing Drivers’ Club, who are the owners of the Silverstone circuit, has triggered the break clause in its contract with Formula One, which is now owned and managed by Liberty Media.
“Unless a new contractual arrangement can be reached with Liberty Media, 2019 will be the last year that the British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone, the only viable venue for a British Grand Prix.”
The chairman went on to say that the club had “run out of road” and that it is “no longer financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our present contract.”
He revealed that the BRDC sustained losses of £2.8m in 2015 and £4.8m in 2016, and that they were expecting a similar loss this year.
“The reality now is that the Grand Prix has made a net loss despite being the most popular weekend sporting event in the UK with a live audience of over 350,000 people, the net revenue we receive is not enough to cover the Grand Prix’s share of our overhead costs, let alone turn a profit,” he continued.
The media are arriving at today’s press conference as Silverstone has an important announcement to make pic.twitter.com/NN1Ic1ly1u— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK) 11 July 2017
Grant said that although the break clause had been activated, he hopes that an agreement can still be reached with Liberty Media “so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come.”
Unless a new agreement is reached, there is a genuine possibility that for the first time since the world championship began in 1950, there will be no British Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.