Find out more about our subscriptions

Hill blames F1's economy for losing GP

Damon Hill next to the FIA motorhome at SilverstoneBritish Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) president Damon Hill has blamed the financial structure of Formula One for Silverstone losing the British Grand Prix to Donington Park.

With Silverstone's ambitions to secure a new deal being blown apart by the FIA announcing on Friday that a new deal had been struck with Donington Park from 2010, Hill claims the amount of money that F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone takes out of the sport makes it unworkable for circuits to finance improvements.

And the former world champion thinks it wrong that Ecclestone keeps the money for himself rather than invest back into facilities like Silverstone.

"There's always been the question of the FOM fee, and ultimately that is the deciding factor," Hill told reporters at Silverstone. "To quote Bernie, he once said: 'You can have anything you like, as long as you pay too much for it,' but we can't pay too much for something.

"We're in it because we want to be there, but we can't go beyond the balance, the tipping point, and Bernie knows that. So it's a huge disappointment, a real blow to our efforts and desire to see the Grand Prix retained."

He added: "The problem is money goes out and away. There's a question whether that money even returns to Formula One. No one should stand in the way of someone's ability to make a profit, and that's not what this is about.

"But the money from the people (the fans) who come here goes to Formula One, and that money doesn't come back to develop the infrastructure of F1. This (Silverstone) is part of the infrastructure of Formula One.

"The FIA have suggested there are protected events. But there are also circuits that are part of the fabric of motor sport - the very first Grand Prix took place at Silverstone. But none of that money has been re-invested with regard to the infrastructure of the circuits.

"It goes out, and it seems to me to be absurd that that money is constantly being sucked out and not re-invested. We could have had a fantastic venue. It would have been great for everyone. Everyone would have won."

Hill admitted that Silverstone were surprised by the Donington Park announcement because they thought the circuit would never be ready in time.

"There were noises about Donington, and most people felt there was so much work to be done, that it wasn't a serious threat. But we have never approached this whole project from the point of view that it couldn't be done elsewhere. There's always been an option.

"We have a history, support from the Sports Minister and local government, and we believe we are well placed. But if the British Grand Prix has been secured then we cannot be annoyed about that.

"We're disappointed that on the face of it we've not been able to secure its future. But it is important for the British public and Great Britain to retain a Grand Prix. We've always said it's good for motor sport that this country should retain a Grand Prix."

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Paddock insight from group F1 editor Jonathan Noble
Grand Prix news updates from F1 editor Edd Straw
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
FIA to inspect Donington plans
Gillett: Donington GP remains on track
Donington boss denies debt reports
FIA could help safeguard British GP
Donington Park revamp gets underway
Dennis sceptical on Donington plans
Interview with Donington boss Gillett
Gillett: Donington will deliver
Donington revamp gets planning approval
Donington set to get planning permission
Donington boss sure of planning permission
End of year decision for Donington Park
Donington reveals redevelopment plan
Donington COO Gill steps down
Donington reveals revamp plans
Button delighted British GP is safe
BRDC surprised by Donington news
Silverstone 'disappointed' to lose GP
Donington bosses promise £100m revamp
Silverstone loses British GP to Donington
Ecclestone in talks with Donington Park