British GP host Silverstone calls for F1 venues to work together

Formula 1 grand prix circuits need to form an association to work together and ensure their survival on the calendar, according to Silverstone managing director Patrick Allen

British GP host Silverstone calls for F1 venues to work together

It has become increasingly difficult to make hosting a grand prix financially viable, with an influx of races in the East ready to pay big money to get onto the calendar.

As a result, that has put pressure on traditional race venues in Europe. France lost its race in 2008, while Germany dropped off the calendar this year and Italy is now under threat.

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Allen believes that if the venues hosting F1 races get together, it will strengthen their bargaining power when negotiating contracts because simply being a heritage site isn't enough.

"We have AMRCO (Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners) in the UK, so a grand prix circuit association is perhaps something we need to make a stronger bond with," Allen told reporters at Silverstone.

"As joint promoters, there can be some strength in negotiation because, in my view, it's not as strong as it should be.

"This is a heritage site so it strengthens our hand. But you can't rely on it. As you get fewer and fewer, it becomes like the World Wildlife Fund - you need to protect it.

"We are in a good position. We're well-supported, we make money out of the circuit and we have found a way to make our current contract (which runs to 2026) work for the foreseeable future - but we have to keep working at it."

Allen met with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone recently to discuss the British Grand Prix and said the 84-year-old was keen to help secure the future of the race.

"I've been down to see Bernie with [BRDC president] Derek Warwick," said Allen. "Our meetings were very affable.

"He put out the hand of friendship that he would like to help Silverstone, and that we should get together to kick some ideas round.

"I'm not sure what his ideas are yet, we have yet to have that second meeting, but it certainly wasn't an abrasive conversation. He was in full of support."

However, Allen called on governing body the FIA and the commercial rights holder FOM to do more to improve the show and encourage fans to go to races - which will in turn help circuit promoters.

"If we get to a point where five, six, seven years from now and we don't get the support of the fans, or the fans are dwindling away because the product is no longer interesting than we have a problem," he said.

"That is why I would urge the FIA and FOM to look at the rules and look at how we make the cars more challenging to drive and make it a more closely-fought event.

"Fans come to watch racing, they don't come to watch a guy looking at a data screen. When it gets to that, we've lost the very soul of the sport."

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