GP loss should be ‘wake-up call'

The news that the British Grand Prix is to be axed from next year's Formula 1 calendar should act as the wake-up call the government needs to throw its support behind the country winning the event back, claims one of Silverstone's chiefs

GP loss should be ‘wake-up call'

BRDC chief executive Alex Hooton told autosport.com on Thursday that while there was deep disappointment at the news that Britain's round of the world championship would be absent from the calendar for the first time since 1950, there was a glimmer of hope that it would be a reality check that the government needs to get onboard to help the event in the future.

He said: "Although this news is very disappointing, it is not exactly surprising in that it has become increasingly obvious that you cannot run a grand prix, or indeed have a full-blown grand prix circuit, in the current economic model that is run by F1 without there being a considerable element of public subsidy for it. I think this is a wake-up call."

Although there is still two weeks to go before Ecclestone presents his provisional calendar to motor racing's governing body, the FIA, Hooton suggested that there appeared little chance of an agreement between the two parties being reached in that timescale.

The BRDC had until Thursday to find a promoter for the British Grand Prix and, although it offered to do so for a cut-price fee for Ecclestone, that deal was not accepted. The BRDC cannot afford to increase its offer because the club would risk going bankrupt.

Hooton added: "We have made F1 an offer which is one which is as full as we can make it. It has been designed to potentially break even, possibly make a loss, but it would be quite extraordinary if we could make a profit on the basis of the fee that we have offered.

"It falls short of what Mr. Ecclestone is currently asking for and it would appear that the government is not prepared to step in and breach the gap. We are in negotiations with the government with regards the redevelopment of the circuit, as opposed to the annual running of the race, and those negotiations are ongoing.

"We are hopeful that the dialogue with F1 will continue and that we will at some stage in the future be able to reach a satisfactory conclusion to bring the race back to Silverstone."

When asked whether it was possible that a fresh proposal could be put on the table as a last-ditch bid to save the British Grand Prix, Hooton said: "We made Mr. Ecclestone the fullest offer that we could and unless any new information were to come to us I don't see us increasing that offer."

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