How the British Grand Prix can get a new F1 deal earlier than expected

It feels like not a year goes by when the British Grand Prix's future hangs in the balance

How the British Grand Prix can get a new F1 deal earlier than expected

Silverstone has a 17-year contract to host the race, which runs until 2026, and its owner the British Racing Drivers' Club does not want to lose it.

But the BRDC is considering exercising a break clause, which allows it to end the deal at the 10-race mark (after the 2019 race) without penalty, because of financial pressures.

The first race of the current contract in 2010 cost organisers £12million. An escalator built into the contract, as is common in F1 venue deals, means it will cost around £26m by the final year.

That is by no means the highest fee paid by a circuit - the Russian GP is believed to have paid £25m for its opening race in 2014 with that figure subsequently rising.

But while plenty of the races on the F1 calendar receive government funding, Silverstone does not and despite attracting close to 140,000 fans last year, it still struggles to make the event financially viable.

F1 boss Chase Carey, who met with BRDC chairman John Grant at the Spanish Grand Prix, said during the weekend that the new owners will "not be renegotiating the contract".

You could read that as saying Liberty is not interested in helping the British Grand Prix survive, putting the race under threat.

But the other reading is that Carey has chosen his words carefully.

It is understandable that he does not want to adjust the current arrangement, as that would open the door to other circuits wanting to do the same.

But that does not mean he would be unwilling to discuss a new deal should Silverstone be interested in one having activated the break clause in its current arrangement.

Autosport understands the Formula One Group wants a British Grand Prix on the calendar and is willing to discuss options to make that happen.

A race on the streets of London would be ideal but unlikely at least in the short term and Silverstone represents a very good option that can guarantee bumper crowds.

There are also options of having two races in Britain - at Silverstone and in London - or even the two alternating but this requires further discussion.

The BRDC's priority is to keep the race at Silverstone and it has been encouraged by discussions with F1's bosses and the impact it has made already.

The new owners rolled a series of new initiatives at the Spanish Grand Prix, revamping and standardising fan zones with simulators, pitstop challenges and competitions to ride in a two-seater F1 car.

Silverstone is waiting to hear whether it will be possible to roll that out at its event in July as well as whether a plan to hold a pre-race event in London on the Wednesday before this year's race will be possible to help drive ticket sales.

The BRDC has until just before this year's British Grand Prix to decide on whether or not to activate the break clause and it is believed that decision has not been made yet as they continue to explore all options.

Should it do so, that will not be the immediate end of the British Grand Prix. The race will continue in 2017, 18' and 19' and it will give Silverstone and F1 two-and-a-half years to discuss a new deal.

shares
comments
Toro Rosso F1 team admits it's not on top of Barcelona upgrade yet
Previous article

Toro Rosso F1 team admits it's not on top of Barcelona upgrade yet

Next article

Sauber F1 didn't expect Wehrlein race return until Spanish GP

Sauber F1 didn't expect Wehrlein race return until Spanish GP
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023