The future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is under renewed threat after the circuit’s owners triggered a break clause in its contract on Tuesday in a bid to seek a more financially viable deal.
The 2019 British Grand Prix will be the last at Silverstone unless F1 owner Liberty Media reduces the race fee so the cost of staging the race can be covered, the British Racing Drivers’ Club said.
“This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our current contract,” BRDC chairman John Grant said. “We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads.
“It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us.”
The BRDC reported losses in 2015 of 2.8 million pounds (now about $3.5 million) and 4.8 million pounds in 2016. The annual promoters’ fee for the race has increased from 11.5 million pounds in 2015 to 16.2 million pounds this year. The race organizers said the fee will have leapt to 25 million pounds by 2026 _ the last year of the current contract.
“Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached, so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come,” Grant said.
The BRDC claims that Silverstone is the most popular stop on the F1 calendar, with 350,000 attending a race weekend.
The existing deal that sees the race fee rise 5 percent annually was signed in 2009 when the future of the Silverstone race was last under threat. The motorsport series came under new ownership earlier this year when the U.S. sports and entertainment firm bought out investment fund CVC Capital Partners.