Silverstone Might Cut Ties with Formula 1 at End of 2019 Season
Silverstone, the current host track of the British Grand Prix is exploring the possibility of activating a break clause to drop the sporting event at the end of 2019. Silverstone is concerned about the financial implications involved with holding the race that is raising plenty of suspicion that the motorsports club is actively considering options to get out of a 17-year deal with Formula One that was signed in 2009.
Silverstone’s owner, the British Racing Driver’s Club (BDRC), released a letter to its members before Christmas that explained how the expenses involved in hosting the Formula One race without government or third-party assistance could put the club at risk should the event experience a few years of low turnout. BDRC chairman John Grant explained in the letter that “Your board would like to preserve the BGP at Silverstone for many years to come, but only if it makes sense to do so.
“And we have to protect our Club against the potentially ruinous risk of a couple of bad years. Without some change in the economic equation, the risk and return are out of kilter, and so we are exploring various ways in which this might be altered.
“Among other alternatives, the Board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 BGP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the BGP contract at the end of 2019. This is not a simple decision, and we will consider fully all the implications before coming to a conclusion by mid-year.”
BDRC president Derek Warwick has expressed concerns over hosting the event in the past.
“At the end of the day, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it,” he said. “We’ve supported the British Grand Prix now for many years without any kind of third party support or government support.
“But now we are in a situation where the escalator (clause) has become too expensive for us.”
Formula one chief Bernie Ecclestone has stated that Silverstone’s decision to leave is out of his control and that several other racetracks have expressed interest in hosting the British Grand Prix.
“If they want to activate a break clause, there is nothing we can do,” he explained. “Two other tracks have contacted us and we are keen to keep a British Grand Prix, there is no doubt about it, we want to have one. As far as Silverstone is concerned, it’s not in our hands.”