British Racing Drivers' Club Chairman John Grant says Silverstone had 'no option' but quit its British Grand Prix hosting deal or risk putting the venue itself at serious risk.

The venue's owners today announced it has triggered a break in its 17 year deal to end after just 10 years, which as it stands means the British Grand Prix is only confirmed until 2019 and not 2026.

Despite being one of the best attended events on the calendar, Silverstone has sustained heavy losses in recent years due to a deal agreed in 2009 that would see incremental hosting fee increases year-to-year.

This coupled with inflation and no government funding has left Silverstone fearing a bleak future, leading to today's decision.

"Looking back, the decision to sign this contract was made to preserve the British Grand Prix and ensure this great, historic race was not lost. This was the only deal on the table at the time and the decision was taken to keep the British Grand Prix alive.

"But the reality is that for many years the British Grand Prix has made a net loss. Despite being the most popular weekend sporting event in the UK - with a live audience of over 350,000 attendees - the net revenue we receive is not enough to cover the Grand Prix's share of our overhead costs, let alone turn a profit.

"This situation is not sustainable - for the BRDC, but also for the British Grand Prix and Silverstone. We cannot continue to sell our core assets in order to fund the Grand Prix. Put simply, we've run out of road and have been left with no option but to trigger the break clause.

"Our membership is fully aware of the financial challenges facing the BRDC and Silverstone, and the risks we have taken as an organisation to keep going up to this point. While we would hate to lose the British Grand Prix, Silverstone will have a bright future without it - both commercially and in terms of continuing to serve as the heart of the British motor racing community.

"But losing the British Grand Prix would have a negative impact that is felt far beyond Formula 1 and Silverstone. The UK motorsport industry today is worth an estimated ?10.5 billion - employing over 45,000 people and exporting over 75% of its output. That is larger than the equivalent sectors in Germany, Italy and France combined. Having the British Grand Prix at Silverstone - the biggest occasion on the motor racing calendar - serves as a focal point for so much of what is great about UK motorsports, and the wider engineering and manufacturing sectors.

"Seven out of the 10 F1 teams are based in the UK - many close to Silverstone. This brings vital jobs to the country, as well as having a positive impact on the local communities and economy. There's a good reason why the area around Silverstone is known as the "Silicon Valley of motor sport". Take away the British Grand Prix and this is all placed at risk."


Loading Comments...