Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle has warned Formula 1 officials the circuit will not pay “any price” to keep the British Grand Prix beyond the end of its existing contract in 2019.
Silverstone bosses triggered a break clause in its F1 deal last year that would come into force after the 2019 British Grand Prix in a bid to agree improved contract terms with the sport’s new management.
Speaking at the BRDC Awards on Monday with F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey in attendance, Pringle spoke about Silverstone’s ongoing diversification plans, and said how they would ensure the circuit has a bright future with or without F1.
“We got ourselves into a pickle because we had a business that was solely financed by the grand prix,” Pringle said.
“So we had to diversify, and we’re doing that. We’re going to build a hotel, we’ve got Silverstone Experience opening, and we have some additional short-stay luxury accommodation. Aston Martin are now tenants on-site.
“Things are very much heading in the right direction, and it gives us the confidence to say Lord knows we want to keep the grand prix, but not at any price.
“We’re going to have a broader, more diverse business that can survive without it. But we’d much rather have one with it.”
While Carey would not be drawn on how negotiations with Silverstone were going, he stressed the need to balance both new races with grands prix holding historical value.
“We’ve been very clear: you always build a sport on its foundation, and the foundation of this sport is here in Europe. The fans that have been followers for the longest period of time are here in Europe, and you have to build a sport on top of its foundations,” Carey said.
“We are committed to making sure the sport is strong here. We think we can engage fans, new fans around the world. The reality is most of our events are reasonably long-term, so there is a lot of stability to what we do.
“But we do think you want to bring some freshness to it. We think it’s important to go to some places that can capture people’s imagination that are new.
“That being said, we want to be sure we continue to cherish what has made this sport so precious for so long."