MO­TOR RAC­ING

Red Bull’s Horner slams Sil­ver­stone de­ci­sion

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Chris­tian Horner, head of For­mula One out­fit Red Bull, has slammed the own­ers of Sil­ver­stone, say­ing they cre­ated the fi­nan­cial trou­ble that threat­ens the fu­ture of the Bri­tish Grand Prix. Horner-a mem­ber of the track’s own­ers Bri­tish Rac­ing Driv­ers Club (BRDC) was scathing about the club’s an­nounce­ment on Tues­day they were ex­er­cis­ing a break clause in the 17-year con­tract to host the Grand Prix, mean­ing the 2019 race could be the last staged there.

The own­ers blamed es­ca­lat­ing costs un­der the orig­i­nal agree­ment signed with for­mer F1 supremo Bernie Ec­cle­stone which came into force in 2010. They are look­ing for a re­vised deal with Lib­erty, the new For­mula One own­ers, who are highly crit­i­cal of the BRDC’s an­nounce­ment.

The row has blown up in the days lead­ing up to this week­end’s Grand Prix at Sil­ver­stone which will see home favourite Lewis Hamil­ton en­deav­our to hit back in the race for the ti­tle which sees Ger­man Se­bas­tian Vet­tel lead­ing by 20 points.

Horner, in charge of Red Bull since 2005, told jour­nal­ists that BRDC en­tered into the agree­ment in 2010 fully con­scious of the terms. “I am amazed that they have trig­gered their break clause,” said Horner, who over­saw Red Bull’s four suc­ces­sive con­struc­tors cham­pi­onships from 2010 to 2013. “Sil­ver­stone signed a con­tract in 2010, and they knew what they were en­ter­ing into at the time. They have now re­alised that they can’t af­ford it de­spite hav­ing a full house ev­ery year. “They ei­ther should not have signed it in the first place or they got their maths wrong.” BRDC say it is fi­nan­cially crip­pling to host the race-which un­like oth­ers on the cir­cuit does not re­ceive gov­ern­ment sup­port.

TIP­PING POINT

The BRDC have been hit fi­nan­cially by the host­ing fee which goes up by five per­cent ev­ery year-from £12 mil­lion in 2010 to £17 mil­lion this sea­son and £26 mil­lion in 2026. “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 sus­tained losses of £2.8m (3.1m, $3.6m) in 2015 and £4.8m in 2016, and we ex­pect to lose a sim­i­lar amount this year.

“We have reached the tip­ping point where we can no longer let our pas­sion for the sport rule our heads.” Their an­nounce­ment prompted a sharp ri­poste from For­mula One. “The week lead­ing up to the Bri­tish Grand Prix should be a week of great cel­e­bra­tion for F1 and Sil­ver­stone,” a For­mula One spokesper­son said. “We deeply re­gret that Sil­ver­stone has cho­sen in­stead to use this week to pos­ture and po­si­tion them­selves and in­voke a break clause that will take ef­fect in three years’ time.” “We of­fered to ex­tend the cur­rent dead­lines in or­der to fo­cus on ev­ery­thing that is great about Sil­ver­stone and For­mula One.” Sil­ver­stone’s strat­egy may yet fail as Lib­erty chair­man Chase Carey told the BBC ear­lier this week there were other par­ties in­ter­ested in host­ing the race.

‘The Times’ claimed one of the pos­si­b­li­ties is it be­ing raced in the Dock­lands area in east Lon­don. How­ever, Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan it is said would con­sider the pol­lu­tion ram­i­fi­ca­tions if ap­proached for­mally about such a pos­si­bil­ity. —AFP

Bernie Ec­cle­stone

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