BRITISH GRAND PRIX CAN BE SAVED SAYS BRDC CHAIRMAN
Silverstone owner, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, believes the new holder of Formula 1’s commercial rights and some government support could help save the British Grand Prix.
BRDC president Derek Warwick said last September that the race was becoming too expensive for the club to run. A possible sale of Silverstone provided one potential solution and the BRDC is thought to have spoken to several different parties over a deal.
However, recent developments have made the sale less urgent for the BRDC and the decision over the GP itself is now the main focus. Silverstone’s contract for the British GP runs until 2026, but a break clause exists that would come into effect after 2019.
BRDC chairman John Grant believes that Liberty Media’s increasing involvement in F1’s commercial rights could be a step in the right direction.
“A few things are going in our favour,” he said. “We’ve turned our attention to the Grand Prix because we have to make a decision before the next GP about exercising the break clause or not. The impending change of F1 ownership should be helpful medium-term. Liberty seems genuinely sympathetic to our point of view.
“We need a rebalancing of the economic equation. We need the GP to be profitable and for the risks to be manageable. We’re exploring lots of ways and talking to a number of parties.”
One area that could provide assistance is the public sector, even though traditionally government money has not been available to help Silverstone run the event.
“There are compelling arguments for public money to be used, but we understand F1 is seen as a rich sport,” added Grant. “I don’t think a cash handout would be politically possible, but some other form of public support may be.”
Grant added that, even if the BRDC did activate the break clause, it would not necessarily mean the end of the British GP. “If we do exercise it we don’t see that as the end – it would be a basis for further negotiation,” he added. “We would not see it as irrevocable.”