BRI­TISH GRAND PRIX CAN BE SAVED SAYS BRDC CHAIR­MAN

Motor Sport News - - Racing News - Pho­tos: LAT, Jakob Ebrey

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.”

Bri­tish GP costs are firmly in fo­cus

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