Reuters reports that British Grand Prix organizers are set to activate a break clause next week, removing themselves from the rota after 2019 and leaving the UK in danger of dropping off the F1 calendar.
Formula One Management had offered to take over the race for five years, absorbing annual losses of between two and three million pounds ($2.5-$3.8 million). Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), fear the annual rise in hosting fees–5% per annum–exposes them to “potentially ruinous risk” as the years go by and the rates go up.
Agreed with previous F1 honcho Bernie Ecclestone, it will cost the BRDC £16.9m to host this year’s race. A fair whack, but nothing compared to the £27.5m it will cost by the time they reach the end of their contract in 2026.
Silverstone, which hosted the first Formula One world championship race in 1950, has a contract with a break clause from 2019 that must be exercised two years in advance. This goes some way to explaining the decision, and will alleviate the butterfly-inducing panic that we all felt when the news broke. They are simply setting up a better negotiating position. We hope. Think. Pray.
Sources suggest a big announcement will be made on Tuesday, just days before Friday practice at the iconic circuit
Formula One’s commercial managing director Sean Bratches, appointed after Liberty Media took over the sport in January, said the new owners recognized Silverstone was one of the “jewels in the crown”.
“We have great ambition for the sport, and are determined to raise the bar as fans expect more from their race weekend,” Bratches told Reuters
“We need promoters who share that vision. We have three years to achieve that objective and are optimistic that a new fan-centric solution can be found.”