Belfast Telegraph

Silverstone set to drop off the Formula One calendar

 

By Philip Duncan

The British Grand Prix could be rubbed off the Formula One calendar after Silverstone's owners triggered a break clause in their contract yesterday.

The British Racing Drivers' Club, who own the Northamptonshire circuit, gave notice of their intent to leave the current deal in 2019, after revealing losses of almost £8m over the last two years.

Nearly 140,000 spectators watched triple World champion Lewis Hamilton claim his third consecutive win at Silverstone last year, and a near sell-out crowd is expected again this weekend as Hamilton bids to reduce rival Sebastian Vettel's 20-point lead at the summit of the championship.

But the demands of Silverstone's hosting fee, which goes up by five per cent every year - from £12m in 2010, the year in which the new long-term deal started, to £16m this season and £25m in 2026 - is crippling the circuit.

The BRDC and Silverstone want to continue their relationship with F1, but they will not do so at the cost of financial ruin. The Northamptonshire circuit, unlike many other tracks on the F1 calendar, receives no government backing.

"This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under our current contract,'' BRDC chairman John Grant said.

"We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads.

"Our hope is that an agreement can be reached so we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years."

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