The British Racing Drivers Club, who own Silverstone, have activated a break clause in its contract to stop hosting the race after 2019.
The current contract, signed in 2009, was supposed to expire in 2026. But the BRDC has said that the amount it was losing due to hosting the race was too much for it to continue.
The BRDC chairman ‘John Grant’ said:
“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. We sustained losses of £2.8m 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. It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us.
“However, I want to be clear that although we have now activated the break clause, we are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience.
“Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come.”
Back in 2010, the cost of hosting the race was £11.6m. That had jumped up to £16.2m and it is believed that figure would hit £25m by the end of the contract.
There is hope however, as many believe that this is simply a ploy to initiate a new deal with the sports new owners ‘Liberty Media’.
With Grant saying back when the contract was signed that Silverstone was “the only viable venue for the British GP”.
“Looking back, the decision to sign this contract was made to preserve the British Grand Prix and ensure this great, historic race was not lost” Said Grant.
“This was the only deal on the table at the time and the decision was taken to keep the British Grand Prix alive.
“But the reality is that for many years the British Grand Prix has made a net loss.
“Despite being the most popular weekend sporting event in the UK – with a live audience of over 350,000 attendees – the net revenue we receive is not enough to cover the Grand Prix’s share of our overhead costs, let alone turn a profit.”
But he has also said that Silverstone would still have a ‘Bright future’ without F1.
“While we would hate to lose the British Grand Prix, Silverstone will have a bright future without it – both commercially and in terms of continuing to serve as the heart of the British motor racing community.
“But losing the British Grand Prix would have a negative impact that is felt far beyond Formula 1 and Silverstone.
“Seven out of the 10 F1 teams are based in the UK – many close to Silverstone. This brings vital jobs to the country, as well as having a positive impact on the local communities and economy.
“There’s a good reason why the area around Silverstone is known as the ‘Silicon Valley of motorsport’. Take away the British Grand Prix and this is all placed at risk.”