Why the British Grand Prix might not be finished

Published on Tuesday July 11 2017

The break clause has been activated as the owners of Silverstone, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, has decided that it can no long afford to host the British Grand Prix at the Northamptonshire track.

That means 2019 could be the last British Grand Prix. Frankly, I am amazed the BRDC has carried on this long with what is, essentially, a massive ball and chain around its neck.

Whatever the outcry from the public will be now, in no way should the BRDC carry the can if the UK loses its grand prix.

And it is still an ‘if’, not a ‘when’.

When the future of the race faced up to its last major crisis point in 2009, the BRDC was the only organisation brave enough to stick its hand up and protect the future of the British Grand Prix.  No other party was willing to take the plunge on a deal that was going to be very hard to make work, but at least it had the guts to attempt to.

Instead of anyone criticising the BRDC for being unable to maintain Britain’s showpiece race, they should instead be thanking it for the last decade of F1 races that we’ve been able to enjoy.

The major problem is the increasing costs of the contract to host the race, which goes up by a certain percentage each year. In 2010, the first year of the new deal, the race cost £11.5 million to the BRDC. By the end of the contract in 2026, had it not triggered the break clause, that fee would have been £25 million.

It sounds like an outrageous contract doesn’t it… the likes of which could only have been drawn up by someone who wanted to screw every last drop out of the BRDC. But, of course, that person would then say that the BRDC didn’t have to sign the contract in the first place…

There has been a huge uproot in F1 since that deal was inked in 2009. Bernie Ecclestone, so often at loggerheads with Silverstone (and particularly the BRDC) has gone. In has come Liberty Media, and the BRDC has stated publicly that the event could continue if F1’s new leaders looked favourably on the race and its heritage.

It has put the ball in Liberty boss Chase Carey’s court. The BRDC has effectively made a cry for help – and this will be a good test of just how proactive Liberty is, how much it cares for the sport’s heritage and how much of its desire is purely commercially driven.

This could define the immediate perception of Liberty and its management in a lot of people’s minds.

It’s an intriguing game of cat and mouse but one, which if played in the right way, could possibly lead to the British Grand Prix having an even stronger future than ever with a realistic contract and a long-term commitment.

Let’s hope it can. But the alarm has been raised by the BRDC, and the people in charge of the sport need to take notice – before the race is lost for good.

As BRDC president Derek Warwick said on TalkSPORT last week: “We will just have to wait and see what is next but, unfortunately, I don’t think anything is really going to happen until people realise it has actually gone. It could be too late for everyone then.”




Recent news


Where Rally Isle of Man fell down

By Jack Benyon

Racing News

Hingeley holds off Ahmed for Donington British F3 win

Ben Hingeley withstood race-long pressure from BRDC British Formula 3 2017 champion Enaam Ahmed...

Racing News

Sowery to miss British F3 finale for Lamborghini Super Trofeo

Toby Sowery will miss this weekend's BRDC British F3 season finale at Donington Park and instead...

Rallying News

Solberg hopes to race in Germany after surgery

Double World Rallycross champion Petter Solberg will undergo surgery in Sweden on Monday but...

Rallying News

BRC man Yates gets WRC2 chance in Spain

British Rally Championship podium finisher Rhys Yates will contest this year’s Rally Spain...

Racing News

Lamborghini crew going all-out for British GT title

Jon Minshaw won't let the events of last year's dramatic British GT season finale come back...

Rallying News

European TouringCar Rallycross canned for 2019

The European Rallycross TouringCar Championship will be wound up by the FIA from the end of...


We'll never see another Colin McRae

By David Evans

Rallying News

Latvala to drive famous Celica at Rallyday

Rally Sweden winner Jari-Matti Latvala will drive one of the most famous Toyota Celica Turbo...

Rallying News

Turkey's WRC schedule return ratified

The World Motor Sport Council has ratified a 13-round World Rally Championship calendar for...

Rallying News

Stars to grace Wales Rally GB

This year’s Wales Rally GB, launched at Cholmondeley Castle on Thursday, will reflect Wales’...

Racing News

National Formula Ford teams up with TCR UK

The National Formula Ford 1600 Championship has been confirmed as the first support series for...

Racing News

Clark museum gets redevelopment green light

A major redevelopment of the Jim Clark Room in Duns has been green-lighted after a total of...

Racing News

National racing stars of the weekend: September 16/17

Our team of national reporters pick their star performers from last weekend’s national race...

Rallying News

BRC could drop Manx Rally after issues

British Rally Championship bosses want to hold talks with the organisers of the Rally Isle of...

Rallying News

Loeb completes gravel test with Citroen

Sebastien Loeb took another step towards a potential World Rally Championship return by testing...

Racing News

Work on Lake Torrent circuit to start in October

A breaking-ground ceremony for the new £29million Lake Torrent track in Northern Ireland has...

Racing News

Reversed grids and Monza for 2018 Carrera Cup GB

A number of changes are planned for the Porsche Carrera Cup GB next season, including the introduction...

Racing News

The club racer who launched a racewear revolution

Promotion: Racewear brand Walero has unconventional roots, but founder Fiona James is onto a...

Racing News

Huff would need factory deal for BTCC return

World Touring Car champion Rob Huff says he would need to be offered a paid British Touring...

Racing News

British F4 race winner to make F3 debut

British Formula 4 Championship race winner Devlin DeFrancesco is to contest the last two rounds...

Rallying News

Rovanpera secures WRC2 outings with M-Sport

Kalle Rovanpera will contest the last two rounds of this year’s World Rally Championship –...

1 2 3 26

More national news, in-depth race reports and analysis. Subscribe to the Motorsport News paper today.

What’s On