Following on from recent rumours and reports, the BRDC has now announced that it has activated the break clause in its British Grand Prix contract.
Silverstone hosted the first ever F1 race in 1950 and has been the British GP’s permanent home since 1987, but the race’s future has now been thrown into uncertainty.
The BRDC signed a new contract for 17 years at the end of 2009, but it included a break clause that allowed the track to drop the race after 2019.
If the clause was going to be activated, it had to be done before the 2017 event, and the BRDC has now confirmed it – just days before this year’s race.
So, now, if a new agreement can’t be reached, there won’t be a British GP after 2019.
The contract for the British GP included a 5% increase in race fees each year, and the huge cost of hosting an F1 round has been one of the major reasons for Silverstone doing what it has now done.
It’s the only suitable venue for the British GP and the break clause now means it can try to renegotiate better terms with Liberty Media, but the new F1 owners don’t seem happy about it.
Here’s a statement from BRDC chairman John Grant on the news:
“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.”
It’s unsurprising that the clause has been broken, but it’s not great news for British F1 fans. Here’s hoping something can be worked out.