While the countdown to a new Concorde Agreement continues, a deal to keep Silverstone and the British Grand Prix on the calendar has even less time.
As it stands, 2019 will see Silverstone host the British Grand Prix for the last time, after which the event will drop from the calendar.
The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which owns the circuit, exercised a clause in the contract days ahead of the 2017 event, which allowed it to end the deal after 2019, having finally spotted the elephant in the room in terms of the ever increasing hosting fees.
Simply put, either Formula One Management comes up with a deal which sees the hosting fees reduced or 2019 is the last time Silverstone hosts the race.
AS previously reported, Silverstone is already in a race against time to find the £13m needed for the 2019 event, which must be paid at the time.
Already under pressure, with the Financial Times revealing that F1’s pro forma core revenues fell 1% to $1.48bn in 2017, the first year under Liberty’s ownership, and with the pattern likely to be repeated this year, FOM can ill afford to lower the hosting fee for Silverstone, especially with Interlagos and Monza in the final years of their deals and, like Silverstone, clearly struggling.
Nonetheless, F1 commercial boss, Sean Bratches, remains “hopeful” of a deal, though it is unclear how one might be agreed that will satisfy all concerned.
“We are very hopeful,” he tells Sky Sports News. “There has not been a lot of change in terms of the last time we spoke.
“We are having discussions and conversations around the business terms and both genuinely trying to get a deal done,” he adds.
“Silverstone, it speaks for itself, it’s an extraordinary brand. It’s the home of the first Grand Prix,” he pointed out, as he reverted to the marketing speak that leaves British race fans cold and seriously concerned for the future.
Meanwhile, as the powers-that-be continue to seek out “destination cities” as venues for races, the American admitted that London remains a key target.
“We are having conversations with the mayor’s office and conversations with cities around the world,” he said. “Certainly if there was an opportunity in London for us to race in the great streets here this would be an ideal circumstance, both for London and for Formula 1 fans around the world.”