The British Grand Prix has officially been saved – with a new five-year deal to keep the national institution on the sporting calendar. Sportsmail understands the deal was signed by the two sides – Silverstone and the sport’s owners Liberty Media – on Tuesday night in central London.
News that the race will be staying at the Northamptonshire circuit is a massive boost to British motor racing.
Announcing the deal, Chase Carey, chairman and CEO of Formula 1, said: We are really pleased to confirm that the British Grand Prix will stay on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar for at least the next five years, with the event remaining at its long-standing home, Silverstone circuit.
‘We have always said that, if it is to have a long-term future, our sport must preserve its historic venues and Silverstone and Great Britain represent the cradle of this sport, its starting point back in 1950. Today, Formula 1 is a global sport, held on five continents, watched by an audience of over 500 million fans around the world and our aim is to grow this number by bringing the sport we love to new countries, while also maintaining its roots: Silverstone and the British Grand Prix are an integral part of that vision.’
To have lost a foothold in Britain would have been a massive blow for F1, and the sport’s owners Liberty Media were keen to find an accommodation with Silverstone and its owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), which comprises a 800-strong, invite-only membership of luminaries. The BRDC invoked a release clause two years ago that would have made this Sunday’s race. Silverstone and the BRDC were unhappy with the escalating fee to host the grand prix. The outlay would have risen to £26million by the end of the contract, in 2026, they had signed with former supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Even last year, when a record crowd poured into the refurbished airfield, the event only broke even.
A way has seemingly been found to set Silverstone a fee they can afford and offer more ways for them to make money from the commercial opportunities the race provides. John Grant, Chairman of the BRDC, said: ‘Silverstone is one of the most iconic Grands Prix on the F1 calendar and with such a rich heritage it would have been disastrous for the sport and fans had we not managed to find a way forward.
‘2020 will be the 70th anniversary of the first round of the World Championship which took place at Silverstone on 13th May 1950 and will make next year’s event all the more special. This is great news for the BRDC, Silverstone and Formula 1 – and for millions of British motor racing fans.’