Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches has warned that business interests must be considered in securing the future of the British Grand Prix ahead of the expiration of Silverstone’s existing deal next year. Silverstone confirmed last year it would be triggering a break clause in its F1 contract after the 2019 race due to spiralling costs, casting doubt on the future of the British Grand Prix, an event that has appeared on every calendar in the sport’s history.
While Silverstone is eager to continue to host F1, it would only be able to do so under a revised deal that would see a fall in the hosting fee for the race. F1 officials announced on Wednesday that Vietnam would be joining the calendar for the 2020 season, leading many fans on social media to question why more was not being done to secure the future of the ‘heritage’ races such as the British Grand Prix.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Bratches responded by pointing out that F1 had not always raced at Silverstone, using a number of different venues in the UK, and stressed the importance of business interests: “We’re a 68-year-old entity and the nature of grand prix racing is that it is dynamic,” Bratches said – “Silverstone was the first grand prix, but we haven’t raced at Silverstone all those 68 years. The race has been held at Brands Hatch and other venues. Nothing is immutable in this sport in terms of where we race. We do value certain races highly and we do what we can to preserve racing there, but we are a business. We are a public company and we have a lot of stakeholders and shareholders and we’re trying to marry what’s best for fans with running a successful business.” – he added.
Seab Bratches explained how the addition of the planned street race in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, would not tread on the toes of a heritage track such as Silverstone, having categorised the events in different ways: “We look at it in three ways,” Bratches said. “Firstly, we want to preserve the heritage races, they are very important to Formula 1 and they are very important to fans. I’m talking about the Silverstones, the Spas, the Monzas of this world. Then we have a set of street races and hybrid street races, where we race in parks and on city streets, such as Melbourne, Montreal and Mexico City. The third segment features purpose-built facilities such as Shanghai, Austin, Texas and Bahrain. Beyond that we are looking to identify further street races, so this race is a further step in terms of our vision.” – Formula 1 commercial chief Sean Bratches concluded, as reported by crash.net.