The future of the British Grand Prix could be thrown into uncertainty today with Silverstone’s owners expected to announce that they have activated a break-out clause to cease Formula One racing after 2019.
The British Racing Drivers’ Club will hold a press conference today – five days before this year’s race – in which it is expected to say it will leave its 17-year contract in two years.
The BRDC, which has until Sunday’s race to activate the clause, will do so in the hope of brokering a more viable contract.
American conglomerate Liberty Media has staged talks with both the BRDC and Silverstone. But while Silverstone wants to continue its relationship with Formula One, it will not do so at the cost of financial ruin. The Northamptonshire circuit, unlike many F1 tracks, receives no government backing.
Silverstone’s decision will place a heavy burden on F1’s new owners, which would not want to risk losing an event – an ever-present on the calendar for nearly 70 years – during the formative months of its reign.
Silverstone agreed a long-term contract to continue its association with the British Grand Prix in 2010.
But the hosting fee, which goes up by 5 per cent a year – from £12 million in 2010, to £17m this year and £26m in 2026 – is crippling.