F1 Winter Break
Silverstone to announce long term deal to host British GP
Silverstone to announce long term deal to host British GP
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Dec 2009   |  11:17 am GMT  |  97 comments

Silverstone is hosting a press conference in London this morning, with BRDC president Damon Hill due to announce that a deal has been struck with Bernie Ecclestone for the race to stay at the Northamptonshire track until 2026.

The deal has a break clause after 10 years.

The olive branch offered by Ecclestone, which swung the deal as far as Silverstone was concerned, was a reduction in the compound interest due on the deal each year, which will save Silverstone a significant amount of money. The starting fee to host the race is £12 million for 2010, rising to £16.8 million in 2015.

It appears that quietly in the background, new FIA president Jean Todt has been influential in persuading Ecclestone that the British Grand Prix is an important event on the calendar and must be saved. On that basis, he will no doubt also be pushing for a return of the French Grand Prix as soon as possible.

The deal has taken a long time to be finalised and this has largely been on Silverstone’s side as they have been extremely cautious about making sure the numbers add up. Despite a large turnover, the profit margins are small on Silverstone, just £650,000 last year.

“It has been a long and tiring nonsense,” Ecclestone said. “They could have done this whole thing months and months and months and months ago.”

One solution to raise the income is to open the Grand Prix to more people, but Silverstone has a self imposed limit for health and safety reasons and has ruled out that possibility.

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Might have known health and safety would stick it's unwanted nose in somewhere...


Didn't Bernie create and perpetuate the "long and tiring nonsense" he refers to in the first place?


Yep yep and yep :santa:


Happy there's a British Gp but gutted its not at Donington 🙁

Nothing against Silverstone but I was really excited to see the race move to Donington which is an equally good track & the proposed changes woudl have been better for every series that would run there.

Its intresting how a lot of people moan about Bernie moaning about Silverstone's facilities, However I knew someone that was involved with a a British F3 & GP2 team a few years ago & he always used to tell me how many of the teams in a lot of different race series also used to complain about the Silverstone facilities. I was told about how a British F3 team had a lot of expensive equipment damaged due to leaking pit garages for instance & that the garages leaking & paddock flooding is still a huge issue at Silverstone.

I was at the European Gp at Donington in 93 & it was a great event, shame F1 won't be back here anytime soon.


Talking of Paddock flooding I learned skid control in the paddock of Brands. They used to hose it over and chuck handfuls of Whoops (Silicone powder) on it. It was almost impossible to stand up on. Great fun, I wonder if the Brian Jones organisation is still going. I know they gave up on the Whoops when they bought the astatic car instead.


Donington was never going to happen, can anyone imagine the problems of busing all those people in and out for starters 😕


Great news. I might even be able to buy tickets

“It has been a long and tiring nonsense,” Ecclestone said.

Indeed, Bernie, indeed. And it probably won't be too long until you retire and the nonsense ends.


Have you looked on the Silverstone website for tickets yet?? I have just had a peek and am absolutely gob-smacked at the prices. General admission from £115 on the Sunday, up to a max of £250 if you want to sit down and stay dry! They are doing 20% off at the moment.... but even so.... wow!


Regarding prices that's pretty much the same as what it has been the past 3 years.


I'm amazed at the prices people will pay to go to a GP or even a football match. Given the average salary is approx £24,000 and typically there is a family to provide for (even if 2 salaries) and a mortgage out of all proportion to the true value of the property (*) I have no idea how these "average" people on "average" salaries actually pay to attend these events.

(*) Why is it that the media reports that it is good news when property gets *LESS* affordable?


Totally agree, these prices are taking F1 away from many many fans 👿

So what do we think the FIA will do about it 😕


Yep, looking forward to it already 8)


Good to see a sensible, _sustainable, result reached.

It's also heartening to see Jean Todt getting things done as he always has. Quietly in the background.

I think about all the turgid prose from many in the British media about Todt being Devilspawn. But he's shown already he's a very different character to Mosley.

Todt only ever draws his sword as a very last resort. Max, it was the first resort.

Anyway, I'm very happy Silverstone is going to stay around. Silverstone is the best location in Britain to get in and out whether you're from the north or south and Donnington isn't.

I just hope now attention can be focussed on getting a French event back. Grand Prix racing needs its heartland races, even if it means going to a French meadow.


I couldn't agree more, Aaron. You've stolen what was to be my post!


None of know what's going on behind the scenes though nothing can b worse than the long long fall of the Mosey regime (that said all his cronies are still their unless James knows different:?:


Great news, I hope they can secure the investment to develop some impressive and world beating facilities.


Very good point for Todt, nonsens not to have a race in UK.

Hope he will use his influence to secure France, Spa every year, Germany, San Marino and why not go back to Portugal or even Mexico (fantastic track but surely needs a lot of money to be able to host a F1 race again).


The simple and only answer to that is money 👿


"It has been a long and tiring nonsense" says Bernie.

I'm not sure exactly what to believe in the serialised Silverstone soap opera saga, but surely the BRDC had good reason to be cautious considering all the hoops and hurdles that ringmaster Bernie has put them through over the last not-so-few years.

I know Bernie can probably justify his actions despite accusations of hypocrisy and double standards when compared to tracks like Brazil and Monaco but I still find it a bit rich for him to imply that the BRDC are the sole perpetrators of the "long and tiring nonsense".

And as for Donington! Did he really think they would succeed and pull that off with the dodgy fund-raising scheme they were proposing? I think he expected them to fail. I know I never held out much hope for them.

Exactly what the outcome of Bernie's long game on this one I'm not sure. At one stage it looked like he was hoping to pick up the pieces from a demoralised BRDC, buy the track and run the whole show himself!

Do you have any further thoughts along these lines James?


He could not do that as the asset was ringfenced a few years ago, so could not be sold. I think he wanted them to do the development they have been talking about for years and they wanted more security before committing the funds. Both sides were hoping that the government would invest as they do elsewhere in the world.


Why does Bernie say 'they' could have done it months and months ago?? If it was so easy like he makes out, then why didn't they?

Personally I've had months of feeling a bit worried about wether or not I'm going to see another Grand Prix fairly local (ok so I live in Scotland) without having to go abroad.

Anyway, just sitting waiting to hear the news and hope never to hear about the Silverstone deal again for at least10 years!



That's a relief. I felt my F1 interest was on hold.

5% pa? That's a massive risk for the BRDC. Paying £12m for an anticipated profit of £650,000 at best. I've got to say that I for one will understand when the gate prices go up, as they must.

Bernie was moaning so obviously well played Damon.


If the prices go up then the decline in attendance will continue.

What on earth are the health and safety issues? Surely if it is something to do with numbers using sanitation it can be dealt with at a price - as could more seating - otherwise it's a great big airfield surely capable of taking more visitors than now although I appreciate this is only an annual event and that nothing like these numbers would visit for anything else (although they perhaps could think about other uses such as concerts - I bet the neighbours would love it!!!


What decline in numbers? It was rammed this year!


It was amazing seeing that many fans paying that much just to see the Grand Prix. It was mine and my dad's first GP (20 years of waiting for me before dad reached into his pocket!!) and we were just blown away by how good everything was. From what people have said (Bernie mostly) I was expecting a stark, club circuit like Oulton Park or Mallory Park, but this was and is a first-class event. The stalls were all packed, the stands were even more crammed, and the people crowding round at Beckett's just to watch the GP2 race was incredible. We were at Copse and it was just amazing.

The Silverstone party at the end of raceday is a big draw as well... As far as I'm aware no Grand Prix in the world does as much for the real fans (not snooty VIPS who watch part of the race from their balconies) as Silverstone does... getting all those drivers to come out in their own time really made our weekend extra special!

I'd stump up £250 to go back anytime... even on my salary!!


Calm down, calm down 😯


Just excited that I can finally uncross my fingers...


About bl**dy time! Its a great circuit with a great atmosphere and it attracts a large and knowledgeable crowd. I'm delighted that they've managed to do a deal of this length, if nothing else it means that we might not have to listen to Bernie slagging it off every year! I've been fortunate enough to visit many Grand Prix circuits and although the pits are a bit dated, Silverstone is far from the third world dump that BE makes it out to be.

Also, has anyone else noticed that M Todt seems to be doing business in a very different style from his predecesor. No leaks, no sarcastic spinning, no convoluted power-plays. Sauber/Toyota situation....quietly sorted. Silverstone....quietly sorted. Maybe we may get a French Grand Prix back sooner rather than later....Paul Ricard anyone?

What are your thoughts James?


Ecclestone owns Ricard


And your point is ❓


So Bernie would have to negotiate with himself. Might be a worth exercise.


Problem with Paul Ricard, is that it is just a track, very bland, and not great for spectators as its built as a test track...

What about the Le Mans circuit (not the 24hr one, the moto gp circuit...) would need a little updating for F1 safety but ideal otherwise?


Bike and F1 safety are moving in different directions, the the general removal of gravel traps. However the main problem with Le Mans will the track being too tight for great racing. What you want is the old Charade circuit at Clemont-Ferrand. I'll give you quote from Denny Hulme in Joe Saward's Atlas of Motor Racing. "I loved the place and it was always very kind to me. A lot of people used to wear open-faced helmets there so they could throw up as they went down the hills, left-right-left-right. I found the best way was to hold your breath."


This is fantastic news. Having the British GP on the calendar was a no brainer, and I for one am delighted!


At last! Money should not be a factor for the classic GP's

Silverstone, Monza, Monaco and Spa should never be off the calender.


Nor Suzuka!


Well how could any genuine F1 fan disagree with that ❓

The British Grand Prix is always on of if not the best on the calender and it's others that should follow the UK and do it our way and then maybe we wouldn't be served so many rubbish races we are now seeing at all of the new money tracks 😀


Everybody exhale and start breathing again then 🙂


Just hope Ecclestone isn't up to his usual tricks and suddenly tries to take Spa off the calendar now...


I believe that Bernie started acting as the race promoter for Spa after the 2006 upgrades as a way of securing its long term future.


So, the Escalator has been cut from 7% to 7%?

The Times are reporting it's been cut to 5%, but that would lead to a £15.3m price in 2015.

Sounds like the deal isn't as good as reported...


At long last Bernie has seen sense. A long term deal hopefully will see Silverstone more able to invest in the infrastructure and become a real world class venue. If Jean Todt was working in the background on this more power to the guy....and a big thank-you to him


"It has been a long and tiring nonsense,” Ecclestone said. “They could have done this whole thing months and months and months and months ago.”"

As gracious as ever, isn't he.


Maybe he thinks his favorite character from the 20th century history could have done it sooner. You know, the one Bernie feels got the things done.


Why couldn't Silverstone have done this months and months and months ago? Because of Bernie. When will Bernie learn that a deal has two parties and must work in the interests of both if it is to give true satisfaction to either?


Yep, nice chap isn't he ❓


James, do you know what the 'improvments' to Silverstone are going to be, are they still planning on moving where the Start/Finish is?

Also they could build some proper huge grandstands which could generate some more money!


I don't see how Bernie thinks Silverstone could have done a deal months ago. It was only last month that the Donington farce completely fell apart.


Your point is well made and just shows us all how much of what Mr Ecclestone says is utter rubbish 😯


On crash they are reporting 'the deal commands a reduced £12m price tag for 2010, with an annual seven per cent escalator to follow'

Bernie (and his successor) must be laughing their heads off. The BRDC had better hope we get rampant inflation and a big interest rate hike.

By my reckoning that means they will be paying 38 million quid to host the race in 2027.

(12mill times (1.07 to the power of 17))

Or does it stop at 16.8 mill after 2015 James?


Yes, I was told $35 million in 2026.

Ray (Oh dear's real name)

Blimey. Methinks we'll be looking at circa 500 quid for a weekend ticket then.

In that case, that's an astonishingly strange deal. So much for deflation eh!

If we use this as a marker, the BOE had better start raising interest rates, or the BRDC are possibly in deep doo doo.

They'll have either strangle the public, finally get goverment aid or have a very good investment strategy to cope with what Bernie expects them to pay.


I think the BDRC may well end up regretting this deal, the sums are just too huge and leave no margin for the unexpected.

I wonder, if the directors of the BDRC were challenged as to whether or not they have taken due care for the future of the BDRC ❓

The sum of £38 million in 17 years times must rely so much on the hope the UK starts to have the dreaded inflation again.

As id being said in the City of London, who in today's world puts their prices up 5% year on year as a given ❓

I hope it all works out though I fear it may not as the gate prices are just too high already and all it would take is for a backlash from the fans and them not going in the numbers expected and all of a sudden the revenue just isn't there.

There is also FOTA and the current agreement only being short term, they could yet decide that when the new green formula is to be introduced that they'd be better doing it without most of the money generated leaving the sport, where would this leave this deal 😕 ❓


Im looking to go to my first grand prix next year and well silverstones only across the pond 🙂

Great news that they got it sorted out at last.


Maybe I was wrong about Todt!


I researve judgment on that one, lets waite and see how the great red machine is delt with should they do anything wrong?


I've always said that Donnington Park was never going to be ready, given the amount of reassurances that they have given over finances and failing to meet deadlines.

We now have 2 of the biggest shows on earth with the Formula One and Moto GP. Next season I cant wait for the entertainment factor.

I am however concerned with Silverstones infrastructure saying that they are going to build new pits and paddock. They have said this all before and nothing has materialised. But I believe Silverstone Circuit is in a way like the model of Arsenal Football Club. They are I think the only circuit on the F1 calendar that doesnt receive Government funding so that they have to make their money purely on the events that they host. So by this being the case they cannot pump money into the best facilities and are carefully investing in the areas that could have higher returns in the future. They are also one of the best driver circuits on the calendar just like Arsenals flowing football which is very pleasing on the eye. Bernie might be having a go at the bosses at Silverstone about the facilities and the Government for not backing the circuit like others on the calendar, but in these economic times you cant pump money into a facility just for the sake of it when there are plenty of other circuits who are in worse conditions.

Silverstone is now safe for the future and I believe that Richard Philips is the Arsene Wenger of the motorsport world.


It's great news that there will be a race at Silverstone. I notice from their website that they've copied some of Donnington's planned "car-free" nonsense. Last year, a Friday ticket came with free parking. For 2010, you have to pay £5 to park and you can't buy a permit if you buy just one ticket!

Does anyone want a lift?!


Brilliant news. Interesting that Bernie still has a poke at Silverstone. He might hate the place, as it lacks the corporate hospitality areas he so desires, but even he must have contemplated, he couldn't be the man who killed the British Grand Prix.

Great news for Silverstone and F1 fans everywhere. The majority of races there are action packed....



Do you know if the asking price had come down for Silverstone due to the economic downturn?

If so, then not signing the contract last year and the whole Donnington saga was a blessing in disguise for Silverstone.


The track at Silverstone may also change for Formula One according to the BBC -


It has to get approved from the FIA first but what part of the track will be lost if they decide to add the Moto GP part of the track into the F1 race?


Good show!

But how did they arrive at 17 years?? Thats an odd number if I ever saw one.


Well it was the number Donington had signed up to


Brilliant!!! It will be intersting to see if they get homologation for the new arena track setup and whether or not it will be an improvenment.

Hats off to the BRDC for sticking at it whilst also attracting moto gp.



But we won't be making the trip to Silverstone or Spa next year. Most Definitely 2011 though, if the Iceman is back!


So much for offering the fans a cheaper way to see motorsport at Silverstone - with fees increasing to £16.5 who do you think is going to pay for that? Yes you've guessed US the fans


"a reduction in the compound interest due on the deal each year" Is this in fact the annual fee increment or is it the interest on the capital borrowed?

A 5% profit (Nett I hope) is not too bad, most of the motor industry survives on less. However the cost of entry is already ridiculously high and will need to rise in order to keep up with the rise in fixed costs since Mr Brown has lit the fuse on an inflation bomb and will be safely out of office when it explodes. Apart from this the annual "Bernie fee" indexation will impose double price increases to the punters. How much was it Bernie paid for the rights again and his Return On Investment must be in the millions of percent now.

Quite frankly unless Silverstone has a rich uncle I cannot see how it can possibly survive financially. Attendance will fall as the cost of entry rises. (The demand/supply curve may be elastic but it will only stretch so far. Then we are into the well known demand bathtub curve)

I am surprised that the deal was done at all.


Sadly I fear you may well be proved right. The gate prices for 2010 are already way too high and has put the Grand Prix out of the reach or many.

If the figures are published by Silverstone are correct and they did in fact make a tiny profit on their huge turnover they have entered dangerous waters indeed.

One bad year and 🙁


so what is the actual escalator on this, and will it continue to apply year on year over the whole deal (assuming the release isn't triggered early)? i thought that was the sticking point for silverstone as they wouldn't be able to pay the future hosting fees without increasing the already ludicrous ticket prices.


Surely the only people that had 'months and months and months and months' to get things done were at Donington


Like how Bernie gets the last word in even if he gave in, must be quite a mischeivious and fun guy !


James (or anyone else for that matter), where would you say is the best place to watch the action from at Silverstone?

I've been a couple of times before and sat in the stands at Luffield, Club, the pit straight and Copse but wondered if there was one part of the circuit that stood out above the others.



Becketts is amazing, but you can only stand it for a while.


The atmosphere around the Copse area and pit straight in 2008 was amazing when Hamilton drove superbly in the wet to win an electrifying race.


Oh yes, about as gracious as Arsene Wenger!


James, i have never been to Silverstone before but a want to go next year to see Jenson and Lewis in action, where do you recommend i get tickets for the best view of the action?


Anywhere you can! The pits straight is pretty good for an all round view, especially the Woodcote view as you can see the complex, plus Copse, plus the giant screen. I put my father in law there two years ago and he's never been to a race and he loved it. I think it was Woodcote B


This is great news for Formula One! Silverstone is a very important historical circuit for the series, as it was the location of the first Formula One World Championship. Personally, I think that Formula One without Silverstone is like the IndyCar Series without Indianapolis.

On a side note, I received my book last Wednesday. I'm in California, so I couldn't believe how quick the shipping was. Thanks for publishing a piece of history, James!


I'm glad to see the race stay at silverstone. It's a great venue other than getting in and out.

Some great weekends I've enjoyed there over the years (not including the year I we got stuck in the carpark for hours and I managed to slam the car boot shut on my sisters hand).

Well done to brdc for sticking to their prudent approach and not overstretching financially. Now they have a long term deal it will be easier to raise funding for the improvements.

I get the feeling bernie sometimes forgets that along with his stewardship of f1, what made it great was the famous tracks!


Very pleased that the British GP is saved and has a future. And I really like Silverstone as a track and a facility.

Just hope that the track's customer service for customers wanting to purchase tickets improves ... it was an insult of "Gas Board" proportions on my last experience.


Hi James,

Great news, it was unthinkable that we might have been derprived of an F1 race in the UK.

What do you think of the proposed track layout changes for 2010?


James, Bernie has for years complained about the facilities at Silverstone. With this new investment group on board with the BRDC, will the circuit be seeing an upgrade soon and was this part of Bernie's thinking in negotiating this deal?


It's always been part of the plan. Silverstone needed some security in order to invest


Does anyone kn ow if Silverstone will be allowed to make ANY money other then through ticket sales, i.e on-site activities and sales etc or, as I fear, all this will end up in Ecclestones coffers ❓


I always say the best place to watch the British Grand Prix from - Is in front of the 52" plasma in the front room. It's cheaper...


Quote Bernie from PlanetF1 "I didn't have any special sentiment because it was Britain, but if people think I helped then that's nice."

Nice to know you fooled us again then Bernie! For a moment there we thought you had a heart.


Now now don't be silly 🙂


With the new Moto GP layout announced is that what is going be used for the F1? If so does that mean no more seeing the cars up close through Bridge???


James - what do you make of the planned updates to the circuit with the arena complex? I am quite excited by it as they add a little more variety to the circuit - even if we lose the spectacle of the cars coming through Bridge.

However I am in two minds about the decision to move the start finish between Club and Abbey. Whilst I like the idea of Silverstone getting a brand new, world class paddock and press area - Copse corner has always been my favourite first corner of any GP circuit. To have it as a corner mid way around the track will somewhat detract the focus from it.

Do you know if they are still planning on making Club a banked corner as was part of the plans when this upgrade was originally proposed 8 years ago?

Paige Michael-Shetley

Sorry mate, but I have to disagree on the circuit updates.

In my view, if you take any one of Copse, the Becketts complex, Stowe, or Bridge away from Silverstone, you have made it a lot less special.

I agree on the movement of the start/finish line, but for a different reason. One of the great visual memories of F1 as long as I've been a fan that I will always cherish is that of Hamilton coming through Luffield on the final lap in 2008 to cap off an unbelievable wet win, with all the British fans going crazy in their silver attire and waving their Union Jacks. There's just something about that image with that particular corner which says to me, "This is how a grand prix should end."


The proposed new press and pits won't do anything for either the racing or the fans other than costing them more.

What makes Silverstone the best Grand Prix is the level of support from in the main real F1 fans, surely the most knowledgeable crowd in F1.

The atmosphere is simply electric as is so don't let all this talk of padlock and press area fool us into thinking that it's being done for us as it isn't.

Give us more eating and refreshment facilities, more toilets and value for money tickets, that's what the fans want and that is what the TV stations would also want as it would guarantee a full house unlike the various money tracks Ecclestone had saddled us with.

Whatever Silverstone do I hope they remember that at the end of the day it's the racing that matters and not all the tat Ecclestone is insisting on, long live the racing ❗ 😉


I beg to differ. The new press and pits area may not offer any immediate gain for fans visiting the circuit - however only 100,000 people attend the race - that is only 1% of the audience in the UK, let alone the world. Improved press and pit facilities will better equip those reporting; for example, one of the highlights of the BBC coverage this year has been the Red Button forum after the race. It is clear that on the races with better facilities they have been able to provide more information more quickly.

However, even for the 100,000 people who attend the race (whom I am one of) - you cannot say this is of no benefit to them because without the promise of updated facilities it is quite possible that the contract would never have been signed.

Whilst Ecclestone's motives often contradict what hardcore fans sometimes want to see, it is important to remember that the sport does need revenue to exist. Whilst it is true that it would exist if the global expansion Ecclestone has spearheaded had not taken place, it would not have existed as the clear pinnacle of motorsport.

Today, Formula 1 is lightyears ahead of any other motorsport, and arguably any other sport. After the World Cup and the Olympic Games, Formula One is the biggest sporting event and unlike those two it is a yearly event.

The total capacity of every race circuit in the calendar added together is less than 2 million. Over 150 million people watch Formula 1 on TV.

If it were not for these numbers then the teams would not be able to attract so much sponsorship, and without the financial investment the sport would not be in such rude health. People may point to several manufacturers pulling out, however even with these withdrawals there are still more teams wanting to take part then there are grid slots.

What I am trying to make the point of is that you can't have it all one way. If Formula One had not expanded in the way it had done then another sport would have come along and usurped it as the pinnacle of motor racing. Bernie's strategy - no matter how at odds it may play against tradition - is a necessary evil.

And don't take this to think that I am a fan of his - had the British GP not appeared on the calendar my response would not have been printable.


I think 6,500 tickets sold in 24 hours after the announcement was made says it all about Britains love for motorsport, thats almost the same number as total tickets sold for the Chinese and Turkish 2009 GPs combined!


Great news. Been busy reading your book James, the Donnington Park quote made me laugh, Abu Dhabi this ain't.


...And it still ain't! Thanks

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!