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Silverstone activates 2019 break clause with British F1 GP host at ‘tipping point’ under contract
Posted By: Editor   |  11 Jul 2017   |  3:46 pm GMT  |  105 comments

Silverstone has triggered its break clause with Formula 1 owners Liberty Media citing losses over its last two years as host of the British Grand Prix.

The break clause in its contract with F1 has now been formally triggered meaning that 2019 will be the last year that the British GP takes place at Silverstone unless a new contract is agreed.

“This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our current contract,” said British Racing Drivers’ Club Chairman John Grant before a press conference at the circuit on Tuesday.

The BRDC owns and operates the circuit having invested £50 million over the last decade to develop Silverstone, which attracts over 350,000 spectators over the GP weekend.

The British GP boasts the highest attendance of any race in the calendar and the highest attendance for a British weekend sporting event.

“The net revenue is not enough to cover the overheads let alone turn a profit,” said the BRDC President.

“We sustained losses of £2.8m in 2015 and £4.8m in 2016, and we expect to lose a similar amount this year.

“We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads. It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us,” continued Silverstone’s Sporting Director Stuart Pringle

Silverstone has hosted the race since 1950 and its current contract has been in place to host the GP since 2009, agreed with the previous owners of F1 under Bernie Ecclestone’s tenure.

Its losses stem from a 5% annual increase in promoter’s fees; the fee has increased from £11.5m in 2010 to £16.2m in 2017.

Had the fee kept in line with UK inflation, it would have increased to only £13.6 million this year (£2.8m less). By 2026, (the last year of the contractual obligation) the fee will have risen to £25m.

“The 5% inflation rate might have looked quite a reasonable bet back in 2009. nobody then remotely would’ve expected inflation to be as low as it’s been,” said Grant.

“To some extent there is a sense of relief that we have that break clause because then it can bring that to a stop, and stop the situation becoming even more dire for us in the future.”

The race will run in 2018 and 2019 as normal and discussions between Liberty and the BRDC will continue over the circuit’s future as host.

“Ongoing discussions with Liberty’s new F1 team secure long term financial viability of the event [shouldn’t take] more than a few months.

“We share [Liberty’s] vision for putting fans at the heart of the sport and we’ve made it clear that we’re open to working with our friends at Liberty.

“We’re basically open to considering all alternatives with Liberty to find this sustainable and viable future for the GP. Having said that we’ve also said in recent month that it’s the BRDC’s strategic direction not to sell the circuit”

“I think there’s a sense of relief that the guys who negotiated the contract had the sense and foresight to put a break clause in.

“It’s only one [clause] but they had the the foresight to put a break clause in and presumably that was in the event that things didn’t work out as either side anticipated. It could’ve been one way or the other.”

“We have no choice today but to exercise the option, that we have done this morning. This is something that we’ve been giving a lot of thought to over the last couple of years. We don’t take this lightly.

“We recognise that one of the possible outcomes is that there will not be a British GP here after 2019, and that would be a monumental shame.” said Pringle.

Have your say on Silverstone’s decision to activate its break clause in the comment section below

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“The 5% inflation rate might have looked quite a reasonable bet back in 2009. nobody then remotely would’ve expected inflation to be as low as it’s been,”

Well, you could have, instead of "5%" put "adjusted for inflation" in the contract. If indeed that was the reasoning. Which I doubt. I still hope British GP will be saved.


I wonder if the Deal was ever "Profit making" in between say 2010 to 2014?

If it was loss making right from the get go, they just ensured it stays that way Adjusting for Inflation.

But I wonder if they used to initially make Profits (BRDC) and later due to overestimating the inflation amount- eventually went into loss.

Any idea anyone?


This was a Bernie contract and doubtless their choices were to take it or leave it. 5% is substantially more than the target rate for inflation, so it was certainly in Bernie's favour - I would bet it was actually the greater of 5% and the inflation rate so HE wasn't going to lose out. If inflation had not been lower than target for much of the last few years, I accept that the rises would not have seemed as steep though.

I am a little surprised that it was a contract in GBP as I thought most F1 business was conducted in USD or EUR which would have been even worse for this year's fee. Liberty , of course, will be the ones feeling the effect of the currency drop in this case so it's another negative point in their argument.


And if inflation had suddenly skyrocketed?

Without the benefit of hindsight it was likely much more attractive at the time to have a fixed, known value rather than uncertainty.

I wouldn't worry too much about it - I have a feeling that Liberty will agree to a new and more sustainable deal.

Fingers crossed 🙂


Fingers crossed indeed Random, Sepang has already slipped out the back door.


Unfortunately, Silverstone has been a victim of Mr E's Obama-esque "pivot to Asia", as were a lot of European events (Monza as well - it's deal runs out next year) in terms of signing deals that were long term unsustainable. Ultimately, like Obama's idiotic and myopic policy, the "pivot to Asia" would be Mr E's downfall and has led to his demise on GP racing...................

..................hopefully, with Ross the Boss at the helm, European promoters can tear up their previous deals with Mr E, and renegotiate a sensible deal that keeps Formula 1 in the Old Continent. A grand prix schedule without the likes of Silverstone, Spa, Monza is unthinkable, but Paul Ricard and Hockenheim returning next year is a good start, and hopefully Estoril, Imola and Zandvoort will be back soon.

Of course, Obama hated European cultural dominance with a passion, hence his love affair with the Asiatic world, but Mr E's motives of moving eastward were more fiscally motivated - to enrich himself! Now that obstacle has gone, the future may not be so good bleak for the likes of Silverstone and Monza after all............contracts can be ripped up - and re-written. Here's hoping.


I wouldn't call it a pivot. More like a pirouette.


Hey gaz-boy are you a Hamilton fan?


"Obama hated European cultural dominance with a passion"

What nonsense is this?


makes no sense as a bit of Obama bashing as we now have the oaf running the world.
More like the BRDC feel no need to please the current idiot in charge and his minions who incidentally want the maximum cash possible.
Only the Non European countries are willing to spend that sort of money.


I always wondered why Obama hated Europe. Above all he should have loved Africa as there are his family roots. Instead he destroyed African countries like Sudan and Libya through his warfares and left them bleeding. Strange. Now that he's gone he is hated the same way in his country like Blair is in the UK. And it is Obama's mistake that the World has to endure Trump now, for the American citizens didn't want more of the same Obamapolitics.


Don't believe the crazies...
I never understand anyone who claim Americans hate Europe, when we Americans spend more money time and effort working with Europe. In fact apart from recent weeks, the ONE and TRUE bedrock of American life since the end of WWII, has been our unbroken pledge to die for Europe if poor little Vladdy Putin ever got jealous of our love for you and tried to move in on our action. Look at it this way, we are so jealous of anyone trying to steal you from our arms, we even secretly listen in on your phone calls to make sure you are not cheating on us!


Ross is not involved in commercial deals


Don't Panic !!
Keep Calm !!
They Don't Like it Up'Em !! (Liberty)

Liberty sort it out. You get rid of Silverstone and you've lost one of the Grand Prix Circuits that packs a full house each year.
If they did they might as well shoot themselves in the foot.
Silverstone is F1 unlike some race circuits dotted around the Middle East ,China, Russia & Baku all these tracks are dull and have lacking in charisma.
Silverstone Canada Japan Australia and Monaco are the top tracks.


@ GazBoy / Please leave references to Obama out of this discussion. He has nothing to do with it. To compare, or link Ecclestone with him in any way is nonsense.


Silverstone's contract may have been a good bet at one time. Wonder how many other tracks are in similar circumstances and watching this initiative very closely?

Seems ticket prices and profitability have plagued quite a number of venues over the years - for example the alternating German GP deals in the past, and even the lack of a German GP. Seems an opportunity all-around for Liberty to address their early commitment to "traditional" locations and countries while at the same time expanding the calendar in markets of the New World. Will be good to learn which way the compass is pointing, eh?


they can't pay 15-20 million pounds to hold a race while others pay three times as much as them...frankly good seems like more about mismanagement than anything else. I am sure they may lose some money on gp but overall the circuit must be making money by hosting other events.


I think those other races are run at a loss due to government funding.


There is (are) someone (lot of people) that is (are) making a profit out of the race and especially with the most expensive tickets combined with the most attendance in F1 it just simply doesn't add up. Someone is just a bit to greedy in the UK, just as much as Bernie was.


Antonio, the only people making money out of the British GP are Liberty. A large amount is generated in ticket tevenues, but the overheads are huge, hundreds of staff that need to be paid, temporary structures to be erected, Northamptonshire Police present the track with a hecfty bill every year for their efforts and this is all before the hosting fee has been paid.


The ones that pay three times as much are state backed GP's such as Bahrain and AD - which do not have to make money (yet).

If (when) they do, they will no longer be able to sustain the current fees....


Do your calculations include government subsidies?


The other circuits have government backing


If Silverstone disappears then it will be a great travesty and its ongoing survival surely represents one of the most urgent challenges that face Liberty. Too many of the historic circuits have fallen away and been replaced by sub-par Tilke tracks or events that are/were simply poorly run (Malaysia was the one that always stuck in my mind, having had the displeasure of attending it).
Let's hope that Liberty sort it out, there is money to be made for all at Silverstone.


I don't like this Tilke bashing. COTA is a great track, so was Turkey. Malaysia has been a decent venue, even Bahrain has been OK since they went to a night race. China is alright (not a fan of the slowing T1,T2,T3 or the long right hander before the straight, nor of the straight itself!) But the middle sector is actually quite decent. India wasn't horrendous.
Rubbish tracks include Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Korea and Sochi. What do all of these have in common? All at sea level around a marina or dock. No elevation change, no outstanding features or monster corners like 130R or Maggotts-Becketts, Eau Rouge or Blanchimont. No seat of your pants moments anywhere on the track. But You can'r blame Tilke for having to design a circuit to meet safety restrictions AND negotiate existing structures AND have planning restrictions on what he is actually allowed to design AND fulfill the brief of F1's commercial rights holder. When he has freedom, he does quite well.


Try the USGP. COTA is a Tilke track but the drivers and fans like it.


I'm based in Texas, so I am very familiar with COTA.
My understanding is that Kevin Schwantz pretty much designed the track with Tilke simply providing the final plans.
In any case a great track, just don't get on their telephone marketing list...once on, you can never get off!


Yes, Tilke had very little to do with the COTA layout, according to what's publicly known. The Austin American–Statesman reported that the "greatest hits" concept and layout was originally conceived by Tavo Hellmund, with input from Schwantz. There's a fascinating sketch that Hellmund made in 2007, apparently in Bernie's kitchen, with notes scribbled in the margin.

Original article here:


I remember when they signed the contract the exponential rise seemed like it would be far too expensive by the end.
But if they made a loss of £4.8 million last year they would have still made a loss if the fees were £13.6million or even 11.5 as they were in 2010. So Silverstone must be having more problems than just the rising fees.
Is the loss just related to the development costs or are there more causes?


5% is not exponential


For sure its not extreme but unless my mathematics is failing me like usual its still exponential growth.


Granted... a very slow example in hindsight

Tornillo Amarillo

We share [Liberty’s] vision for putting fans at the heart of the sport

Everybody put the fans first, but the fans have to pay high ticket-tags to assist to the circuits.
It is better to pay 2 tickets $60 than 1 ticket $100..., you know?
So managers, stop the blah-blah-blah about fans if the fans will pay such a price.
I was looking at the circuit to spend a lot of money for flags and a cap with the "Lance Stroll" name on it and nop, nothing available. So c'mon, what are you waiting for?
And there is the pay-per-view thing here and there of course.
Just hurry-up to fix it.
ps: Nice to have music and wider experiences on a weekend..., but I prefer just more accessible F1, if I want to go to a show I just go to a show...


Many people who post here roundly bashed Rosberg for retiring and breaking his contract with Mercedes. I now expect those same folks to thoroughly bash the BRDC for breaking its contract with FOM. The BRDC are poor business people.


BRDC activated the break clause in the contract which is a contractual right it is entitled to make. Rosberg didn't have a break clause so breached his contract by retiring and not fulfilling his contractual obligation for 2017


CC2002 : you obviously have no understanding of business at all.

There is a break clause written into the contract. There is no question of the BRDC being in breach of Contract. All Silverstone has done is exercise a legitimate option which they are perfectly entitled to do.

They will then be free to attempt to negotiate a replacement contract with the new owners.


So did you defend Rosberg when he retired and exercised his right to break his contract?

Reports are Liberty Media have already bent over backwards to aid the BRDC in maintaining their current contract. Liberty are signaling they are not interesting in renegotiating with the BRDC. The BRDC knowingly signed a contract they could not fulfill. They are bad businessmen.

Rubinho's Keyfob

"did you defend Rosberg when he retired and exercised his right to break his contract?"

What on Earth has that got to do with Silverstone sticking to the terms of their contract by triggering the "break" clause that is written into that contract?

Also, they did it at the last possible moment (they had to do it before this year's race, I believe) - which Liberty have stated as "posturing", but in fact is probably more a case of not making the decision until they really had to, as written into the contract (what benefit would there have been if they had said this a year ago, for example?).


As Monza71 said, you do not understand how contracts work. Rosberg had no unilateral right to break his contract, as he had no break clause, as the BRDC did. He had to ask Toto to agree to nullify the contract, which Toto did.

The BRDC obviously thought that they might not be able to meet their contract obligations, which is why they made sure to have a break clause. They still have to run the British GP another 3x before the contract is discharged.


Horner, a member of BRDC but not involved in the F1 contract says the BRDC members who signed the deal can't even do simple math. Poor business people.


Again you prove you don't understand what is going on here !

Rosberg broke his contract pure and simple. He let down fans who had supported him and Mercedes, to their credit, decided there was no point in insisting he stayed against his wishes.

Liberty media could not be seen to renegotiate an existing contract otherwise every circuit would want to do the same.

Fortunately, Silverstone had the break clause so they exercised it giving the two year's notice written into the contract. Both sides have acted entirely honourably.

Liberty and Silverstone are both now free to negotiate a new contract without setting a precedent that other circuits without break clauses could follow. Of course, Liberty, looking over their shoulder at other circuits looking to reduce costs, might decide that the loss of Silverstone on the calendar is less risky to their business model than agreeing a new deal at a substantially reduced fee.

When CVC was in charge, only the money mattered and for years they were looking to exit with as much cash as possible so their thinking was exclusively short term.

At least Liberty seem to appreciate that they will benefit if they promote the long term interests of the sport.

Their only way of squaring the circle is for Liberty to develop new revenue streams via platforms such as Social Media.


He didn't break his contract

He retired. In sport that is acceptable especially a sport with high risks


Apart from the slur against Nico's character I don't see how Rosberg's contract has anything to do with Silverstone.


Then let us hope they engage some people with a calculator so they can work out the percentages.


Man, what is it with the people that run F1. Money, money, money. Doesn't it make enough as it is? There seems to be a lack of respect for the history of the sport; Monza is essential, Monaco is essential, and so is Silverstone. It IS F1 and 100% needs to be part of it.


Meh, if they came to me and said we have this new track that will provide amazing close racing and tons of overtaking spots but Monaco has to go, or Silverstone has to go I'd be open to listening. Not really sentimental to a track being essential to the overall sport.


The problem is that F1 is a business. A business HAS to grow, otherwise it will not attract capital. Liberty are in it for the $$$, exactly the same as CVC - just that they (hopefully) have a better strategy for development & growth of the sport (business).


I blame greedy bernie.
Uk has the best and most f1 teams and some of the most highly skilled people. The industry is worth billions to the UK government.
The contract was ridiculous. It's not like they can squeeze 5% more people in each year. Or increase ticket prices which are way to expensive already. Unbelievable that they have 350k attendance and still make no money.
Can you imagine having a mortgage that increased by 5% each year.
If liberty really do want to keep the traditional circuits they need to reduce the charges to the circuits. Let's see if they keep their word


First, what does Silverstone activating their break clause have to do with the UK nationalism having the best and most f1 teams?

To be clear, I am not one of E's fans but why blame Bernie for this? Why not blame the Silverstone representatives that negotiated this deal, accepted it, and signed it?

Bernie was doing his job which was to get the maximum amount of profit for CVC, which I might add is the same objective of every business manager. At that point in time they decided loosing a few million a year was acceptable. Now they don't. Pretty simple.

To take your analogy into account, no I can't imagine having a mortgage increase 5% per year because I would never sign a contract for a mortgage that does something like that because it doesn't make sense for me. If I did sign, it would be my fault for signing, not the banks fault. So again, not Bernies fault.


Well, the choices were to sign a bad contract, or lose the race. Bernie didn't care one iota if Silverstone lost the GP. Seems the BRDC signed the contract b/c of their hearts, and not with their heads.

I guess the equivalent would be when your mortgage term ends, that you only had one choice of lender, and they were going to increase your mortgage payments by 5% each year, or you could sell your house, and have to find a residence in another country.


It will be interesting to see how this pans out ... if the traditional circuits get financial concessions from Liberty, you can bet some of the newer circuits will start squealing for better treatment too...


If they have negotiated a break clause in their contract and want to activate it and take the risk, I'm sure they could. Otherwise they have nowt to complain about.


Maybe the hosting price should go down by a percentage for each 100k fans the circuit can get through the gates on a GP weekend. Then the newer circuits with more marshalls than spectators wouldn't have anything to complain about.


Here's an opinion that won't be popular (and it's just my opinion): Formula 1 in the UK is now a niche sport.
Think I'm crazy/trolling? How many tuned in to watch Mansell in the 80s and 90s? How many tune in now? James will know better than me, but I believe current viewing figures are below 10% of what they were 30 years ago.
...Meanwhile the fee to host the British GP has risen to mind-bogglingly crazy levels. Is it any wonder Silverstone said "no more"?
Formula 1 has become completely detached from reality.


Er, because it was FTA back then, and hasn't been now for a number of years?..


To be fair, back in the 80's/90's, F1 fans were provided with better TV coverage than the crappy two tier system we have now thanks to Sky.


Don't forget that the BBC are also partly to blame


Yep, they certainly are.


Poor F1G, when F1 was bought the price included Silverstone future revenues, as a legal binding contract.
Now that Silverstone will Brexit it in 3 years, F1G will hv a loss in value, as those revenues are no longer guaranteed, beyond 3 yrs.
F1G has to wait until the contract is broken for good to hold talks to a Silverstone return.
If F1G had several owners/shareholders, they could not give a discount to Silverstone to keep the current contract, bcs its hard to let go guaranteed receivables like that.
So F1G will lose £152.5 M for the remaining of the contract {2020~2026}.


A rational business decision. The 5% accumulator was unsustainable for the whole period of the contract, that's why there was a get out clause. It will take a while to do a deal, and there will be posturing on both sides. But without a serious alternative track in the UK, Liberty Media will be keen to keep what is the home GP for many of the F1 teams.


It will set an interesting precedent. I wonder how many other circuits have similar clauses, and how many are coming up for renewal, and will be watching if/how the Silverstone deal evolves...

Paul Richardson

I cannot understand why they signed the contract in the first place. They must have known their attendance was at capacity, they also would have known the amount of revenue they expected at each years hosted race (bearing in mind when they signed the contract the rate of inflation looked on a long-term low anyway). Therefore the answer is they were going to run this at a loss virtually straight away.

So the first thing is looking at this from an outsiders point of view - it wasn't a viable profitable business venture from day one, so why sign a contract?

I daresay if you look at all of the GP circuits save Monaco (which is free), then they all run at a loss. However can you imagine if the only European GP was Monaco? what a turn off that would be without the old classic circuits of Monza, Barcelona, Silverstone and others gone from the Calendar, already Hockenheim is having a break.

For the long-term viability of the sport and the fact that some countries will soon be pay per view only then I think the owners are going to have to have a serious look at how this will fit into the scheme of things, already the German spectators are vastly reduce in both TV or stadium attendance.

Can you imagine for the young kids growing up today if they can't view it on TV, nor attend a British GP, it then becomes less likely that they follow F1 or the drivers as their sport of choice as they can't view it anywhere.

Something needs changed or we are looking at the long-term demise of interest in this sport.


F1 May be in a 'tail spin' that even flying ace Ross Brawn cant pull it out of!


Unfortunately, the seeds of this issue were sewn long ago when Bernie decided to extract as much money from F1's host circuits as possible. It's clear that the current contract Silverstone had was a bad deal, and i suspect the break clause has been triggered in order to get a much better contract in place now that Liberty are in charge. Hopefully the two parties will work together to produce a solution which in the long term, will allow Silverstone to continue hosting F1 at a much more sensible cost (with any luck, Liberty will also ask Silverstone to revert to the old circuit layout too, Bridge corner used to be mighty, abbey was great for overtaking, and it has never felt right having the start/finish where it is now).


Probably inevitable, given the escalator clause. But given that F1 is (Sauber and Ferrari and Haas/Dallara aside) wholly a British industry, probably inevitably a new deal will eventually be cut.

And if a new deal isn't cut, if the British GP drops off the calendar, will it ultimately matter to the teams? Are they going to withdraw from the series in indignation if they are deprived of their "home" GP? I doubt it.

Equally inevitably, some will say this proves that the UK government needs to directly and substantially fund the British GP and the F1 industry generally. But is that too much an F1-bubble-centric position? Somehow I suspect that the average Brexit supporter won't look kindly on helping billionaires make additional billions.


You are forgetting Scuderia Toro Rosso based in Faenza, Italy. But basically you are correct, this sport is primarily located in the UK, and especially around the Silverstone area, by both teams and support industries.

But, the support of F1 as a UK industry doesn't just benefit the billionaires, it helps maintain the large number of small high tech industries supplying F1. Even loosing tangental things like the availability of F1 on free to air TV is a great loss because you loose the promotion of high tech engineering to young people. Which will be a future loss for the country as a whole, not just F1.


If the curcuit owners had any sense they woud be charging Liberty for the privilledge of holding the races and let Liberty take the promotional risks. Silverstone could say charge liberty maybe £2 million and let them organise it. If the major european venues got together ad played the same game that Bernie played against them, they could get a much better deal. They could also cause Liberty a whole lot of financial pain and guess what, a lot of us would not care one jot!


I find it unbelievable that anyone could agree to the sort of annual price hikes that the BRDC did.
It would appear that they have become the victims of their own poor business sense, and that is all that Silverstone is, just a business like any other.
Surely they could have had a whip round in 2009 and invested in a calculator!
Personally I consider the (new) Silverstone circuit to be the least spectator friendly of the few that I have visited and I don't mourn its potential passing at all, but I do feel aggrieved on behalf of the people who look forward to the British Gran Prix at Silverstone each year. They have, in my humble opinion, been let down by the apparent commercial inadequacies of the people who run the circuit.
But please Mr. Carey, no London Street race. Please! Monaco it ain't. Remember it was tried at Valencia, and look at what an awful circuit that proved to be.


First sensible thing they have done for a while.
They better not sell the circuit either as it would be a housing estate within a few years.
Things like brexit,an ageing population and no TV viewers point to a bit of a squeeze on what people are willing to spend so it would be madness to press ahead with the current deal.


They have already leased out much of the available land some of it on very long leases, mainly to cover the cost of that stupid 'wing' complex that Bernie more of less forced them to build as 'modernisation'. There has been talk of hotels and holiday accommodation but there is little chance that the local planners would allow them to build housing estates! Basically the BRDC, after years of poor financial decisions though with the best of intentions, now have to do whatever it takes to ensure they can hang on to what is left and provide facilites for motorsport and other activities that they can afford to host.


The sport that continues to price itself out of its own market.


Chance of the British GP fslling off the calendar? Zero, a deal will be done, the alternative venues will come to nothing, and it will be business as usual at Silverstone.


Good. I find Silverstone really boring and the blue blazer brigade of the BRDC really annoying.

I know it's a historic circuit, but history in itself is no reason to have a race there. As for the circuit itself, sure it has some challenging and exciting corners that must be great for the drivers, and I've enjoyed driving in games. But the problem is that just doesn't come across on TV. It's flat, dull, and dreary.


Lets hope they do get a deal sorted, because the idea of a London street circuit race which has been touted fills me with dread.

Robin (the other Robin)

Search Gary Hartstein's blog for, "What the fuck is wrong with CVC, FOM, Bernie, the lot of them?" and you'll see why the BRDC (Silverstone) had to do this.


Language their old boy?
Language there are kids reading this also !!!!
But yes totally agree with you regarding Bernie and the super slime ex owners CVC.


As I said before this will be the acid test for liberty media, are they just paying lip service to "wanting to protect the heritage" of the sport or do they really mean it.

Personally I don't think they have any intention of lowering prices, they have said repeatedly they want more for the money but that means more for the money not the same for less money.


Welcome to round 1 of greedy US hedge funds vs greedy UK aristocrats.No rules allowed the most ruthless and remorseless to win


Ah hedge funds! One of my friends has lost a packet this week with the collapse the Corillian share price while the hedge funds who were shorting it have apparently trousered about £80 million. This is what Silverstone are up against!


You British really don't mess around with that Brexit thing huh?
What a shame, such a great layout
Tough times...


Or use a variable interest rate based on good old LIBOR. But yes good of the BRDC negotiators to fight for that break clause.


It should be clear that F1 is not worth the incredible fee being charged for circuits to host events. A gearbox failure for Hamilton and it potentially wrecks your show. If you look at Austria I'd question why the sport decided to hide that penalty for Hamilton, as it seemed like a purely commercial concern.

Silverstone should break from F1 until F1 gets its house in order again. F1 is a very different prospect to 2009, when we had just seen one of the most exciting championships of all time and a real shock with Brawn coming from the abyss to dominate. Viewership in the UK was at an all time high and was actually a prime time success.

So yes, F1 is in a much weaker position and I actually don't see the wide spread fuss if we lose the GP as F1 is much more niche these days and has lost the mainstream appeal thanks to the Sky deal.


''The British GP boasts the highest attendance of any race in the calendar and the highest attendance for a British weekend sporting event.''

And still they can't make it work? Maybe the wrong people are operating it?

The name Silverstone is legendary, but the track is a shadow of it's former self since the butchery a few years ago.


I don't think the 'butchery' did it any harm really. Longer circuit, another overtaking opportunity that isn't ridiculously easy and maintained pretty much all of the older circuit.


Sure it's not a Hockenheim level of a cut and shut, but I thought the track was long enough and I liked the change of direction through Bridge and Priory.
Just personal preference.


I'm pretty certain that I attended a British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch in 1982. 1984 and 1986 spring to mind also.

Prior to that, wasn't Stirling Moss the first British winner of the British GP... at Aintree?


In 2009 the smart money was on deflation as the real risk - inflation was never and should never have been a valid concern. So all this sounds like bull. I would expect to see the GP in a street venue around London - this sounds more like the real reason.


Government and London mayor have no appetite for that at present

Focussed on Brexit and other problems


Seems to me Sadiq got hungry - at least his comments made at the London street party, seemed to indicate that ...... as for May , she needs all the help she can get.

As for May,


Let's hope that sanity will prevail and we will see an F1 race in 2020. The F1 world needs Silverstone. Lots of contracts have Rise & Fall provisions which take inflation and CPI into account, it's not difficult, if both parties want a solution.


Here's hoping old mate!


I think Silverstone is playing a dangerous game here.

1st: They knew from 2009 what they would pay in fees every year, with a 5% increase each year it really isn't that hard to calculate. You have to match that with revenues, otherwise you will be at a loss....
2nd: if they renegotiate a sweeter deal with Liberty, then I'm assuming that other circuits with the same kind of option in their contract will try to renegotiate as well. If I was Liberty then I would make an example out of Silverstone.
3rd: there are plenty of alternative circuits inside and out of the UK.

On a personal note: I hope Silverstone stays on the calendar beyond 2019. I like the circuit (though I appreciate the old layout better).


If a privately run F1 race which is well organised, has heritage status, and massively attended event can't even break even then there is something very very very wrong with the F1 business model.

F1 is being propped up by governments around the world who have artificially inflated the cost of hosting an F1 GP. If there is ever an argument against state intervention in a market this is it. (I can't even imagine the opportunity cost for other industries too) F1 has stagnated massively over the last few decades as innovation has become less and less important. Why innovate when you are guaranteed an income from tax payers?

Like I say, if a well run and well attended race can't be possibly, then F1 isn't real. It's a bubble.


I would have thought the simple maths of how many people could fit in the venue,all the running costs ,and how much they could charge would instantly show them if it was possible to make money.This is before you got an accountant to have a look.
I guess they had other plans to develop the land within the venue that never worked out.
Interestingly the long suffering Bernie is a member of the BRDC. Maybe he gave them sound advice at last
rather than bamboozling them like all the years before.


350,000 people thru the gates last year, well theres 350,000 reasons, the race must go on, dont panalise the public for managment problems, get it togeather guys


OK, Silverstone isn't the only European GP with money problems. The only real way to get Liberty to take a serious look at race fees is if all the European promoters got together and all gave notice to quit at the end of their contracts because they're unsustainable (bear in mind that there aren't F1 grade circuits just lying around all over so just switching venues isn't necessarily and option and who'd take them up on it anyway based on the fact that existing circuits can't make it work). How would Liberty feel about having Monaco as it's only European venue (and no return for it!)? That'd take the value out of the F1 Group for a start. They'd end up with a 10 race calendar run in places where for a good part, nobody cares less about F1. The whole championship would lose value and fans would drift off to other series (Moto GP anyone?), leaving Liberty with an empty shell which they paid $8 billion for. It's proper hardball, but I'll bet it'd work.


The problem is the different tracks have very different ownership structures. Some are run by private for profit organizations, some are public spaces or parks managed by local governments, and some are managed by nonprofit organizations. Which means they all have different legal obligations to their respective communities. For example, if the Liberty Media guys now sign a deal with another UK location for 2020, what happens to all that land at Silverstone? It will became like Valencia - a graveyard to its glorious past, but the BRDC may still be liable for financial expenses like property maintenance, or local land taxes, etc. So they may not all have that avenue open to them.


Thats what I'm talking about!


It really pains me to say this BUT for once this is not Bernie's fault! The BRDC (NEGLIGENTLY) signed what is essentially a Sub-Prime agreement. That is an agreement where the front years are designed to benefit the BRDC and the back years benefit the commercial rights holder. Like all the other sub-primes instruments, you ONLY sign one if you are 100% confident you will secure a STEADY source of future income to cover the additional back year costs or you MUST REFINANCE. FYI, this is the type of contract that help blow up the US mortgage business in 2008. The sad reality is there is NO commercial or financial interest within the UK for a British Grand Prix. Even including the 5% rider, you are not talking about that much money for one of the giant financial or commercial businesses based in the UK, if they were confident there was a genuine commercial value in the grand prix. This is more important when you consider that sponsoring the grand prix would be a straight tax deduction for any company since it is a simple marketing and promotion expense on your profit and loss statement. The BRDC has failed to find a commercial partner for Silverstone and that should inform Liberty Media about the kind of deal they will expect to make to keep Silverstone alive. I suspect that is why some are calling for the race to be moved to London in the hope it attracts some of that city money.

As for renegotiating, I suspect Liberty do not want to touch that nut. Sorry to say this but with BREXIT looming, how would it look if Silverstone got a sweetheart deal while the European circuits have to meet their current contracts? In addition, Liberty is a publicly traded company, so it is accountable to its shareholders and would have to justify surrendering significant revenue in Europe to keep the UK happy. Liberty are walking a very sensitive financial and political path here and I am sure they are loath to open that can of worms right now.


May be a Palmer will be involved in F1 in the future at Donington? Or is that a long way off in facilities? Also how does Silverstone do with WEC and moto Gp? Surely liberty have to wake up.


Has anyone actually realised that we all being taken for mugs here? £180 and £90 for a child to attend a race day....and still Silverstone can't turn a profit....


There us a stubborn trait in the British 'character' and I admit that it is not one of our most endeering ,even though it helped create the British Empire (which now looks like a mistake!). I can afford to go to the GP but I choose not to effectively hand over money to US Hedge Funds. I could afford Sky TV but I choose not to pay money to Rupert Murdoch. I suspect there are a lot like me and the rest of Europe may have plenty who think the same way. F1 is too expensive to be sustainabe for much longer. The FIA sold it down the river as we say!


Make the tickets £35 adults and kids under 16 free...pack it out and build the fan base, keep the beer tents and food trucks busy and sell more merchandise and not have the rather sickening feeling that you have spent the GDP of a small country on a days motoracing event

Cedric Baumgartner

If Liberty media is really interested in keeping Gp's like Silverstone on the calendar why don't they make a deal similar to F1 teams (Ferrari) that honours their historical contribution in F1?


I find it hard to accept how the BRDC continues to make a loss on Britain's biggest sporting event of the year. Let's face it the GBP is expensive and without Lewis Hamilton's success they would be making an even bigger loss.

I've been to several BGP's, but personally I now prefer to spend a similar amount attending the Belgium GP @ Spa which is a much better spectator track.

Whilst the overall experience is good (the atmosphere and free concerts are usually excellent) for a racing fan, paying £300+ to sit in a grandstand and watch the race through binoculars because the cars are so far away isn't that appealing to me.

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