Damon Hill appealed to the British government to help Silverstone circuit financially. Otherwise the venue might lose one of UK’s biggest sports events – the Formula 1 British Grand prix.
John Grant warned earlier that the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) might break its FOM contract. The reason is the ever pressing and increasing financial burden, the BRDC chairman pointed out. That means the British Grand prix’s future now appears to be in doubt.
Hill, who is a former BRDC chairman, was part of the negotiations for the current Silverstone deal with Bernie Ecclestone. The contract is for 17 years (the deal is from 2009).
“This is a much-loved national event but, for whatever reason, it has always been very difficult to get additional funding from government”, the 1996 F1 world champion told Press Association Sport.
According to Hill “maybe now is the time to look at the British Grand Prix in the context of what is happening elsewhere and realise that it is an extremely good shop window for waving our banner and pointing to our brilliance in this field.”
He also pointed out that it would be sensible to think about post-Brexit Britain. “You must wonder if this is exactly the type of thing we need to invest in to show off what we can do.”
BRDC is Silverstone’s owner and is thinking of activating a break-out clause in ithe FOM contract
It allows the venue to end its deal at the end of 2019. Ecclestone must be informed ahead of the 2017 race. John Grant sent a letter to BRDC members before Christmas (leaked to ITV). In it he said that the board would like to keep the British Grand prix, “but only if it makes sense to do so.”
“Without some change in the economic equation, the risk and return are out of kilter. And so we are exploring various ways in which this might be altered.”
“Among other alternatives, the Board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 BGP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the BGP contract at the end of 2019. This is not a simple decision, and we will consider fully all the implications before coming to a conclusion by mid-year.”