Silverstone considering terminating British GP contract
BRDC write to members warning of "potentially ruinous risk"; Track says races in 2017, 2018 and 2019 not under threat
By William Esler
Last Updated: 09/01/17 10:56am
Silverstone's owners, the British Racing Drivers Club, are considering axing the British Grand Prix because of the "potentially ruinous risk" posed by hosting fees.
ITV News reported on Thursday that the BRDC last month informed all members in a letter that it was giving serious thought to exercising a break clause.
"The board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 British GP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the contract at the end of 2019," wrote BRDC chairman John Grant.
"This is not a simple decision and we shall consider all the implications before coming to a conclusion by mid-year.
"We have to protect our club against the potentially ruinous risk of a couple of bad years," Grant added.
"Without some change in the economic equation, the risk and return are out of kilter."
Silverstone declined to comment on the letter but said the 2017, 2018 and 2019 races are not under threat.
The circuit has a contract until 2026 to host the race, but both Silverstone and F1's promoter have the right to exercise a break clause.
Despite attracting nearly 140,000 fans to this year's British GP, Grant revealed the event still "fell short of budget".
But if Silverstone does pull of out hosting the British GP, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says the race could still be staged at an alternative venue.
"If they want to activate a break clause, there is nothing we can do," Ecclestone told ITV News.
"Two other tracks have contacted us and we are keen to keep a British Grand Prix, there is no doubt about it, we want to have one.
"As far as Silverstone is concerned, it's not in our hands."
Donington Park could have been a potential alternative venue, but the circuit say they are not interested in bidding to host the race.
"Since the very successful restart of Donington Park six years ago, the board at the circuit has consistently made it clear that we have no intention of bidding for the British Grand Prix," a spokesperson told Sky Sports F1.