British Racing Drviers’ Club (BRDC), the owner of Silverstone, has triggered a break clause in the British Grand Prix contract, giving notice to leave its current deal in the next two years and leaving the future of the British Grand Prix uncertain.
Silverstone signed a 17-year contract with former Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2009, paying £12m for the race in 2010 with a 5% annual escalator, and a break clause after 2019.
BRDC has now said that unless a new deal is reached, it cannot afford to continue hosting the race, which has run at Silverstone race circuit since 1987.
John Grant, chairman BRDC, commented: “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. 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.
“However, I want to be clear that although we have now activated the break clause, we are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the Formula 1 experience. Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached, so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come.”
Unlike many other tracks on the F1 calendar, Silverstone receives no government backing.
A spokesman for Formula One, owned by U.S.-based Liberty Media, said: "The week leading up to the British Grand Prix, should be a week of great celebration for Formula 1 and Silverstone.
"We deeply regret that Silverstone has chosen instead to use this week to posture and position themselves and invoke a break clause that will take effect in three years’ time.
"Our focus is still to preserve the British Grand Prix. We will carry on negotiating with the promoter in good faith and in private to reach a fair and equitable solution."