The British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), owner of Silverstone racing circuit, has formally triggered the break clause in its contract with Formula 1 and its owners Liberty Media.
Unless a new contractual arrangement can be reached with Liberty, 2019 will be the last year that the British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone - the only viable venue for a British GP.
The move comes after the BRDC announced they made a net loss of £7.6 million over the last two years hosting the British Grand Prix.
John Grant, chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, said: “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."
Mr Grant made it clear that despite the activation of the break clause, the BRDC are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience.
He said he hoped that an agreement can still be reached to ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
The BRDC’s current contract to host the British Grand Prix – agreed in 2009 with the previous owners of Formula 1 – requires the organisation to pay a promoter’s fee to Liberty Media in order to host the British Grand Prix, which increases by 5 per cent every year.
This means over the first eight years of the contract, the fee has increased from £11.5 million in 2010 to £16.2 million in 2017.
By contrast, had this fee escalated in line with UK inflation (CPI), it would have increased to only £13.6 million - some £2.8m less.
By 2026, the last year of the contract, the fee will have risen to £25m.
Despite being the most popular weekend sporting event in the UK, attracting 350,000 fans, the net revenue from ticket sales and hospitality at the British Grand Prix is not enough to cover the Grand Prix’s share of Silverstone’s overhead costs.
As a result, the BRDC has taken the decision to trigger the break clause in its contract.