Silverstone in talks with F1 owner to save the British Grand Prix
Silverstone's property advisor has pledged the circuit will do "everything in its power" to retain Formula One racing despite the announcement in 2017Â to give up the British Grand Prix.
Lord Garvagh was speaking at a Built Environment Networking conference, where he also told delegates that "the fee was too high and the economic model is broken" which led them to serving notice to break its contract to host the race.
However, Lord Garvagh said Silverstone “really” wanted to retain the event – which has hosted the bulk of UK Grand Prix races since World War Two.
He said: “We love the Grand Prix and think it’s terribly important.
“We will do everything in our power to retain it,’’ adding that Silverstone was carrying on discussions with F1’s owners Liberty, which he predicted will “probably go down the wire” in November.
However, he said Silverstone had to diversify its income streams away from reliance on F1.
“The model is bust because we are too reliant on motorsports so we are taking steps to broaden our income stream so it’s not just old blokes but families and younger people," said Lord Garvagh.
According to the peer, the masterplan for the race circuit’s redevelopment, which provides for 1.5m sq ft of floorspace, is close to being ratified once section 106 agreement negotiations are concluded.
The masterplan is aimed at doubling the number of visitors to the race course within the next six years from its current level of 1 million per annum.
The property advisor said that the Silverstone Experience, a 60,000 sq ft exhibition that aims to attract 450,000 visitors a year, will be complete by September and is due to open in 2019.
In addition, Lord Garvagh said that terms have been agreed for a 200-bed hotel, which is designed to boost Silverstone’s conference and exhibition centre, The Wing, which he said was "trading poorly" due to the lack of accommodation on site.
The hotel will be connected via a footbridge to the circuit’s starting line.
He said the masterplan also included the construction of 60 Philippe Stark-designed rented lodges, which will incorporate glass garages with uplighters so that tenants can show off their vehicles.