British Grand Prix to stay in Northamptonshire until at least 2024 as Silverstone agrees deal with F1
The bosses at Silverstone Circuit have agreed a five-year deal with Formula One to continue hosting the British Grand Prix until at least 2024.
F1 chairman Chase Carey, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle, and British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) chairman John Grant announced the new deal at a press conference at the Northamptonshire track today (Wednesday, July 10).
Mr Carey said: "Clearly we're thrilled to have this in place, Silverstone is one of the signature races on our calendar and truly a special event."
This weekend's race was potentially the last one at Silverstone after the BRDC, which owns the track, activated the break clause in its contract two years ago, saying the cost of hosting the Grand Prix had become too much.
But the three parties have now agreed a deal which Mr Grant described as one they are 'comfortable with'.
"We look forward to five years of stability with our relationship with F1, which is long enough to continue to invest in the development of F1 at Silverstone," he said.
When asked by the Chronicle & Echo on Silverstone and the British GP's importance in supporting the county's economy, Mr Grant said the circuit is the epicentre of the motorsport valley.
But the BRDC chairman called on the Government to invest more in Silverstone to reflect its local and national economic importance - adding the lack of funds has been a source of tension.
"We're a little unusual in that we don't think it's right for the British Government to use taxpayer's money to directly subsidise Formula One," he said.
"But clearly in view of the huge economic impact this has on the economy here, we think there are ways for us to work with local and national governments, and our new contract gives us more flexibility to do that, in ways that actually bring more value, not just to us ourselves, but also more value to the local and national economy.
"So we're keen, quite a lot of dialogue goes on at Government as you'd expect, but we hope to continue that to give good results for everybody."
A recent sticking point has been the idea of having a race in London, which was described as a direct competitor of the event at Silverstone by the BRDC.
Mr Casey would not be drawn any further on the discussions on bringing F1 to the city, but said it is an 'interesting opportunity'.
Mr Grant said they do have concerns about having another race 'on their doorstep' but added that 'open and frank' discussions had taken place and were certain that anything that brings more fans to F1 is good for them.
A record crowd is expected at Silverstone this weekend, mostly drawn by the success of five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton according to Mr Pringle, who said any decrease in gate numbers would be managed.
The first F1 world championship race was held in 1950 at Silverstone, and it has been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987.