Silverstone to be saved with F1 chiefs and circuit owners set to sign new deal before British Grand Prix
- Silverstone and Liberty Media close to new multi-year contract to save venue
- The saga over the future of the British grand prix has been long-running
- This is likely to significantly reduce hopes of a Formula One race in London
The British Grand Prix looks almost certain to be saved this week as both sides in the long-running saga work frantically towards securing its survival.
An announcement is expected ahead of Sunday’s race that a new multi-year contract has been struck between Silverstone and Liberty Media, the owners of Formula One, saving the world championship’s oldest and best-attended venue.
David Richards, chairman of the British governing body, the Motor Sports Association, told Sportsmail on Sunday: ‘I’m very positive there will be a successful conclusion before the grand prix.
Lewis Hamilton has previously backed SIlverstone for the British Grand Prix and a deal is close
‘The fundamentals, the financial side, have been agreed. It is just the final details that need to be signed off, and I am confident they will be.’
Negotiations hurried up after this newspaper reported last month that the race was in jeopardy, over the spectre of a rival grand prix in London, on the basis, supposedly, that this new event would hit Silverstone’s pockets by taking away fans.
But the chances of a London race appear to be slight. Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone tried for years to put on a race in the capital without success, and that was before the environmental lobby grew so strong.
Silverstone, pictured in 2004, is set to remain on the Formula One calendar after talks
Impetus to strike a deal with Silverstone was provided by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Formula One — which includes DUP chief whip Jeffrey Donaldson and former cabinet minister Lord (Peter) Hain — who met F1 chief executive Chase Carey and Richards last week.
The Mail on Sunday reported that the MPs wanted to ‘ensure the British Grand Prix is a success’. Silverstone pay £17million to host the race, a figure that the Northamptonshire circuit’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, a body of 800 motor-racing grandees including Sir Stirling Moss and Lewis Hamilton, struggled to make work.
They only broke even last year despite a record race-day crowd of 140,500 attending the revamped World War Two airfield.
The circuit is revered by drivers and fans, and sits in the heart of the motor sports world. Seven of the 10 teams are based in Britain and the industry creates £2billion of business and 40,000 jobs.
‘I couldn’t support a race in London or the suburbs over Silverstone, when it is one of the greatest race tracks in the world,’ added Richards.
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