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BRDC denies that British GP will be dropped

NEWS STORY
20/01/2017

The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has issued a statement denying that the British Grand Prix is to be dropped after 2019.

In a letter sent to BRDC members before Christmas chairman John Grant warned that the option to exercise a break clause in its contract to host the race might have to be exercised due to the cost of the event.

On Wednesday, writing in The Sun, Christian Sylt quoted a senior source close to the track as saying that because the event is "unaffordable" it "will definitely" be dropped.

However, in a statement issued today, Grant, who had previously warned of the "potentially ruinous risk" of the loss-making event and admitted that "among other alternatives, the Board is considering whether we should give notice before the 2017 BGP (as required) of our intention to exercise the break clause in the BGP contract at the end of 2019", said that no decision would be taken before July.

"Our objective is to preserve the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come," he wrote, "but, of course, we can only do this if it makes economic sense.

"We will be considering over the next six months if we should give notice of our intention to exercise the break clause in our Grand Prix contract at the end of 2019. No decision has been made, or will be made, until mid-July.

"In the meantime, we will be using this period to explore with all interested parties, hopefully in private, various ways in which we might work out a more sustainable proposition."

Last week, BRDC president Derek Warwick, who also said it is the circuit's intention to keep the race, insisted that he remained positive, revealing that talks have been held with Bernie Ecclestone and Liberty Media and that the government might also be asked to help.

Fact is, the government will not step in and should Liberty, assuming it completes the purchase of F1, reduce the hosting fees for the Silverstone event it would have to do it for others.

Consequently, the BRDC has six months in which to find a means of eliminating "the elephant in the room" or take the step first suggested by Mr Grant in December.

Indeed, if Mr Grant is so adamant that Silverstone will not lose the event, that the break clause will not be exercised, one wonders why the suggestion was first made in the first place, just a couple of weeks ago.

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