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FOM expecting Silverstone to trigger break clause

NEWS STORY
06/07/2017

While British F1 fans are already preparing for this year's annual pilgrimage to Silverstone, doubts over the long term future of the event are sure to cast a shadow over next weekend's big race.

Reuters reveals that FOM is now "expecting" Silverstone to trigger the clause which means that the 2019 event is the last, nullifying the original deal which would have seen F1 continue at the iconic track until 2026.

Intriguingly, Reuters claims that FOM "had offered to take over the race for five years, absorbing annual losses of between 2m and 3m", as well as offering to delay the deadline by a few week, but both offers were rejected.

That said, if the BRDC does see continuing with the deal as a "potentially ruinous risk" delaying the deadline by a week or two won't make a scrap of difference.

With an eye on how important the event is, the BRDC is hoping that by triggering the break clause, it will allow it and FOM to come up with a more agreeable and manageable deal. At the same time, Silverstone's owners have been at pains not to point the finger of blame at the sport's new owners, insisting Liberty Media inherited the deal.

However, almost from day one, Chase Carey insisted that there was no room for negotiation. Whether it inherited the deal or not, Liberty Media wants those hosting fees as agreed and has no intention of offering a 'nice price', for such a move would lead to other race organisers attempting similar moves.

As has become the norm with FOM, the powers that be are taking a political approach in that a question is never answered with a simple 'yes' or 'no', rather, when asked by Reuters about the situation, Sean Bratches launched into the usual marketing and PR-speak that actually told us nothing of worth.

"We have great ambition for the sport, and are determined to raise the bar as fans expect more from their race weekend," he said. "We need promoters who share that vision. We have three years to achieve that objective and are optimistic that a new fan-centric solution can be found."

The comment comes at a time FOM has agreed a new deal which it is hoped will lead to a second race in China, while the sport's new owners have made no secret of their desire to expand further into the region.

This is business, and it will take more than Lewis Hamilton walking on a sea of upturned fans hands around the entire length of the track having won next weeks' race and extended his championship lead to make Liberty see things any different.

Check out our Thursday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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