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Failure to agree Silverstone deal frustrating, admits Brawn

NEWS STORY
08/03/2019

The clock is ticking, and unless a deal can be agreed in the coming months, a deal which hasn't been agreed since July 2017 when the owners of Silverstone, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), activated a clause in their contract which ended their existing deal early, this July's race will be the last.

Fact is, the BRDC finally woke up to the nightmare deal they had signed with the sport's previous owners, a deal which, due to the annual increment to the hosting fee, meant hosting the Grand Prix was unsustainable.

From the outset, Chase Carey insisted that keeping Silverstone and the British Grand Prix was important to the sport, but now, with just four months to what could be the last British Grand Prix at the iconic Northamptonshire track, we appear to be no closer to reaching a deal.

Indeed, with F1 continuing to eye what it calls "destination cities", in this case a race on the streets of London, and Silverstone boss, Stuart Pringle believed to be one of the driving forces behind the Formula One Promoters Association statement which criticised a number of moves the sport has taken under its new owners, it appears the two sides are actually drifting apart.

"We want to find a solution with Silverstone," said F1's technical boss, Ross Brawn, following the screening of the first two parts of the new Netflix series documentary on the 2018 F1 season. "But we are differing in our views of what's reasonable.

"We're not far apart," he insisted. "It's frustrating that we can't find a solution."

While, confident that July's will not be the last British Grand Prix - the first ever round of the Formula One World Championship having been held at Silverstone in 1950 - he suggests alternatives are being considered.

"I don't think it will be the final British Grand Prix, but whether that's at Silverstone or not is another matter," said Brawn, the warning to the BRDC obvious.

"Racing in the UK is important to us," he continued, "and obviously Silverstone has been the home of the British Grand Prix for the last few years, but most of us here can remember it being held at Brands Hatch and it didn't seem that strange that we had a race at Brands Hatch one year and Silverstone the next. We are determined to make sure we keep a British Grand Prix, and hopefully at Silverstone, but there's no certainty."

Fact is, there are no real alternatives to Silverstone, as Bernie Ecclestone discovered, and those that might be suitable are not available because the owners are all too aware that hoisting a Grand Prix, as Silverstone discovered, is unsustainable."

Asked about a race in London, with Stratford, scene of the London Olympics in 2012, said to be the most likely venue, he said: "London would be a different race than the British GP. It is a city race. There is a place for both.

"I don't think it's feasible to have a London race in the middle of London, unfortunately," he admitted. "The chaos and impact it would have would be too severe. But on the periphery of London there are a number of areas that could work. I don't see it as it would necessarily replace the British GP - it would be the London GP."

The British Grand Prix is one of five events on this year's 21-race calendar that are in the final year of their contract. Losing all five would cost the sport £100m, which, though not impacting the sport on the balance sheets until 2021 would still come off the back of two (three?) years when F1 has posted significant losses.

In their January statement the sixteen 'rebel' promoters made note of a number of issues on which they were unhappy, and one that clearly riled them was the move, by the sport's new owners, to propose a deal for an event in Miami that would not incur (ever increasing) hosting fees but would instead be promoted on a revenue sharing basis.

By all accounts, F1 powers that be have been resolute in the discussions up to now, aware not only that a reduction to the hosting fees would hit them on the balance sheet but that other promoters would seek similar deals.

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1. Posted by doppelganger, 12/03/2019 8:38

"Silverstone's offer of Liberty taking the ticket money and covering Silverstone's running costs was the most sensible idea. It would only work at a well attended race like Silverstone though, which is why Liberty rejected it. as they don't want to set a precedent.They want their money irrespective of attendance. Low attendance is the issue that needs fixing. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Editor, 11/03/2019 7:48

"@ GarH

I think you've hit the nail firmly on the head... fact is, Ross is the only senior boss there (Liberty) who knows anything about F1 and the way it works... and doesn't he know it.

I believe Chase and Sean are on borrowed time... at which point Ross will gladly step up to the plate."

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3. Posted by GarH, 10/03/2019 22:11

"Originally Brawn claimed to have been helping LM to produce rules to equalise the cars and make it easier to overtake. Since that time he's built an empire, with a team working on car rules and is getting involved in the money side of F1. Have we got an embryo Bernie?
"

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4. Posted by Editor, 10/03/2019 15:57

"@ johnfaganwilliams

Couldn't agree more... Ross has certainly taken the Liberty shilling.

Indeed, much like much of the media he's very busy doing PR for Chase ad the gang.

And should he ever get his hands on the top job - and he's eyeing it - god help F1."

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5. Posted by johnfaganwilliams, 10/03/2019 15:28

"Think my former hero Ross is turning out to be a bit of a shit. As an associate member of the BRDC he knows exactly what the issues are: we (I'm a BRDC member) can't afford to run the BGP. Simple as that. So no amount of waffle and "negotiating" will work. We've been through the heart searching. They have to move significantly to allow us to break even. Piss or get off the pot and admit that all the stuff about believing in the integrity of the historical venues and all that romantic stuff was just bollox. They are in business to make money - and that's fine. But spare us the emotional blackmail and self-justification Ross. You've sold out mate."

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6. Posted by doppelganger, 08/03/2019 20:15

"F1 is sinking fast anyway. Points for pole and fastest lap. Poor TV coverage (Skys dismal team) that we are now expected to pay for. Too many races. I hate to say bye bye to F1, but here it is... Bye Bye F1."

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7. Posted by GarH, 08/03/2019 15:20

"When LM offered to put a race on in Miami for nothing, they shot themselves in the foot.

There are no alternatives to Silverstone. Palmer won't touch F1 with a bargepole, he'd lose less money keeping a circuit closed for a week than running a GP. No city in the UK will want to pay £millions when they can't keep our schools open, it would be political suicide.

Perhaps Sky can sponsor Silverstone, they've got money to throw away..."

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8. Posted by mickl, 08/03/2019 12:57

"I'm just waiting for Bernie to come out with a statement saying hosting fees are too high and they should be reduced........."

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