1,000th GP: F1 bosses considered moving Silverstone on calendar


F1's commercial boss Sean Bratches has revealed that it had been proposed to move Silverstone's slot on the 2019 calendar in order to celebrate the 1,000th Grand Prix.

However, the move would have meant hosting the event in April, which for those who attended in 2000, when the Grand Prix was moved to an earlier slot, will bring back bad memories. Such were the conditions, following days of heavy rain that resulted in the car parks being closed when the fields turned to mud and spectators being turned away at the gate, many will shudder at the thought.

Instead, the 1,000th Grand Prix - which includes the 11 runnings of the Indianapolis 500 when it formed part of the Formula One World Championship - will take place in China.

"Silverstone was the first Grand Prix and we would have liked to see the 1,000th go back to the first," Bratches told Reuters in Barcelona yesterday "I think there's a nice story and a nice harmony there.

"But when I was told, being a relatively new Brit, that the weather is sub-optimal in April, they warded me off that quickly.

"We've spent a lot of time on this topic," he continued, "and looking at different circumstances, weather patterns. China is a great place to race. It's part of our future and we're excited about going there for that particular race.

"They're embracing it and we're starting to have discussions in terms of how we can amplify it and make sure that it's celebrated in an appropriate way.

"That said... next year we're going to celebrate it as the year of the 1,000th grand prix," he revealed, "so you're going to see integrations across the year celebrating this incredible milestone."

While Bratches admits that returning to Silverstone for the 1,000th Grand Prix, 70 years after the circuit hosted the first ever round of the Formula One World Championship, has a nice harmony, he was unable to shed any light on whether the sport will continue there in 2020 after its owners, the BRDC, opted to end their contract.

While representatives of the circuit were present in Barcelona, he admitted he had not met up with them.

"We didn't have conversations with them this particular weekend," he said. "Most of the discussions we've been having have been taking place in London and that's not to insinuate that anything is wrong.

"There's a lot of promoters here from Singapore, Silverstone and around Europe and the globe," he revealed. "Hockenheim is here."

Bosses at the German track are keen to host the event on an annual basis but are seeking a 'risk free' deal that is cutting little ice with F1's new owners.

"A lot of people might want a risk-free contract but that's not our business model," said Bratches. "We're looking forward to the grand prix there this year."

On the other hand, Miami, which with its "celebrity, fashion and glamour" make it "the perfect fit for F1", according to Bratches, is unlikely to need to find any sort of fee, the sport's owners happy to accept it as a 'loss leader; in their eagerness to get another American race on the calendar.

Article from Pitpass (http://www.pitpass.com):

Published: 14/05/2018
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