British GP 'not at any price' - Silverstone Director, Stuart Pringle
The British Grand Prix remains one of the most historic races on the Formula One calendar. Since 1987, this race has regularly been held at the Silverstone circuit, which is one of the most iconic tracks around the world.
However, currently, 2019 remains the last year when we would get to witness an F1 race being held at Silverstone. That is because British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), who own and operate the circuit, initiated a break clause in the contract due to monetary reasons.
A new contract is yet to be signed and so, the future of the track remains uncertain. While the F1 directors are hopeful to keep a British GP on the calendar, it might just not be at the circuit which hosted the first ever Formula One race.
Stuart Pringle, the Silverstone managing director, explained during the BRDC awards that they are looking at other revenue generating opportunities outside of the race itself.
“We got ourselves into a pickle because we had a business that was solely financed by the grand prix. So we had to diversify, and we’re doing that. We’re going to build a hotel, we’ve got Silverstone Experience opening, and we have some additional short-stay luxury accommodation. Aston Martin are now tenants on-site,” said Stuart.
He went on to say that while they would wish for a grand prix on the track, they would not be willing to pay any price for it.
“Things are very much heading in the right direction, and it gives us the confidence to say Lord knows we want to keep the grand prix, but not at any price. We’re going to have a broader, more diverse business that can survive without it. But we’d much rather have one with it.”
Ever since Formula One switched hands to Liberty Media, there has been a steady influx of new ideas and changes being made. They have been looking to diversify and expand the sports into different countries and increase fan following. However, Formula One CEO, Chase Carey, emphasized on keeping the roots of the sport intact, and that included retaining races at historical countries.
“We’ve been very clear: you always build a sport on its foundation, and the foundation of this sport is here in Europe. The fans that have been followers for the longest period of time are here in Europe, and you have to build a sport on top of its foundations,” Carey said.
“We are committed to making sure the sport is strong here. We think we can engage fans, new fans around the world. The reality is most of our events are reasonably long-term, so there is a lot of stability to what we do,” he added.
Chase stayed away from elaborating on the details of the deal being talked about behind closed doors. He kept some room for both options regarding the fate of the British Grand Prix and whether or not it would be held at the Silverstone circuit from 2020 onwards.
“But we do think you want to bring some freshness to it. We think it’s important to go to some places that can capture people’s imagination that is new. That being said, we want to be sure we continue to cherish what has made this sport so precious for so long,” explained Chase.