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Formula One: British Grand Prix at risk as Silverstone owners play tough

[LONDON] Silverstone will not host the British Grand Prix after 2019 unless the circuit's owners gets a better financial deal from Formula One owners, they announced on Tuesday just days ahead of this year's renewal.

The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) - who own Silverstone - announced they were triggering a break clause in its 17-year contract and the Grand Prix would not be raced on their prized possession post-2019 unless a revised agreement can be reached with Liberty Media, who were not the owners of Formula One when the original deal began in 2010.

"This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our current contract," BRDC chairman John Grant said.

"We sustained losses of £2.8 million (S$4.994 million) in 2015 and £4.8 million in 2016, and we expect to lose a similar amount this year.

"We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads.

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"It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us.

"However, I want to be clear that although we have now activated the break clause, we are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience.

"Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached, so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come," added Mr Grant whose body has been in talks with Liberty over the issue.

Nearly 140,000 spectators watched Britain's triple world champion Lewis Hamilton claim his third consecutive win at Silverstone last year.

A near sell-out crowd is expected again this weekend as Hamilton bids to reduce rival Sebastian Vettel's 20-point lead in the title race.

The circuit, unlike many other tracks on the F1 calendar, receives no government backing.

However, the BRDC have been hit financially by the hosting fee which goes up by five percent every year - from £12 million in 2010, the year in which the new long-term deal started, to £17 million this season and £26 million in 2026.


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