Liberty warns Silverstone over F1 future

Thursday, 08 november 2018, 05:31 , by Matthew Scott

Silverstone has been warned that it may not be guaranteed a future on the Formula 1 circuit, after a new race in Vietnam was finally confirmed by Liberty Media. F1 commercial chief Sean Bratches described the Hanoi city circuit as matching Liberty's plan for the sport.

Only Monza and Monte Carlo have hosted more grands prix than Silverstone, where the very first World Championship race was held in 1950.

Silverstone's owners – the British Racing Drivers' Club – triggered a break clause in the circuit's F1 deal last year, citing the growing hosting fees.

Similar financial struggles have also threatened Monza, Germany's Hockenheimring and Nurburgring circuits as well as Malaysia, who dropped F1 for 2018 over the costs involved.

Silverstone will drop off the calendar after last year if a deal is not reached and Bratches has made no gurantees.

"We're a 68-year-old entity, and the nature of grand prix racing is that it is dynamic," he said in an F1 release.

"Silverstone was the first grand prix, but we haven't raced at Silverstone all those 68 years. The race has been held at Brands Hatch and other venues. Nothing is immutable in this sport in terms of where we race.

"We do value certain races highly, and we do what we can to preserve racing there, but we are a business. We are a public company, and we have a lot of stakeholders and shareholders, and we're trying to marry what's best for fans with running a successful business."

Fan reaction to the Vietnam race was mixed, but Bratches says F1 fans can expect more of the same as Liberty looks to overhaul F1.

"One of the things we have been intensely focused on is extending grand prix racing to iconic cities, in downtown areas, where we can best engage fans," he said.

"Most of our grands prix are currently half an hour to an hour outside cities, so the race in Hanoi fulfils of one of our preliminary goals -- an iconic city hosting racing on a potentially thrilling street circuit. Vietnam's concept of what grand prix racing should be about matches our vision for the sport."

MORE: Vietnam GP confirmed for F1 in 2020
MORE: Fan backlash to Vietnam GP announcement

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Comments (27)

  • Si Leathley
    With C4 in the UK only having 'highlights' shows from next season (I'm not giving Murdoch any more pennies) it's getting close to "Thanks for the memories" time regarding F1 I'm afraid. The possible loss of a British GP would be another nail in the coffin by the marketing company who now runs the show. Sad but nothing is forever.
  • Eduardo Villa
    "...in downtown areas, where we can best engage fans," You know where you can engage fans? at exciting circuits no matter if they are an hour away from the city, fans will go if racing is good, Singapore and Monaco could be in the center of the universe but they're boring as hell as a race, you don't want more of that
  • Dennis Iyo
    Earlier this year when I posted that Liberty Media is ruining F1 everyone disagreed with me. Liberty will change the culture of F1 for their cause for money. To them it's not about the sport of F1 racing, F1 is just an investment to them to make money, that's the American way and culture.
  • Gary Miller
    Time for the British teams to break ranks and form a new European Grand Prix championship focused on the European classic tracks with a couple of fly away races in US and Japan. Liberty would be left with a shell series featuring Ferrari and maybe Renault mostly based in Asia.
  • James Walsh
    Sod them. Liberty are going to milk the sport even dryer with more vanity races and less traditional racetracks - unfortunately F1 as the purest racing series will be dead soon. They really need to drop hosting fees down for tracks to manageable levels.
  • Jason Burkinshaw
    I can’t see silverstone being dropped. Let’s face it, how many of these new circuits of the past decade or 2 have actually lasted? India? Turkey? Malaysia? Indy? It’s a fans favourite and a sell out crowd. Be foolish to let it go
  • Chris Matthews
    Sounds like they're taking lessons from Bernie. They are chasing money and that's one of the things that's ruined racing, getting rid of the older circuits for those designed purely for TV
  • Jonathon Bellamy
    They scrap Silverstone it is a disgrace! Great track, and one of the best on the calendar. Silverstone, Monza, Interlagos, Spa and Suzuka are brilliant tracks and must be on calendar..
  • Xavi López Lada
    Take out the fucking Sochi circuit or the parking lot of Paul Ricard. Leave the few classic circuits alone and bring back others like Imola, Magny Cours or Nürburgring
  • Gerco Busink
    Why are they not letting different race classes race on new circuits for a few years to see what type of racing they get ?
  • Robert Jinx Joiner
    If a British grand prix goes then that's the nail in the lid for f1 and it will go the same way grid girls went
  • Ashley Hayward
    An F1 calendar without a British GP? Why don't we just scrap drivers too. What a load of toss.
  • George Brammah
    Rachael Brammah Elizabeth Mcelligott Brian Butt might have to move camp to another circuit
  • James Wolford
    I wouldn’t be sad, but that should not be allowed on principle. All but what 2 teams are based there?
  • ????? ??????
    Well, Liberty should take notice that fans don't like their approach to the future...
  • Matthew Benbow
    No. Only Brands Hatch can replace Silverstone. Hanoi can replace Singapore or Shanghai.
  • Hank Siarczynski
    Liberty kind of makes you yearn for the days when Bernie in Charge.
  • Dan Te?cul?
    Scrap Siverstone??? WTF??? Is Bernie on crack???
  • Les Speed
    tell you I wouldn't be sad sad to see Sean branches go
  • Daniel Cheong
    Better to drop Singapore instead

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