Friday, 12 january 2018, 09:37
The chairman of Britain’s Motor Sport Association David Richards has warned that the loss of the British Grand Prix would pose a 'significant threat' to British motorsport following the news this week that Silverstone's organisers have activated a break clause in their contract with F1.
The British Racing Drivers Club are the organisers of the British Grand Prix but have exercised the break clause in their contract, citing the expense of putting the race on as the reason.
Richards confirmed that money is being lost year after year due to the costs, and thinks racing in Britain would be negatively affected if it lost the GP.
“The rationale behind this decision was very clear for the BRDC, who’ve been losing money running the grand prix for many years and faced a steep annual rise in fees to host the race,” said Richards.
“Notwithstanding that, the British Grand Prix has been on the Formula One calendar since the championship first began back in 1950. In a recent fan survey the British event was in the top four iconic Formula One races that fans globally wanted to watch.
“It contributed well over £50 million to the UK economy each year through employment and wider economic impact of more than 300,000 visitors to Silverstone over the race weekend. Nearly 4.5 million UK TV viewers tuned in to watch the British Grand Prix last year, so it’s also important to the armchair enthusiast."
Talks are ongoing between race organisers and F1, and Richards has assured that the Motor Sport Association will do all they can to ensure the British Grand Prix remains part of the race calendar.
“It’s clear that it would be a significant threat to the position of British motorsport not to have a round of the Formula One world championship in this country. With this in mind the MSA will actively and energetically support discussions to ensure the ongoing inclusion of the British Grand Prix in the Formula One calendar beyond 2019," he continued.
“At this juncture it’s difficult to say how this support may manifest itself, whether it’s lobbying, seeking government intervention or otherwise. However I fully support the importance of this event for UK motorsport and the MSA will do what it can to ensure the grand prix’s long-term future in this country.”