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Thursday, 14 November 2019

Formula One: Silverstone calls news conference, new F1 deal expected

Reuters , Wednesday 10 Jul 2019
Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 30, 2019. ( AFP)
Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 30, 2019. ( AFP)
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Formula One and Silverstone management called a news conference at the circuit on Wednesday with a new British Grand Prix contract widely expected to be announced.

The race's future has been in doubt since Silverstone invoked a break clause in 2017 that meant this weekend's grand prix would have been the last unless a new contract was agreed with commercial rights holders Liberty Media.

Formula One Chairman Chase Carey will attend the 1300 GMT conference, along with Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle and British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) Chairman John Grant.

No further details were given.

Silverstone hosted the first world championship grand prix in 1950 and Britain and Italy are the two countries that have always featured on the calendar since then.

A new contract would be a big boost to British motor racing, with seven of the 10 F1 teams based in the country and the motorsport industry providing tens of thousands of jobs.

Last year's race at the former World War Two airfield, a home round for Mercedes's five times world champion Lewis Hamilton, was the best attended of any grand prix with 140,500 on race day.

"To lose the British Grand Prix, and particularly to lose it from Silverstone, would be disastrous," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told reporters earlier in the week.

"Silverstone is the home of grand prix racing."

Silverstone is owned by the BRDC, whose original deal was agreed with former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, ousted in 2017 by new U.S.-based Liberty.

The promoter's fee for hosting the race increased by five percent annually, which meant it grew from 11.5 million pounds ($15.31 million) in 2010 to 16.2 million pounds in 2017.

By 2026, it would have risen to 25 million pounds had the break clause not been invoked, with Grant saying in 2017 that it was "not financially viable".

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