Formula 1’s Chief Commercial Officer Sean Bratches has issued a warning to the future of Silverstone over hosting the British Grand Prix.
Silverstone last year triggered a contract clause that will see their deal end early, which will expire in 2019. The circuit activated its clause due to the increase cost of hosting the race, casting a doubt over the Grand Prix’s future which has been on the F1 calendar every year.
Silverstone are keen on hosting an F1 race in the future, but it would mean having to reach a revised deal from Liberty Media in order to host any future races.
Bratches’ comments came out hours after F1 announced that a race in Hanoi, Vietnam will take place in 2020, with Liberty Media agreeing a deal to host a race within the South East Asian country in April 2020.
In an interview, Bratches was asked about the future of Silverstone relating to F1’s decision into introducing new races instead of preserving heritages races after the announcement received mixed reactions.
Bratches reminded fans that the British Grand Prix hasn’t always been held at Silverstone, having previously being held at different venues in the past and states the importance of business interests.
“We’re a 68-year-old entity and the nature of grand prix racing is that it is dynamic,” said Bratches.
“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.”
2020 could see two new venues enter the calendar in F1, with Vietnam already confirmed for an April slot. Miami was aiming for a 2019 spot, but a delay in signing the contract to host a race meant the race has pushed back with an aim for a 2020 debut.
Bratches explains that Liberty’s vision for races are down to three separate categories, and that Vietnam would not impact the toes of heritage races such as Silverstone.
“We look at it in three ways. Firstly, we want to preserve the heritage races, they are very important to Formula 1 and they are very important to fans. I’m talking about the Silverstones, the Spas, the Monzas of this world,” Bratches commented.
“Then we have a set of street races and hybrid street races, where we race in parks and on city streets, such as Melbourne, Montreal and Mexico City.
“The third segment features purpose-built facilities such as Shanghai, Austin, Texas and Bahrain.
“Beyond that we are looking to identify further street races, so this race is a further step in terms of our vision.”