Managing director of Silverstone Circuit Stuart Pringle has said that the venue will not pay “any price” to keep the British Grand Prix as negotiations over its future in Formula 1 continue.
Silverstone triggered a break clause in their contract with the sport in 2017, meaning that the confirmed ’19 edition could potentially be Formula 1’s last visit to the historic track for the foreseeable future. The decision came after it was revealed that Silverstone were losing money on the Grand Prix each year.
Pringle is eager to ensure the safety of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone if a more sustainable deal can be achieved, but believes that they are now in a strong negotiating position following plans to bolster their income streams.
“We got ourselves into a pickle because we had a business that was solely financed by the Grand Prix,” Pringle said, speaking at the BRDC Awards – with Liberty Media CEO Chase Carey in attendance.
“We had to diversify, and we’re doing that. We’re going to build a hotel, we’ve got Silverstone Experience opening, and we have some additional short-stay luxury accommodation. Aston Martin are now tenants on-site.
“Things are very much heading in the right direction, and it gives us the confidence to say: ‘Lord knows we want to keep the Grand Prix, but not at any price’.
“We’re going to have a broader, more diverse business that can survive without it. But we’d much rather have one with it.”
While Carey stated that the “freshness” brought by new and upcoming venues, such as Vietnam, is important for the sport’s global appeal, the 65-year-old is open to keeping Silverstone on the Formula 1 calendar; saying that the sport must stay in touch with its European foundations.
“We’ve been very clear: you always build a sport on its foundation,” Carey said. “And the foundation of this sport is here in Europe.
“The fans that have been followers for the longest period of time are here in Europe, and you have to build a sport on top of its foundations. We are committed to making sure the sport is strong here. We think we can engage fans, new fans around the world. The reality is most of our events are reasonably long-term, so there is a lot of stability to what we do.”
“But we do think you want to bring some freshness to it. We think it’s important to go to some places that can capture people’s imagination that are new,” he continued.
“That being said, we want to be sure we continue to cherish what has made this sport so precious for so long.”