The Formula One British Grand Prix will stay at Silverstone until at least the end of the 2024 championships after a five-year agreement between Liberty Media, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), and Silverstone Circuit was signed in London on 9th July, the motorsports series has confirmed.
The agreement end doubts around the future of the sport’s oldest race and comes ahead of the 2019 edition which starts 12th July. The Northamptonshire circuit was in the last of year of its deal with the global motor racing series after Silverstone, which has hosted the British Grand Prix since 1987, triggered its release clause in July 2017 in the hope of securing a better deal for its race fee.
Stuart Pringle, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said that the prospect of not hosting a Grand Prix at the circuit “would have been devastating”.
He continued: “The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is rightly recognised as one of the highlights of both the F1 championship and the annual British sporting calendar.
“This is thanks to our track being one of the greatest drivers’ circuits in the world but also the enormous passion for motor racing that exists in the loyal and knowledgeable fans that we have in this country.
“I am delighted that we are here today, on the eve of what is sure to be a fantastic event, making this positive announcement about the future.”
Silverstone’s race fee was set to increase from UK£26 million (US$32 million) in 2027 under terms signed with Formula One’s former chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.
The venue was seeking more favourable terms for the new arrangement. These were not disclosed in Formula One’s announcement, though it appears that Liberty Media, which bought the series in 2017, was keen to retain the circuit on the race calendar.
Formula One’s chief executive Chase Carey said: “We are really pleased to confirm that the British Grand Prix will stay on the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar for at least the next five years, with the event remaining at its longstanding home, Silverstone circuit.
“We have always said that, if it is to have a long-term future, our sport must preserve its historic venues and Silverstone and Great Britain represent the cradle of this sport, its starting point back in 1950.
“Formula One is a global sport, held on five continents, watched by an audience of over 500 million fans around the world and our aim is to grow this number by bringing the sport we love to new countries, while also maintaining its roots: Silverstone and the British Grand Prix are an integral part of that vision.”
The UK has played a pivotal role in the sport’s history, with seven of the ten teams competing in the championship based locally.
More than 680,000 people attended the British Grand Prix over the past two years alone. It was also confirmed that FIA’s Formula Two and Formula Three championships will continue to support the event.
John Grant, BRDC chairman, said: “Silverstone is one of the most iconic Grands Prix on the Formula One calendar and, with such a rich heritage, it would have been disastrous for the sport and fans had we not managed to find a way forward.
“2020 will be the 70th anniversary of the first round of the World Championship which took place at Silverstone on 13th May 1950 and will make next year’s event all the more special. This is great news for the BRDC, Silverstone and Formula One - and for millions of British motor racing fans.”