Hill: British GP chances still 50/50


Podium Finisher
BDRC president and former F1 Champion Damon Hill has said that the chances of securng the British Gp beyond 2009 and thier current contract are 50/50. Stating that getting a commerical deal with Bernie has a major stumbing block toward getting a new contract. Getting a commerical deal with Mr F1 himself is unlikey to be sorted after the 30 million redevlopment of Sliverstone is completed.

Is It really concievable that the only GP to be held every year since the World Championchips inception in 1950 could end up booted out of f1? and if it does how will it effect formula one and motorsport in Britian?

is it possible to have a f1 season without a british gp? yes it is, unfortunaltely enough. f1 is more and more becoming a tv spectacle and then the actual location of the event does not make a lot of a difference. and there is in my opinion the answer to your second question: it will not have a real impact on f1, circuits come and go and so do countries but f1 still goes on, and again, mainly on tv.

what it'll mean to motorsport in britain, i should think right now mainly disappointment cos at the moment we have the LH experience and his local people want to see him. but aftre that, depends on if there is a successful british f1 driver or not. so even there, i don't think it will make much of a difference.

and gals and guys, from tuesday it should be business as usual on my side. so if anyone knows the answer to my question...
Silverstone are currently understood to be paying around £7m per season, but for 2010 Bernie wants £11.2m, the fee then to increase by 5% each year for five years.

The most difficult thing for the circuit is the apparent request from BE for the first two years' fees up front as security on the rest of the contract.

Many of the new circuits in China and Bahrain are understood to be paying in excess of £20m per season for the right to host their races. The Belgian GP promoters are paying almost £12m this season with a 10% annual escalator.

According to Max, the British GP is one of the protected historic events on the calendar. But of course if Silverstone can't afford to host it, the British race could still be accomodated at another venue. Hence Bernie's discussions with the former Mayor of London, and now with Donington's new owners.

Neither of which is a realistic possibility for 2010, IMO, but it does put the required pressure on Silverstone.

Could the Government find £5m out of somewhere to help Silverstone out? And should they?
gordon: i don't see the link between a british gp and silverstone. i think the main thing is for britain to have a gp period. and then donington in my view makes a lot more sense.

we can make a list of all the circuits f1 doesn't visit anymore and there are for sure some famous names there, but f1 still goes on. also, this talk of 'a protected historic event' in my view seems more a pr statement then anything else.

should the government help silverstone? i don't think so cos then the problems will only get bigger and bigger, better find a real solution instead of all kinds of ways of filling up holes.
Sorry, don't really do politics.. its not my thing, but I'd not be very happy if messers Brown et al decided to use £5 million of the taxpayers money to help bail out Silverstone or any other British sporting event for that matter.

Much though I'd love to see the British GP continue and be at Silverstone, I really think that this is something that the circuit has to do for itself. I can't quite understand how the circuit doesn't have the funds for improvement of the facilities .. I mean 90,000 sell out crowd each paying an average of £200 per ticket (obviously lots of racegoers will pay much more and many will buy the £100 fan tickets + the corporate hospitality which is extortionate) so the event itself must take in 20M.

Okay, Bernies fees etc and hosting will take away what 1/2 that amount so what happens to the remainder? .. bad management in the past or what.

I do think that Bernie seems to be trying to remove the British GP from the calender by making it very dificult to find the money upfront .. wonder if he is also asking for two years fees in advance from other circuits? Is this just a ploy to in effect say yes, I want to keep the British GP .. but it's not my fault if the BRDC won't do whats necessary to make the circuit acceptable to him.

As for motorsport in Britain, I do tend to agree with boga :) the teams who are based here and all the infrastructure, I don't see them up and moving abroad because Silverstone may bite the dust .. unless of course it would benefit them financially or there are better opportunities to recruit/retain top staff.
I don't think Donington would be able to afford that sort of money any more than Silverstone would. Donny's facilities are much further away from the level required to hold a Grand Prix, and the layout itself would need some substantial revisions too.

I'm not sure about the circuit income maths salti - is the average raceday ticket really £100 now? - but certainly Silverstone have a lot of other costs to contend with other than paying BE for the race - staffing, maintenance, security, renewal of ageing facilities, as well as running all the other events they hold during the year. I was once told that if Silverstone sold out for the GP they would make a profit of £1m for the season. If those calculations are still correct then I don't see how Bernie's figure could be achieved.

I don't have any personal attachment to Silverstone, in fact I don't particularly like the place, many other British circuits in my view. But there needs to be a rational assessment and I think that means Silverstone is the only realistic possibility in terms of logistics for hosting the race.
just the other day i read an article somewhere which said a f1 GP is the highest earning single day sports event. if there would be more races then f1 would be the highest earning sport overall too. think it was like 100 million USD per race. but this is on top of my head.
Not sure of the maths myself Gordon.

I know the "fan tickets" for general admission are ~ £100 each and the best grandstand seats are ~ £350 so I went for £200 as a rough average x the expected crowd of 90,000 = 18 M. I'd also have thought that they would get some sort of commission from the sale of souvenirs and team gear etc. Plus, this year they made a nominal charge for testing which was previously free.

But I guess Bernie must know exactly how much Silverstone make and what they can afford to pay .. maybe he's just trying to push them as much as possible to find his fees as he knows there are other places willing to pay.

I love my formula one as much as the next fan but I don't think I'd be willing to pay an extra £50 each year on top of the current costs for a seat at Silverstone. I'd rather go abroad and make a bit of a holiday of it as well.
The British Grand Prix

I thought (and I'm probably being naïve about this) that F1 Grand Prix were based around the world based on

1) Availability of circuit and
2) Fanbase

Hence there is no US Grand Prix (there is no fanbase) there are two Spanish GPs since Alonsomania, but only one German GP since Schumimania ended in 2007, and rubbish circuits (in terms of pit facilities + set-up) such as Montreal and Interlagos are maintained.

Now Britain is going through a phase of Lewisteria, and all sessions of the 2008 British Grand Prix were sold out two weeks before the event. In Germany in 1994 or Spain in 2007, the response to this kind of demand for tickets was to put on an extra Grand Prix in that country, ie. the European Grand Prix. So, why is Ecclestone's response to British crowds flocking to F1 to take away their Grand Prix?

Surely the income of the British Grand Prix in terms of fans attending is greater than that of other Grand Prix like Bahrain or Turkey that have no drivers or history of supporting F1.

It is not because the facilities are not there at Silverstone. If facilities were an issue for sure there would be no Grand Prix in Canada, Brazil, and most notably Monaco. Unfortuanately for Ecclestone, if to hold a Grand Prix required a local Sheikh to build the circuit then he would find himself with an empty F1 calender.

Maybe sometimes Mr. Ecclestone, you must learn a key lesson. Don't chase the new money whilst spurning the old money. If the heartlands turn away from F1, I'm afraid no amount of oil money from the Middle East or China will save it!

And thats my two pence for the day!
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