• British GP

Silverstone announce 17-year deal to host British GP

ESPNF1 Staff
December 7, 2009 « Silly season drags on | »
Damon Hill announced the British GP will stay at Silverstone © Sutton Images

Silverstone will hold the British Grand Prix in 2010 after signing a deal that will keep the race at the venue until 2026.

The circuit will step in for Donington Park which secured a deal with Formula One Management (FOM) in 2008 but failed to follow through on its plans due to a lack of funding. The future of the race was then in doubt as Ecclestone declared that Silverstone would have to pay the full going rate if it wanted to save the grand prix for 2010.

However, after extensive negotiations, Damon Hill, president of the circuit's owners the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), and Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone, have announced the track will host the race for the next 17 years. The deal is rumoured to be worth £12 million for 2010 rising to £16.8 million in 2015 with a break clause after 10 years, allowing Silverstone to back out if necessary. The circuit will also host Moto GP in 2010.

"The title of Silverstone as home of motorsport has come true," said Hill. "It is a place for all motorsport. Everyone in the BRDC loves motorsport and we are looking forward to the MotoGP as well as the British Grand Prix. It is not easy to enter into a contract of this magnitude and you have to take on a lot of responsibility, but the BRDC wanted this relationship to continue.

"Everyone was well aware that the British GP is not just a sporting event, but it is the dynamo of the industry in this country. Losing it would have been damaging and perhaps there would have been no coming back."

Hill said work on a new paddock and pits complex would start after Christmas to improve the facilities at the circuit. Phillips added that the new plans would provide a better experience for fans.

"Even this year with the new circuit we are trying to get better access for public, changing grandstands for better viewing and running our own campsites to be better than the current ones," he said. "We want to increase the entertainment factor. We've always had five-year deals and never been able to get the investment we needed to redevelop. But 17 years gives us the ability to invest and move forward."

Ecclestone, who recently commented that he didn't believe the British Grand Prix was needed, and would not agree to special terms to keep the race on the calendar, will take a financial hit of more than £60million over the course of the 17 years.

"I am pleased to have reached an agreement with Silverstone for the retention of the British Grand Prix," said Ecclestone. "This will ensure Great Britain will remain on the Formula One calendar for many years to come, which is something I have personally always wanted to see happen. The team at Silverstone already know how to organise a good event, and now everyone can look forward to next summer at Silverstone.''

Phillips said the next task would be to sell tickets to the public in time for the race in 2010.

"We've now got to sell a lot of tickets, to get out there and do similar sorts of numbers as we did this year when we had 230,000 people there over the three days, and promote the event.''