Just a few days ago we were speculating over the future of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Would the circuit be willing, or able, to stump up the considerable cash required to keep it? How relevant would an F1-less Silverstone be? Could a potential London street race kill it for good? Well fret no more, PHers, because today is a good day for positive British motorsport news; the British Grand Prix at Silverstone is secure for at least another five years.
This weekend's Grand Prix looked set to be Silverstone's last for the foreseeable future, with its contract ending and a costly renewal seeming unlikely. Thankfully, though, following two years of drawn-out negotiations between the circuit and F1's new American owners, Liberty Media, a new deal has been signed keeping the world's most advanced race cars at the track until 2024.
Stuart Pringle, Silverstone managing director, said of the new deal: "We've been given sufficient comfort in the event that F1 can bring an additional race in the UK on to the calendar that it is additional, and the fears we had have been sufficiently addressed in the contract. We are not against trying to grow the fan base in the UK and if a second race helps achieve that, great. But we have taken a lot of commercial risk and we need to be protected. All the aims we set ourselves two years ago have been met to our satisfaction."
With Liberty Media having promised to protect the status of F1's historic European events in the face of rising costs and an increasing number of state-sponsored events on the calendar, F1 chairman Chase Carey told Autosport: "We have interest from a lot of places, and obviously it's been well reported that we have discussions ongoing in London. I think we look forward to continuing to have those discussions. It would be a different experience, and we'll see where they take us." He went on to add: "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."
It sounds like whatever protections Silverstone has negotiated for itself are enough to assuage fears that a London race could damage its standing, then. Although F1 bosses also seem undeterred from pursuing a second UK race. Could this end with the best of both worlds for UK F1 fans? Or is the UK not big enough for the both of them? We have at least another five years to figure it out.