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SBD Global/July 17, 2017/Events and Attractions

Silverstone Will Reject Formula 1 Owner Liberty Media's Offer To Take Over British GP

Silverstone to maintain control of British GP.
An offer by Formula 1 owner Liberty Media to take over the running of the British Grand Prix "will be rejected by Silverstone," according to Bob McKenzie of the SUNDAY TIMES. The American media company "found itself embroiled in the traditional summer sport of keeping the British race on the calendar." Liberty Media, frustrated at the British Racing Drivers' Club's decision to activate a break clause in its contract to stage the British GP in the build-up to Sunday's race, "offered to run the event for five years" if it is "given the circuit free for three weeks." The company "might even be prepared to wipe out the race debts but the BRDC is expected to decline Liberty Media's offer" as it said that it would lose £20,000 ($26,200) per day under the arrangement. However, "the gamble on using the break clause could backfire if Liberty Media does not turn out to be as sympathetic to the Silverstone cause as the BRDC believes." BRDC Chair John Grant described running the event as "ruinously expensive," but F1 CEO Chase Carey "appears puzzled that a circuit that attracted 350,000 customers last year, one of the best in F1, cannot break even." Carey said, "I don’t understand some of their [Silverstone] claims about their economics, particularly when I look at our business in other places. The people who run a good race seem to have a different picture than they are painting." Liberty Media will not reduce its fee "as that would create a precedent." So the BRDC will have to try to persuade the company to "open more commercial opportunities to provide income streams, which is currently restricted almost entirely to ticket sales" (SUNDAY TIMES, 7/16).
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