Silverstone At Risk Of Losing British Grand Prix After Deferring Payment
Silverstone will be forced to pay for this year's British Grand Prix on credit as "tightening finances" put the U.K.'s "most famous motor race in jeopardy," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that payment for this year's race "has been put back until next year" while the famous circuit, which has been the scene of almost every British Grand Prix since '50, organizes a "credit facility with its banks." The near £17M ($26M) hosting fee is "said to be crippling the circuit, even though it plays host to the biggest crowd of the year" with more than 120,000 people crammed into Silverstone on race day last July. Ecclestone said that he "does not want to reduce fees for fear that would trigger a stampede of circuit owners wanting cut-price races" (LONDON TIMES, 9/30). In London, Daniel Johnson reported the Northamptonshire circuit spent £27M ($41M) on the "Wing" complex a few years ago but "took on a lot of debt for the project." It "also no longer receives rental income on 280 acres of land around the circuit." Ecclestone: "We have agreed on a kind of an instalment plan. We are doing all we can do. They got exactly the contract they wanted, and asked for, which is a lot more beneficial than others have." With F1 having "already lost Germany this season, France falling a few years ago, and Italy under threat," any danger to Silverstone, which has been the scene of almost every British Grand Prix since '50, "will dismay the sport's fans" (TELEGRAPH, 9/30).
ALLEN TO PROPOSE SALE: FORBES' Christian Sylt reported Silverstone Managing Dir Patrick Allen revealed that he would recommend that the owners of Silverstone "seek new investment to secure its future." Allen said that he would make the recommendation to sell at Wednesday's Annual General Meeting of Silverstone owner the British Racing Drivers Club, a group of 850 members including superstar drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Allen: "There's an AGM very shortly and I think the board are aware of the need for a capital injection. I can put my proposals forward, whether they support them or have a different view or have a different solution would be up to the board" (FORBES, 9/29).