The future of the Formula 1 British Grand Prix hangs in the balance, as two parties pull out of negotiations to buy the famous venue – Silverstone. Autosport names the two as Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson, with two others reported to be still in negotiations with British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), Silverstone’s owner.

“Discussions with JLR have been terminated because we couldn’t come to a deal that met their requirements as well as ours. Lawrence had extended his option until October 31 but his offer lapsed when we hadn’t made a decision by then,” BRDC chairman John Grant explained to the motorpsorts publication.

“The JLR deal was the only one that would have enabled us to retain control of the Silverstone business. All of the others want to buy Silverstone Circuits Ltd, the business that runs the track,” he said, adding that he believes a potential deal could still provide the finances required to retain the GP, despite the setbacks.

The report identifies MotorSport Vision boss Jonathan Palmer as one of the two parties still in talks with BRDC. “The changes could provide a better economic balance for circuit owners and it would be up to any potential new owner to decide on the future of the GP,” he said, in reference to potential changes in F1, mainly its recent purchase by the Liberty Group.

“The financial position of the BRDC is not strong enough to support a high-risk business like the British GP – that’s why we have been looking for a partner with deeper financial pockets. We think the GP is worth hanging on to, but it has to be on a common sense basis,” he added. Grant said the other remaining interested party was “a substantial overseas investor with long-established interests in the UK.”

In September, BRDC president Derek Warwick said that the cost of the GP was becoming financially unviable, and the British GP has nine months to secure its F1 future beyond 2019.

“We’re looking at where we are going to be in 2019, whether or not we still want the grand prix, and whether we can push Silverstone forward without the grand prix. At the end of the day, if you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it,” he told Autosport.

“We’ve supported the British Grand Prix now for many years without any kind of third party support or government support. We’ve spent over £50 million building the wing, changing the circuit, and doing everything Bernie wanted in order to secure the grand prix. But now we are in a situation where the escalator [clause] has become too expensive for us,” he said.


Closer to home, the future of our own Malaysia GP, which has been held at the Sepang International Circuit since 1999, is also in doubt. The cost of hosting the F1 race is the main factor.

According to SIC CEO Datuk Razlan Razali, F1 ticket sales have consistently fallen 10% each year, while initial reports showed that TV viewership of the sport in Malaysia was the lowest ever.

“In contrast, the Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) looks more promising in terms of attracting spectators and its potential spillover effects. Last year we saw 85,000 spectators for our MotoGP. This year, as all the tickets have already been sold out, we target a record 90,000 spectators, inclusive of from the hill stands,” he said.

After the race, which was won by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, it was revealed that this year’s MotoGP pulled a record 161,533 fans to Sepang over three days. That’s over 10k more people than in 2015.

SIC has an agreement to host Formula 1 until 2018.