The British Grand Prix has been confirmed for Silverstone in 2016, after a week of rumours about the future of the event.
The 2016 F1 calendar was released today, with the British Grand Prix taking place at Silverstone on July 10 – a change from the provisional listing which scheduled the race for June 26.
However, the future of the event at Silverstone beyond next year has not been cleared up.
Earlier in the week the prospect of the British Grand Prix leaving the South Northants circuit was raised when Silverstone’s financial difficulties emerged.
The circuit is owned by the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), and it has a contract to run the British Grand Prix until 2026, but there was a get-out clause allowing it to be cancelled in 2016.
At the start of the week it emerged Silverstone is currently paying the fee for staging the grand prix in arrears – under a special agreement.
The fee charged stands at about £16m a year, increasing annually by about five per cent.
Hence to stage the 2016 race it would effectively need a credit note from its bankers.
Silverstone’s managing director Patrick Allen has reportedly not asked for the F1 race fee to be reduced, as Silverstone pays half that charged to some other races on the F1 global circuit.
Mr Allen, who was appointed to run the circuit by the BRDC at the start of this year, said the track’s financial situation has taken a dive in recent years.
The construction of the Wing pit building was in part funded by loans from banks and Northamptonshire County Council.
To pay this back the BRDC leased out land near the circuit in 2013, but that in turn has led to a loss in rental incomes used to cover the cost of staging the Grand Prix.
Mr Allen said ticket sales for next year’s race are already 163 per cent up on this time last year, but this only really covers the lost rental incomes.
Mr Allen said on Wednesday he would be proposing to the BRDC’s annual general meeting that the club sell off Silverstone to someone who can invest money into the facility and put it on a sound financial footing.
Details of what occurred behind the closed doors of the meeting have not yet emerged, leaving the future ownership of the track open.