Silverstone steer toward loss; cheap tickets?

According to the Telegraph, the saga over Silverstone continues as the race appears to be taking a loss this year due to reduced ticket revenues in 2016. A letter to shareholders from track boss, John Grant, said:

“ticket revenues were well down compared with last year’s strong performance,” he expects the circuit to make a loss this year.

“With an ever-increasing hosting fee, this means that the Grand Prix’s contribution to profit will be less than last year, so that we now expect… to make a loss for the year and miss the year-two target of [our] three-year plan,”

The challenges faced by such an iconic track are indicative of a circuit that lacks the government funding to continue hosting Formula 1 races as they face an escalating sanctioning fee in the neighborhood of $25.5m. One of the stated reasons was the reduced ticket prices for 2016 as they were just 1,000 folks short of last year’s attendance.

Owners of the circuit, the BRDC, are trying to find a buyer for a long-term lease and thought they had on in Jaguar until that was vetoed by Porsche who run a driving experience program at the track.

F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, has always been miffed as to why the British government wouldn’t support the race because to him, there is nothing bigger outside of the Olympics. There were rumors of other potential buyers and the article does say that the BRDC could simply remain as the owners and seek partnership funding through other sources.

Like Silverstone, the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has it’s challenges to keep the track leased and used 365 days a year and the track economics seem to be something that this current economy finds difficult to sustain. Unlike Silverstone, COTA does get assistance from the state of Texas. You can appreciate the challenge here for the BRDC and as the spiritual home of F1, it’s is slightly odd that the UK doesn’t support the race as an entire industry employs thousands in and around the circuit.

Hat Tip: The Telegraph

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Alianora La Canta

The government of the UK has been reluctant to fund the British Grand Prix largely *because* it is part of a large and reasonably profitable industry, and always has been. In its opinion, the industry should be essentially self-funding. Inertia has much to do with why the Olympics receives such generous funding (yes, it’s very profitable now, but it certainly wasn’t in 1896!) and the fact that unless Britain is hosting the Games, the government contribution to the British Olympic team is in the neighbourhood of what it would cost for the British government to pay for the British Grand… Read more »