Sport Liberty committed to a British GP beyond 2019

14:50  12 july  2017
14:50  12 july  2017 Source:   Read Sport

Plan for 2020 Copenhagen Grand Prix emerges

  Plan for 2020 Copenhagen Grand Prix emerges Copenhagen can now be added to the long list of prospective cities looking to host a Formula 1 race, with plans being outlined last week. Holding an ambition to host a race in 2020, a plan was presented to F1 chief executive Chase Carey last Monday. It would be a street track around the centre of Copenhagen designed by favoured architect Hermann Tilke, with money coming from a public-private partnership. Currently headed by Danish businessman Lars Seier Christensen, he met with Carey in London last week to discuss their plans for a race. Talking to the Danish publication BT, Christensen said: “If we are to conduct such an event in Denmark, cooperation between public and private investors is necessary. But before I get started, it was important that we have political will and support from Liberty Media, which owns the commercial rights. “That was a very positive meeting in London, and now I will spend the next six months systematically gathering the necessary investors. It’s an expensive project, because we’ll both build the track and pay a license to Liberty.” The news comes at a time where new owners Liberty Media has expressed an interest at expanding the number of races to 25 per season. The American company has both New York and Los Angeles in their sights, alongside a long rumoured return to Las Vegas. Carey has met already this year with President Erdogan of Turkey, while Portugal has also recently expressed an interest at hosting a grand prix. Both ‘European’ time zone countries having hosted races in the past.

Future of grand prix at Silverstone unclear beyond 2019 . New F1 CEO Chase Carey told SSNHQ in January that Liberty Media was committed to keeping a British race, but did not guarantee it would remain at Silverstone.

No index. Beyond the lands.

Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Practice © Dan Istitene/Getty Images Sport Canadian F1 Grand Prix - Practice

Formula 1’s commercial leader Sean Bratches has stated that the sport is committed to a British Grand Prix beyond 2019, but refrained from identifying Silverstone as a likely venue.

As the managing director of commercial operations within Liberty Media’s triumvirate, it is expected that Bratches will lead the negotiations towards securing a new British GP deal.

On Tuesday, the future of the race was thrown into jeopardy when current host Silverstone activated the break clause in their contract, meaning that without revised terms, the 2019 race would be the last.

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Derek Warwick optimistic of keeping British GP beyond 2019 as he confirms talks with Government, plus Ecclestone and Liberty Media. “I think we will have a grand prix past 2019 .” Could another circuit stage British GP ?

The British Racing Drivers' Club claims to have had "no option" but to opt out of its Silverstone Formula 1 contract, but the circuit's owners are hopeful that a deal can be reached with Liberty Media to keep staging the British GP after 2019 .

Speaking with BBC this morning, Bratches stated: “We have an extraordinarily positive relationship with our friends and partners at Silverstone and we have three more Grand Prix’s with them this year, in 2018 and 2019.

“A lot can transpire, but I can tell all the fans in Great Britain that we are committed to a British Grand Prix.”

When asked directly if a new deal would be struck with Silverstone, Bratches declined to comment. “It’s premature to even speculate that.”

Silverstone has a long history in F1, dating back to 1950 and the first race in the series. However, with escalating race fees and a lack of government funding for the event, the race is no longer viable for the venue in its current fiscal form.

Bratches’ comment supports the assertion that Liberty could be forced to find a new venue for the race in order to keep the British event on the calendar.

With a race on the streets of London having been the source of speculation since 2012 and with Donnington Park having had previous and recent connections with the sport, Liberty could find themselves with some interesting options.

Analysis: The Silverstone battle F1 cannot win .
The news that Silverstone has activated the break clause in its contract with FOM is an emotive minefield. It does not necessarily mean that there will be no British Grand Prix after 2019, nor does it mean that Silverstone will cease to be on the F1 calendar, as memories of Donington’s non-starter contract in 2009 shows. However, it does herald the starting-gun for a deluge of contractual disputes crossing the desk of F1’s new administration. And yet, in many disputes, particularly in Silverstone’s case, these appear to be fights that Liberty Media and Chase Carey cannot hope to win. On the one hand, the loss symbolic of a historic event, an acrid black mark on the record of an otherwise nascent new regime, running directly counter to its audience led doctrine. On the other hand, in giving Silverstone a more affordable contract Carey exposes himself to a ravenous scramble from the many other circuits also forced over the breadline by the previous regime, a scramble that would have a price tag in the tens of millions; money that could have reinvested into the F1 product. In essence, Liberty’s challenge is to hold together an outfit already bursting at the seams due to Bernie Ecclestone’s relentlessly exploitative mindset. To evoke a term with a newly politicised resonance, F1 has been the victim of a ‘deal-maker’: a man with a wantonly counter-strategic, short-term focus, who only sees entities relative to what he can extract from them.


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