SILVERSTONE, U.K. — Formula One will continue to explore the possibility of a London Grand Prix despite signing a new deal with Silverstone to host the British Grand Prix for the next five years.
After two years of intense negotiation, Silverstone signed a new deal with Formula One on Tuesday that will see it stay on the calendar until 2024. Just one month ago, Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle raised concerns about the threat a London Grand Prix might have on ticket sales for the British Grand Prix, but as part of the new agreement F1 is free to continue negotiations with London.
“We have interest from a lot of places and the discussions with London are ongoing,” F1 CEO Chase Carey said. “We look forward to continuing to have those discussions. It will be a different experience and we will see where they take us. But certainly in the short term our focus is here on Silverstone to make sure we continue to build on the new contract.”
Silverstone is owned by the British Racing Drivers’ Club and its chairman, John Grant, said the new contract has clauses to protect the financial interests of the British Grand Prix.
“We recognise Formula One’s desire to have destination city races and frankly if that brings a new audience to Formula One, I think in general that is a good thing,” Grant said. “We don’t oppose that and we certainly support the intent.
“Of course, we are concerned about the commercial threat to us of having a competitor event on our doorstep so to speak, and just 85 miles or so away. So we have had very frank discussions with our friends at Formula One about that and they understand those concerns, and it’s fair to say we have come up with some modus operandi — a set of agreements — that protect our interests to our satisfaction should that set of events ever become a reality.”
Pushed on what those agreements are, Grant added: “We are not going to get into any of our commercial arrangements, but we think there is room two races to coexist side by side as long as they have sufficient separation in time and as long as our commercial interests are recognised in some reasonably flexible way.”