The Silverstone GP – is it really the end?

The simple answer is probably no, though London Mayor Sadiq Khan openly suggesting that the capital would love to host the race series could put a spanner in the works. Anyone who is interested in racing probably knows by now that the BRDC has activated the escape clause within their contract to host Formula 1. This means that there may not be a British Grand Prix after 2019, which would be sad for fans as it is an iconic race weekend in the calendar. The problem that the BRDC faces is that the GP weekend doesn’t make nearly enough money to cover its costs, or more specifically the many millions they pay to host the race series.

So the Silverstone GP needs some radical new ideas to make the F1 more profitable for them, and perhaps one way to do that is to make it about more than just the racing. We all know that the ticket prices are too high (one of the reasons for the apparent falling interest levels in the sport) and despite reports of the attendance figure being near 139,000 most people would now rather watch all of the race from their big screen at home than the one corner they can see from a grandstand. There are so many things that the BRDC could do to bring some excitement back to the British GP but I’m not sure there is enough youthful energy to bring it about. Silverstone is a truly huge place (I know, I walked from one end inside of the track to the other last year and it took an age) and it seems a shame that all of that space isn’t exploited. Even if the manufacturer teams got more involved and brought along some entertainment that could benefit both themselves and the crowds then it would be a step in the right direction.

Perhaps the F1 could do with something of a festival atmosphere, with a multi-faceted approach to the weekend. There is a huge amount of love for F1 cars from the past and they would be well received if brought out to show – even if they didn’t go on track (though that would be incredible wouldn’t it?). I’m almost surprised a certain auction house doesn’t have an F1 sale ( though I suppose ‘The Wing’ is already used for other purposes). There is already a music festival but it could be more of an event with more daytime appearances and the opportunity for less well known acts. I’d also love to see a high viewing platform that you could pay to go on and see the track from a bird’s eye view. I’ve seen plenty of incredible cars at the F1, normally tucked away inside the track where the general public can’t get easy access to them. It would be nice to have a car show of some sort. Big manufacturers could have stands and even test drives (though personally I would love to see British manufacturers even more).

In my eyes Formula 1 could learn a thing or two from Formula E, especially with the problems at Silverstone. You need more than just a race and alcohol to pull in fans, it needs to be an event that you can’t miss. There are huge manufacturers there that could easily put on entertainment that could also provide themselves with more business. There is such rich history at Silverstone and in Formula 1 itself that something truly special could be created if the owners were willing to break with tradition and also spend some money.


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