A setback at Silverstone

The British Racing Drivers’ Club has announced that negotiations with a potential investor over the lease of the circuit land and sale of the Silverstone Circuits Limited business have failed to reach a final agreement. A second lease, agreed with commercial property company MEPC for the industrial and development land around the circuit remains in place

“After intense efforts to secure an acceptable deal, we have not been able to bring negotiations with the second potential investor to a satisfactory conclusion,” said John Grant, Chairman of the BRDC. “The BRDC will now retain full ownership of SCL, whose highly experienced management team will continue to operate, promote and further develop Silverstone as a premier racing destination. With or without another investor, the futures of both Silverstone and the British Grand Prix are secure. The circuit business has enormous potential and MEPC’s development of Silverstone Park – a high-tech business park on land surrounding the circuit – will enhance the circuit’s image and value over the next several years. We are delighted with the progress MEPC is already making. They are proving to be excellent partners and strong believers in our shared vision for Silverstone. We look forward to working with them towards implementing our joint vision for the development of Silverstone as a globally recognised centre for world-class motor sport and advanced technology.”

The BRDC Board has decided to shelve efforts to sell the SCL business. As the authority granted by BRDC members to the board to secure a deal has now expired, no further agreements of this nature will be entered into without first communicating with members.

20 thoughts on “A setback at Silverstone

  1. Why don’t they build a Formula One theme park at Silverstone?
    Better here than in a scorching, remote, desert location!
    After all CVC also own Merlin Entertainment, the world’s second biggest theme park operator.

      1. There are many permutations as to how to structure this deal, one thing that’s needed is a clever business brain to broker the deal.

        Silverstone is ideally located just off the M40 motorway which links London to Birmingham and is considered the Formula One corridor…

          1. Excellent infrastructure, Formula One Teams cluster and Birmingham on your doorstep, just think…

        1. But, it is actually not accessable by any other transport – try getting a train to Silverstone or getting to an airport. Why did Formula E choose to build their HQ at Donington..? Milton Keynes also has the UK HQ for several of the major car makers and motor industry already so they won’t want to move there.

          It also has the enormous commitment of the F1 contract and making that pay which is enough to frighten off most people I would imagine.

          1. mwp is correct when describing Silverstone’s location problem. It is a lovely place to visit via a slowish road journey. For the F1 and MotoGP events, you can catch a bus from some train stations. For Touring Cars?

            Silverstone is well placed, as long as you don’t assume to go anywhere super quickly. It is accessible to Reading, Coventry, Oxford, Cambridge (at a push) or Swindon where companies develop technology and employ smart people. Think beyond racing cars and you’ll find that the region is crammed with engineers.

            Regarding Donington Park access, the road from the M1 (eg at paddock entrance) is 1.5 metres wider than in 1938 (pre-M1) when spectators queued to watch the real Silver Arrows. The road is 1.5 metres wider to accommodate lorries parked on Donington Park during WWII.

  2. What is the problem with running the place themselves? Is the money needed for something specific or do they just not want to be that involved in the operation of the track?

  3. Off topic, but no Al Pease obituary? I’d have thought that his F1 story would be one you’d love, Joe.

    1. I remember him as a decent club racer in Canada in the 60’s who bought a couple of F 1 rides. No disrespect intended, but I didn’t consider him an F1 racer although he did contribute quite a bit to Canadian motorsport.

    2. This is somewhat uncharitable. Al Pease started in a Riley in the early fifties and was never destined for the top. He played an honourable part however and is remembered with affection in Canada. It is hardly surprising that the club scene in Canada took a while to produce an F1 star.
      The Canadians did much to welcome F1, Can-Am etc in the sixties. Many drivers from Europe were happy to take the money. Team owners were happy to rent cars. What is wrong with that?

  4. I know it is off topic, but I do wonder how Silverstone would look if Bernie had managed to buy it.

  5. What I meant to add was that this situation does illustrate part of what is wrong with F1. The F1 fees are so high that the rest of the season’s racing is spent supporting their payment. A lot of F1 circuits operate on a knife edge financially.

    Now if F1 paid for the use of the circuit and FOM subsisted on the huge tv deals the sport would be so much healthier, not to mention happier. Ticket prices could come down to an affordable level, the circuits would be profitable.

    But it’s all a pipe dream!

  6. Is it a setback? Or should Joe sack his sub-ed for the headline?

    Two organisations sought a deal that might benefit both, but they were unable to make it work and chose to go no further. Neither party relied on the deal, but we might expect that BRDC/SCL seeks a different party in the future.

  7. Sale and leaseback is a dodgy high finance trick to get lots of money in the short term for lots of expense in the longer term… not a big fan of it.

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