Meanwhile at Silverstone

There is more activity at Silverstone at the moment with former BRDC board member Lawrence Tomlinson, the owner of Ginetta, who has made a huge fortune from his LNT Group, which specialises in care homes. He is apparently campaigning to stop a deal going through with Jaguar Land Rover, despite the fact that the car company is willing to pay £33 million in addition to the leasing the circuit, while leaving the BRDC to run Silverstone Circuits Ltd. It seems that Tomlinson’s plan is to buy the circuit and Silverstone Circuits Ltd himself.
As I understand it, there is no firm offer for the circuit from Tomlinson as yet and the BRDC’s attitude is that they are not really keen on the idea of the track being owned by a single individual and are worried that the deal that is nearing completion with JLR could be put at risk by this new development.With the vote coming up shortly they want a quick solution to allow the JLR deal to go ahead.

Elsewhere, there is no sign of any evidence to back up the stories put out recently by Bernie Ecclestone that the price of the sale of the Formula One group has been agreed with two buyers. If that is the case, then a lot of people involved in the current ownership don’t know about it, which would seem to suggest that Bernie is still trying to shake the tree to find if there are any other possible buyers around as the prospective ones are not willing to pay the price that is being asked. One never knows with these things but generally speaking the CEO will keep the owners informed if there is a deal close to happening. Similarly, stories about a Grand Prix in Las Vegas should be treated with care as it is more likely that they are designed to put pressure on other race promoters, probably the Circuit of the Americas, although this has recently completed a refinancing operation and the US Grand Prix should now go ahead as planned.

28 thoughts on “Meanwhile at Silverstone

  1. Well, Quelle Surprise!. We all see the side of Mr. Ecclestone’s cards that face us, but as any gambler would tell you, it’s the side facing him that matters.

    1. That was when they went to Phoenix and had competition from an ostrich racing event. The ostrich race promotor won!

  2. It is important that Bernie recognises the importance of 1st April also.

    The BRDC are probably wise, remembering the knock on consequences of the death of Fulston and the Brands / Oulton empire.

  3. The number of times Ecclestone pulls the tired old trick of saying another circuit could take an existing GP. Monza lost to Mugello/ Imola, Silverstone to Brands Hatch. Does anyone actually fall for that?

  4. Never mind the ‘bus racing’ series . . .
    ‘two buyers’ and ‘Las Vegas’ strike a similar chord.

    In the world of F1 –
    April 1st has lost all sense of uniqueness and significance.

    1. I actually enjoy the busses transporting the crews about the track, I could see several manufacturers wanting to get some of that action MAN, Mercedes, NOVA and the list goes on. Talk about laying on the rubber.

  5. Whispers speak of concerns that once Silverstone is owned by an entity that exists to make money, it will spot the vast black hole down which all of its revenues disappear. Fears are that TATA would act to very swiftly put a plug in the hole.

    1. I have seen you comment on numerous Silverstone articles and am convinced you are a BRDC member. Especially with that username. As it has been used by Silverstone for events on and off for years. Whoever you are, I assume that the black hole you refer to is the BRDC and the concern of selling to Tata is that Tata would simply shut down the ridiculous Bentley Boys club? I mean, certainly at this point the boys in charge have zero idea of what is going on. That boy in charge of racing operations is pretty useless for example. Very symptomatic of the problems. As is the nepotism that rages through the business. BRDC members employing their mates who in turn employ their mates and all of whom are no good at their jobs.

      If you are indeed a member, then I suggest you rally your troops (member friends) and ensure that you get the right deal. To sell the venue for as little as £33m would be verging on the criminally ridiculous!

      1. I think he probably meant the vast expense of hosting the British GP – a precarious case for investment at best.

      2. My career to date to a large extent has been working for professional sporting organisations. The difference between a well run organisation and an absolute shambles is just that – nepotism.

        Growth of your name, or growth of the game. That normally is a good question to ask in determining who is fit and proper to run the show.

        1. I am not personally associated with any of the parties involved in these negotiations, nor have I ever been. But anyone with an interest in motorsport and the industry in Britain is concerned by the health of Silverstone.

          There are thousands of people whose livelihoods depend on the place and many thousands more who attend its events, rain or shine, throughout the year. They are stakeholders in its future and of course they discuss it. I’ve heard some of those discussions and I’ve kept a very close eye on the story for the last 20+ years.

          Joe’s reporting is unique in a) giving space to these sorts of developments and b) promoting the sort of informed conversation that his work does among readers who care.

          The fact is that Bernie told Silverstone more than 25 years ago that F1 would soon be unaffordable. By the time that Nicola Foulston got involved that was already true and since then it’s just been one disaster after another.

          My personal view is that the industry and the sport in Britain has been made weaker every year by the British GP. Silverstone is at capacity in terms of year-round usage. Why not channel those funds back into its facilities, work with new investors with sufficient funding to put right the infrastructure and resolve the horror story that is the southern paddock and Wing while putting the rest of the money into re-growing and properly promoting the domestic sport?

          All these long years of conflict between Silverstone and FOM will soon be at an end one way or another. That’s why there seems to be little profit in continuing the very one-sided struggle that’s cost everyone so much over the years. Ultimately F1 needs France, Britain, Germany and Italy to retain its identity – but not at any price.

  6. Odd thing is that this post fits well into April fool’s day-so many people being fooled by these ‘stories.’

  7. The BRDC are responsible for the mess that is Silverstone. Someone like Lawrence Tomlinson is required to own the circuit and face off the constant demands coming from Bernie. Perhaps fix the childish problems that were built into the pits complex and put a stop to the selling off of land around the track.

  8. I found it interesting that Ecclestone had 2 buyers that agreed to the price, yet wasn’t sure if CVC wanted to sell. Made me wonder how he would know what the sale price is.

  9. TATA is buying a test track and land upon which it can build technical centres for its bright, shiny brands (plus and a museum and a visitors’ centre and whatever else is expected of it). But it is categorically not buying the opportunity to hand FOM more money every year.

    1. I have mentioned this before but as I understand it Jaguar have a large collection of ‘historic’ vehicles. Some are in storage and some are loaned out to various museums. They used to have a small display at the old Browns Land site in Coventry but that closed. I don’t think there is much space for a museum facility at Castle Bromwich though there is a small visitors centre that usually displays about 3 current models. Given the success of the museum at Gaydon I can see why JLR might want to have one at Sillverstone though ironically neither site has much in the way of public transport links. Silverstone and JLR seems a decent match to me. I feel sorry for the BRDC who could have carried on in their sporting tradition but have been scuppered by trying to do the right thing for the UK and host the GP. This has over the years become a financial nightmare and F1 has sucked them dry and they may lose their spiritual home.

      Just changing the subject slightly I recommend the Jaguar factory tour as an interesting afternoon out. You have to book in advance and they take round a group of about 8 to 10 people. You get to see the whole of the production process except for the paint shop. You see the panels going together at one end and the finished cars roll out of the other. You can ask any questions and you get a cup of tea half way round.

    Bernie will want it high profile on The Strip and that just isn’t going to happen, besides which if you’ve been there lately, you’ll know there’s no spare space left for a track. Indycar ran a race at Easter a few years ago, in older unfashionable North Las Vegas, but all that did was keep the regular punters out of the Casinos in that neighbourhood and cause expensive disruption. On The Strip they hardly noticed there was a race on. It seems F1 fans and Indycar fans have long pockets and short arms as far as the casinos are concerned.

  11. Great comment on Teds Notebook, when you have the time what are your thoughts on getting some technical regs to help the racing? Your parting shot gave me a chuckle tho with the way things have been I’m half expecting numbskulls…

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