Statement from Silverstone Circuits Ltd

Following an announcement made by the FIA  morning that FOM has signed an agreement to stage the British  Grand  Prix  at  Donington  Park  from  2010,  Damon  Hill  OBE,  President  of  the  British  Racing  Drivers’ Club  (BRDC),  and  Richard  Phillips,  Managing  Director  of  Silverstone  Circuits  Limited,  have  issued  the following joint statement:

 The  2008  FORMULA  1  SANTANDER  BRITISH  GRAND  PRIX  is  a  celebration  of  60  years  of  racing  at Silverstone and 80 years of the BRDC. The event is a record-breaking sell-out on all three days. We have a fantastic staff of thousands in the circuit who we are confident will make the event a huge success.

Our  efforts  outside  of  the  track  have  seen  major  infrastructure  improvements  and  co-ordination  with  local authorities  and  the  emergency  services  to  ensure  a  world-class  event  with  minimal  disruption  for  the  local community. A number of teams and drivers have praised Silverstone this week so, as you can imagine, it is extremely disappointing to receive the news, at this time, that FOM has signed an agreement with Donington Park.

The BRDC and Silverstone set out on a campaign to retain the British Grand Prix some time ago. One major positive is that the FIA and FOM have at last acknowledged the importance of a British Grand Prix on the F1 calendar.

 The UK has some of the most passionate and well informed fans in the world and a significant industry based around motor racing. Silverstone remains in a unique position of being able to host a British Grand Prix, both today and in the future.

We also firmly believe that it is the right venue to continue hosting the event beyond 2009 when our current agreement expires. We have recently embarked on a massive process of redevelopment at the circuit which played host to the first ever World Championship British Grand Prix in 1950.

Planning permission has been secured from the two District  Councils  responsible  for  Silverstone,  for a new Pit and Paddock complex, as well as an impressive range of improvements to the circuit and facilities. A tremendous amount of work has gone in to get Silverstone to the position where it is teed up to become a world leading centre for motorsport, business, leisure and technology.

The planned redevelopment will make Silverstone not only one of the best motor sports venues in the world, but also add a range of additional facilities for high-tech industry, education and initiatives for the benefit of the local community.

Our aim is to continue in our endeavours to ensure that the UK remains a world leader in motorsport, whilst Silverstone maintains its position as a major regional and national employer. Silverstone and the BRDC has unrivalled experience in organising and promoting the British Grand Prix, and we have continued to improve the quality of the event that we deliver. Running a Grand Prix is an extremely difficult and complex operation. Donington Park has an immense challenge ahead but we wish them luck.

We   will   continue   to   work   with   our   partners   in   the   District   Councils   of   Aylesbury   Vale   and   South Northamptonshire, together with regional development agencies EMDA, SEEDA and NEL.

British motor racing has long been on the map, with Silverstone at its heart. We already have an active plan to fund and build the facilities FOM asked us to deliver. We are therefore surprised by today’s announcement, given that both FOM and the FIA are well aware of how advanced those plans are.  

 In the meantime, we have every confidence that our amazing staff will continue to deliver a great event both this year and next. We shall continue to keep dialogue open with FOM and shall continue with our plans to develop Silverstone into one of the top sporting facilities in the world. There is no doubt in our minds that if the position changes then Silverstone will still be ready to host the British Grand Prix beyond 2009.

BRDC President Damon Hill added, “The BRDC is passionate about motorsport and proud of our contribution to  the  sport  we  love  and  of  our  very  own  circuit,  Silverstone.  Naturally, 

The  British  Grand  Prix  is  a  special event for all British Grand Prix Drivers and motorsport fans. Above all, the British Grand Prix’s future is very important to all of us. Anything which indicates a secure future for the British Grand Prix must be welcomed.

“Nevertheless, the timing of this announcement is disappointing and a blow to the excellent and hard working staff  of  Silverstone,  and  to  the  local  and  national  government  authorities  who  have  supported  us  in  our development plans to deliver the demanded improvements from FOM.

It is my opinion that it is not through any  lack  of  effort  on  behalf  of  the  BRDC  and  Silverstone  that  we  have  been  denied  the  opportunity  to  see those plans though to the concluding of a contract for the Formula One Grand Prix beyond 2009. “I am looking forward to a great GP this weekend and await developments regarding the future.”