Silverstone’s future as the home of the British Grand Prix is safe despite a breakdown in negotiations to sell the circuit.
Track owner the British Racing Drivers’ Club revealed last September that it was negotiating to sell Silverstone Circuits Ltd and a long-term lease on the venue at the same time as it announced a deal to lease 760 acres of industrial land around the circuit to commercial property company MPEC.
Then BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt said that second deal was designed to facilitate the kind of investment needed to maintain the track as a premier F1 venue through the remainder of its 17-year deal to host the grand prix. But new BRDC chairman John Grant said in a statement today that the future of the track and its place on the F1 calendar were safe “with or without another investor.”
“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,” he said.
The BRDC had been confident that a sale was imminent last autumn, Rolt saying that the club was “very optimistic that we will be stepping back from the day-to-day running of the circuit.” The undisclosed buyer was said to be going through the final stages of due diligence and the BRDC board had hoped to announce the second deal to its members at the club’s annual general meeting in early October.
Grant said in today’s statement: “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.”
The BRDC has now decided to shelve plans to sell the circuit.
“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,” explained Grant.
A potential sale would now have to go to a vote of the 800-strong membership of the BRDC. The BRDC board had been granted authority to sell the track without such agreement through a Members’ Charter, which enshrined the club’s home at Silverstone and guaranteed the continuation of top-level international motorsport at the venue. The charter, which was agreed in 2010, had a fixed life and has now expired.