By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One has assured British fans it wants to keep the country’s grand prix on the calendar despite Silverstone announcing the end of the current contract in 2019.
“We are very proud of our British heritage,” Formula One chairman Chase Carey told the crowd at an F1 Live event with teams and drivers in London’s central Trafalgar Square on Wednesday.
“We’re based in Britain, two thirds of our teams are in Britain. “It is certainly our plan as long as we are running Formula One to have a race in the UK.”
Silverstone’s owners, the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), triggered a break clause in their contract on Tuesday that threw the future of the country’s Formula One race into doubt.
This year’s race, the halfway point in the season, takes place on Sunday.
Silverstone had a crowd of 139,000 on race day last year, the biggest of any current grand prix, but BRDC chairman John Grant said that even with that attendance it still could not make a profit due to high hosting fees.
“We sustained losses of 2.8 million pounds ($3.61 million)in 2015 and 4.8 million in 2016, and we expect to lose a similar amount this year,” he said on Tuesday.
Silverstone hosted the first world championship grand prix in 1950 and Britain, a home race for seven of the 10 teams as well as triple world champion Lewis Hamilton, has been on the calendar every year since.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris)