Silverstone To Host British MotoGP Round For Three More Years

In a somewhat surprising development, Silverstone has signed up to host the British round of MotoGP for three more years. The Northamptonshire circuit is to hold the race through 2020. 

Since the British round was held earlier this year, it looked like the race would go to Donington. The Leicestershire track had shown renewed interest in the race, after the circuit had been bought by MSV, who also run the BSB series and own several other British tracks. Hosting the series at Donington would have required upgrades in a number of areas, however, and making those in time for August next year would have been difficult.

A delegation from the Silverstone circuit had flown to Valencia to finalize the details with Dorna. Dorna had asked for the track to be completely resurfaced, after the riders had complained about the bumps after this year's race. Silverstone compromised by promising to resurface part of the track, according to British publication MCN, and were given a three-year contract extension.

Despite the new deal with Silverstone, where the British Grand Prix is to be held in the long term is still open. MSV has expressed an interest in upgrading the facilities at Donington Park, and the three-year duration of Silverstone's contract would be a large enough window for MSV to complete the necessary work. The bidding war which had been expected this year could well reopen in a couple of years' time.

Below is the official press release from Dorna announcing the Silverstone deal:

Silverstone Circuit confirmed to host British Grand Prix for the next 3 years

Dorna Sports is pleased to announce that Silverstone Circuit will continue to host the British round of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship for the next three years. The 2018 event will take place over the weekend of the 24 - 26 August, with the contract securing the future of MotoGP™ racing in the UK following the termination of the Circuit of Wales agreement.

Stuart Pringle, Managing Director of Silverstone, commented: “A lot of time and money has been invested in recent years to ensure MotoGP fans, teams and riders enjoy what Silverstone has to offer and we are delighted to have secured the contract to 2020. Two wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four wheel racing and we are looking forward to welcoming the Championship and its fans back to Silverstone next August. We have been working on a family friendly pricing policy, including the re-introduction of under 11 year olds go free, which we hope will be well received by fans and which will launch via at 10:00 am on Monday 13 November.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports CEO, added: “Silverstone is an iconic British circuit, so naturally we are pleased to be able to continue racing at this track. The United Kingdom is an important market for Dorna and has to remain on the MotoGP calendar, especially with the introduction of the British Talent Cup next year, which we hope will inspire the next generation of young British talent. We look forward to giving fans more action over the British Grand Prix weekend and I’m sure fans will be as happy as we are that Silverstone remains on the calendar for the next three years.”


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I like Silverstone. I don't like the idea of partial resurfacing. That track is in really shitty shape. Echoes of Indianapolis where the transition between new and old were bloody horrible. Hope they prove me wrong and doubt they will.

Silverstone is owned by car people. My local council does a half arsed job of road mending. Surely if any cicuit is going to do it. When they finally realize the track needs to be fixed. then they think "Lets save a few pounds & only do half." Dumb. false ecomomy. All the costs of getting all the machinery & skilled operators to the site but less than optimal productivity. and a change or two in the surface, Why. Partial I am not really partial to. No. All or nothing, thats what I like. It is made to twist, so twist it until it will not twist any more & aim for the gap.

Although Silverstone has signed a contract for 3 years, this is a relatively short term deal. Silverstone has a lot of financial problems, mainly brought about by it's previous management signing a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to host the F1 GP at an ever increasing cost each year. The agreement to only resurface parts of the track is indicative of the unfortunate position they find themselves in at present.

This contract has proved so financially painful they are losing increased amounts of money on the F1 event each year, to the extent that they have invoked a break in the contract which means that they wll no longer host the F1 race after 2019. This is widely seen as a negotiating ploy with the new owners of F1, Liberty Media, in order to try to agree a cheaper deal going forward. However, at the moment Liberty have said that they will not renegotiate existing circuit deals. After all, why would they? If Silverstone got a new deal, what would stop all the other circuits asking for the same treatment?

There is no other UK circuit able to host the F1 race and it would probably not sit well with F1 fans if there was no British GP after 2019, so Silverstone are in a reasonably strong position, but it is not inconceivable that the race could be dropped as there are a number of countries who can afford to pay the asking price, who would wish to hold an F1 race. 

Although it appears that Silverstone have asked for govenment help in the past, there seems to be a political relucatance to subsidise what many see as an elitist sport that should be able to pay it's own way.

The Moto GP deal does give breathing space to both Dorna and Silverstone, but if Johnathan Palmer wishes to bring the GP to Donington he won't want to do it at a loss. I have no idea what the upgrades would cost, but if the circuit can hold superbike races, it might be more to do with paddock space etc., rather than safety features.

It will be interesting to see who blinks first.