FormulaNerds Cut To The Race Podcast

Silverstone director reveals circuit’s struggles under Ecclestone management

Prior to Liberty Media's takeover of Formula 1, Silverstone found it tricky to balance the costs of a race weekend with a positive fan experience.

Latest Episode | Cut To The Race Podcast

Stuart Pringle, Silverstone’s managing director, has praised Formula 1 for helping the circuit get back on its feet. 

Fans braved the rain to watch qualifying on 2nd July 2022 (Photo by Peter J Fox/Getty Images)

After a difficult few years for the track, the British Grand Prix is more popular than ever before, even in the face of more glamorous races.

How Silverstone has struggled

Formula 1 is known for its incredibly high financial costs, more so than most other sports. The fees that come with hosting a Grand Prix are gargantuan, as explained by Pringle. 

“It’s such a commitment, the British Grand Prix,” he said at Autosport International. “The fee is eyewatering, the cost of delivery keeps you awake at night and the fixed cost base is extraordinarily high as a result.

“It’s a given to sell out Sunday. We got to selling out Saturday a few years ago and now Friday is all but gone as well and that’s where your profit is.”

His comments follow Silverstone’s proposal to expand to a four-day weekend. This would enable more track action on Thursday, improving the fan experience.

In 2022, a record 400,000 fans attended the British Grand Prix. Whilst the hosts seem to be thriving now, this was not the case a few years ago. 

Before Liberty Media took over F1 in 2017, Silverstone suffered from a worrying lack of profit. 

Pringle largely blames this on the regime of Bernie Ecclestone, who allegedly did not prioritise the sport’s promoters. 

He said: “If you don’t make a profit – Mr Ecclestone – you cannot reinvest in infrastructure.

“It’s creaking and groaning Silverstone because the BRDC was unable to make a profit out of the Grand Prix for 40 years.

“I’m pleased to say that the owners of F1 take a sensible view that it is not in their interests to crush the promoter and they recognise that the BRDC invests all of its money back into the facilities.”

Improving the track for fans

With new tracks in the Middle East and America putting on captivating events over race weekends, Silverstone is facing difficulty trying to compete. 

Much of the circuit’s allure is in its rich history, but the directors are nevertheless focused on improving the track.

Recently, a Hilton hotel opened next to the starting grid. In addition, there is a number of exclusive experiences fans can pay for. 

Pringle praised F1 for its help in upgrading the facilities:

“I’m really enjoying working with F1 at the moment. They’re enlightened, they’re challenging us, they’re doing amazing things.”

He continued: “If we put in better facilities, we get a better experience for the fans. If we get a better experience for the fans, it’s better for the championship all round and everyone is a winner.

“We all look to America about how to make the sport more entertaining and how to fill the margins of the day and the week.

“There’s a lot to learn from what they do over there and it’s working, because people are coming and enjoying themselves.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Back to the top