The British Grand Prix faces extinction from the Formula One calendar after Silverstone’s owners triggered a break clause in its contract on Tuesday.
The British Racing Drviers’ Club, which owns the Northamptonshire circuit, gave notice of its intent to leave its current deal in two years’ time.
Its decision means 2019 will be the last year for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone unless a new deal is brokered with F1’s American owners Liberty Media.
Nearly 140,000 spectators watched triple world champion Lewis Hamilton claim his third consecutive win at Silverstone last year.
And a near sell-out crowd is expected again this weekend as Hamilton bids to reduce rival Sebastian Vettel’s 20-point lead at the summit of the championship.
But the demands of the hosting fee which goes up by five per cent every year – from £12million in 2010, the year in which the new long-term deal started, to £16m this season and £25m in 2026 – is crippling Silverstone.
Liberty Media has staged a series of talks with both the BRDC and Silverstone.