Funding British sport…

The future of the British GP is under discussion at the moment. When I’m not writing, travelling, charity fund-raising and having a real life, I write a weekly newsletter called JSBM. This stands for Joe Saward’s Business of Motorsport, and it covers not only Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, the FIA World Endurance, Rally and Touring Car Championships, DTM, V8 Supercars, WRX, rally-raids and whatever automotive innovation and the industry impact on the sport. It is designed for busy motorsport executives, who don’t have time to trawl the Internet to find out what they need to know what is going on with the business, finance and politics of global motorsport. It is read by chairmen, CEOs and serious race fans, with in-depth analysis of what is happening, new ideas to consider and innovative thinking in the industry. For more information you can click here.

In this week’s edition, I wrote an article about the UK funding of sport and the plight of the British Grand Prix. I thought I would share it with you, as it makes interesting reading.

Incorrect reporting in recent days led to Silverstone last week having to deny that it had cancelled the British Grand Prix contract and the British Racing Drivers’ Club remains keen to find a solution to fund the race, either by convincing the Formula One group, under its new ownership, to lower the fees, or to hope that the change of ownership will lead to the government being willing to invest in the race, as it has with other events, such as the Tour de France, the Rugby World Cup and, of course, the Olympic Games.

Funding for different sports for the Olympic Games has been quite astonishing with UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Performance Programme pouring huge sums of money into a range of sports in the hope that British competitors will win medals. British athletics has received around $40 million for each of the last three Olympic Games, which is $10 million a year. There have been significant amounts going into other sports as well.

The latest official figures show that the Rio Games in 2016 saw UK Sport funding amounting to $405 million, with the biggest recipients being rowing ($47 million), cycling ($44 million), sailing ($37 million), swimming and canoeing (each $29 million), equestrianism ($26 million) and boxing ($19 million). A further $106 million has been spent on the Paralympics while the last Winter Olympics in Sochi soaked up $19 million).

Government aid for motor sports have been very limited although the government has agreed to provide the Wales Rally GB with a rumoured $6 million over the next three years.

The only conclusion one can reach is that the government does not wish to be associated with Formula 1, despite the fact that the motorsport industry is reckoned to be generating as much as $12 billion a year for the country – not to mention tens of thousands of jobs.

Assisting the British GP to remain on the F1 calendar would cost little compared to some of these other spending.